It’s official – Facebook organic reach is dead. This comes as no surprise at all, as we have seen Facebook reach consistently dropping across all business pages for months now. What is more unexpected however, is that Facebook has finally come out and admitted it, ending months of speculation. This article looks in more detail at what this actually means for your own Facebook business page, illustrating the impact it will have on your activities.
Be warned, the Facebook article is full of spin and tries to paint the decline in organic reach as somehow being a good thing. Read their announcement on the Facebook blog here, or check out this article from Marketing Week here.
Why Is Facebook Reach So Low?
Known as ‘content shock’, there are now so many businesses using Facebook (and other social networks) to publish their content, that at any given time, a user could potentially see hundreds if not thousands of posts appear in their NewsFeed.
Facebook claims that to benefit users, it restricts what it shows them based on a complex set of algorithmic calculations, commonly referred to as Edge Rank. This is the mighty Facebook NewsFeed Algorithm.
According to social media analysis firm BirdSong, Tesco has seen their Facebook engagement rate decline to just 0.98% – that’s with a huge fan-base of 1.42 million people. See the Wall Street Journal article here.
- Ever missed an important announcement or post from a page you follow and wondered why you didn’t see it in your timeline?
- Ever wondered why a post you made about some really big news or a special offer got zero likes, comments or shares?
- How about those old posts you’ve already seen that keep on being bumped back up to the top of your newsfeed?
That’s the Facebook NewsFeed Algorithm doing it’s stuff in the background, deciding what it will or won’t show to a user.
Personal settings and preferences do play a part of course. For example, you are also more likely to see posts you have no interest in, if a lot of your friends have commented on or liked it. You are more likely to be shown universally popular content that you have no interest in (think of the likes of UniLad, Buzzfeed etc) simply because it is popular (which rarely equates to that content being relevant, interesting or useful). The other big reason you’ll see content of course, is if the business has paid for it to be there.
Paid-for Facebook posts and adverts, will show up more frequently in users NewsFeeds, whilst organic posts are frequently kept out.
Understanding The Impact Of The Drop In Organic Facebook Reach
Let’s get on thing straight. Building a community from scratch and engaging with followers in a small or new community is now very tough.
Whenever you make a post, a very small number of your followers will be shown that post in their News Feed. When people don’t see content in their NewsFeed, then the only other way they can see it, is if they specifically visit your Facebook page.
With no prompt, reminder or reason to visit your business page, the chance of a follower pro-actively checking your Facebook page is minimal.
Regardless of whether a person has liked your page or not, that audience is owned by Facebook, not you.
The fact is, Facebook is a pay-to-play publishing platform. If you want Facebook to promote your content to it’s users, you have to pay it. The important thing to remember here is they really are Facebook’s users, and not yours, regardless of whether a person has liked your page or not, that audience is owned by Facebook, not you.
Time To Abandon The Sinking Good Ship Facebook?
Facebook organic reach is shot and that is a fact, regardless of claims to the contrary. So it’s time to abandon Facebook then? It’s not quite as simple as that.
We’ve seen that even when posts get zero on-page engagement, that they can still drive website referral traffic. We’ve also seen examples of small businesses who have built up a decent following of engaged, active followers. This proves that in some cases, Facebook can work – but this is largely down to your business and your customer base.
Selling cute customisable clothes for darling doggies? With continued effort, you’re likely to find an audience on Facebook. Selling business insurance? You chances of building a viable audience for free are limited to say the least.
Now Is The Time To Re-Focus Your Social Media Strategy
If the demise of organic reach on Facebook is news to you and something you’d not taken into consideration until now, then you really need to stop and ask yourself what value Facebook is providing you with.
If you were planning to get a Facebook business page set up, or have been wondering what the most effective social media networks to invest into would be, then my advice now remains exactly the same as it has been since late 2013.
Do not focus your activities solely on Facebook. Why limit the reach of your posts to less than 2% of your followers? If you are going to focus your energy anywhere, then ensure the platform you choose provides you with the best chance of reaching your target audience, and accept that a small advertising budget to supplement your organic activity is going to be necessary.
If you already have a strong following and are getting good engagement, great – keep it up!
We Offer Social Media Management, Training & Strategic Planning
This is our area of expertise. If you are concerned about dwindling Facebook reach, the reliance you have upon it or need to understand if Facebook paid advertising is right for you, get in touch.
We can help you re-focus your strategy and get the best out of your investment into social media, contact us here.
We also provide Facebook training that will help you to maximise organic reach and will teach you all you need to know about advertising on Facebook, find out more about our social media training.