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How to Defeat the Decline in Facebook Organic Reach

There was a change in the social media world in 2014 that shook marketers to their cores. A change that no one saw coming, and couldn’t have possibly prepared for. Without a doubt, you saw your business’ Facebook reach and engagement drastically decline. Marketers and small business owners were left baffled, and unsure of what benefits of using Facebook were.

Naturally, marketers complained enough to prompt a response from Facebook VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland. He addressed these concerns and provided insight to the motivations behind these sudden changes. Boland cited two defined reasons for the change; There was simply too much content that led to crowded newsfeeds, and Facebook was working diligently to only deliver content that was relevant to each user. In a nutshell, Facebook wanted to make sure users were inundated with content that didn’t matter to them. That would be a surefire way to push users away from the platform.

Nobody likes the idea of wasting precious time, effort, and money. So what can you do to make sure your business gets seen? Here’s just a few things to keep in mind to make sure your organic reach doesn’t tank. After all, Facebook can be an extremely effective marketing tool for your business, if used properly!

How Does Facebook Rank Newsfeed Content?

So how does Facebook decide what gets shown and what doesn’t? The answer is simple. Well, sort of.

Facebook connects users with the stories they want to be connected to.

Your company’s content is competing against friends and family for a spot in your audience’s newsfeed. So it only makes sense that Facebook would prioritize that content over yours, right? Not exactly. Facebook considers four major things when prioritizing newsfeed content:

  • Who posted the content?
    Has the user engaged with that brand or person? If so, how often? You can bet that if you’ve got fans who consistently visit your page to check out your content, your content will organically end up in their newsfeeds.
  • How many people engaged with it?
    The more people who engage with your content, the higher visibility it will get. This signals to Facebook that your content is something people like.
  • What kind of post is it?
    It’s no secret that Facebook favors video over any other type of content. Facebook Live videos get prioritized over most content, with uploaded video coming in at a close second.
  • When was it posted?
    It’s important to know that reach actually drops with each additional post, especially if you post more than three times a day. Less is definitely more on Facebook!

What Can You Do?

Know your audience.

If you’re an upscale jeweler who sells top-tier, rare pieces – you’ve got a specific customer in mind. This is where user personas come in handy. Create a fictitious profile of 2-3 different customers that outlines their personal lives, daily habits, goals and dreams, challenges, and hobbies. This can help you gain a deeper understanding for what they care about, and help you tailor your Facebook content  to meet exactly what they need.

The more relevant your content is to your target audience, the higher chances Facebook will deliver your content into their newsfeeds organically.

Avoid clickbait content.

Have you ever clicked on an interesting headline and got something entirely different? You were clickbaited, my friend. Facebook now tracks the time someone spends on the page they clicked through to. If they click on something, then immediately exit, Facebook will flag your content as clickbait and push the reach of your posts down. So make sure your content is consistent with where you’re directing your users!

Find ways to use video.

We’re in an age where mobile is now normalized. Your videos on Facebook don’t have to be professional quality, produced footage. This is your chance to get personal and show a bit more of your “real” side of your brand. If you’ve got an event coming up, find a cool backdrop and make a quick video announcement. Then, go Live when you’re at the event! With the introduction of on-demand video, there’s a whole world of opportunity out there for brands today!

Be visual.

It’s critical to keep your feed rich with images and other visuals. People are naturally attracted to images and videos more than text – so find ways to connect your brand with your users visually.

Take advantage of Facebook’s Audience Optimization feature

Now that you know that Facebook wants to deliver content most relevant to the end-user, you can make extra sure that the right message is reaching the right audience. From your Facebook Page, click Settings. You’ll see “Audience Optimization for Posts.” Enable this feature by clicking Edit, then clicking the checkbox. Click Save.

Facebook Audience Optimization

Now that you’ve enabled this feature, you’re able to tag each post based on interests and demographics, or even restrict visibility to certain geographic locations, language, age, or gender. Say you have a contest you’d like to run – but it’s only available for people residing in the U.S. This will be extremely helpful in ensuring you don’t have unwanted entries – or angry participants.

Although Facebook frequently changes its algorithms- don’t give up. Gain a deeper understanding for your audience, create content they love, and get creative and you’ll conquer the Facebook algorithm!

Tim Lewis is the owner of Iron Springs Design and Website Design Phoenix. He's hired a great technical and design team to develop any online website or software project that you can imagine. Tim holds a BS in Computer Information Systems and his technology career spans 3 decades, including 11 years at Microsoft. He loves working on your websites and software projects!