Back in 2014, Facebook organic reach was booming.
Small businesses could make a living from organic Facebook posts and didn’t have to spend money on ads. All was right with the world.
Oh, how naive we were!
We should have seen this coming though.
Facebook arguably has more data on people than anyone else in the world with over 2.7 billion monthly active users.
That’s how the social media giant managed to develop one of the best algorithms for targeted advertisements. Of course, they want us to use it.
Now, that’s not to say organic reach is impossible. We just must approach how we use the platform differently.
If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in your Facebook organic reach, here are a few reasons why and what you can do to fix it.
Facebook makes changes to its algorithm all the time.
In 2018, the Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, announced that Facebook was returning to its roots of bringing people together.
He said the algorithm would favour posts that spark meaningful conversations and reactions. FYI: asking people to comment, share, or react to the post doesn’t count as “meaningful” engagement and pages can actually be punished for doing this.
Mosseri also said Facebook would prioritise posts from your immediate friends and family over pages.
Of course, small businesses and organisations got the short end of the stick. Pages with massive followings and marketing budgets to match could keep up with the changes. The rest got left behind.
Today, most independent pages without a backup strategy only reach 1% to 5% of their followers organically.
People upload and post millions – if not billions – of pieces of content every day. If Facebook showed everything from people and pages we follow, our news feeds would be filled with crappy content.
Facebook has to set some kind of standard for determining what shows up in news feeds. Check the list below and make some changes to your page’s content before jumping into the other tactics to boost organic Facebook reach.
Every post should include a genuine effort to improve conversations. Facebook won’t tolerate super salesy and promotional content.
Did you know Facebook monitors all negative reactions to your posts? We can find negative feedback by going to the Insights page and clicking on Post Engagement:
In the top-right corner, we see a little drop-down menu for Reactions, Comments & Shares.
We’ll switch that to Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, Unlikes of Pages – those are all negative actions.
Our engagement stats will then switch to ONLY show us those negative actions.
We can click on each post and Facebook will tell us exactly what went wrong.
Look for any patterns: topics, types of media, controversial stances? In this page’s case, their followers keep hiding every post about a specific country.
Facebook wants original content. Sharing content from other accounts, pages, or republished blogs could decrease your reach.
We’ve all seen them: “Tag a friend and share this post for a chance to win! ?????”
A few contests are fine, but posting ones that look like spam (especially frequently) or outright fake contests will certainly decrease page reach.
Two posts a day is ideal for Facebook. Skip a week or publish more than five posts per day and Facebook might limit your reach.
When you create ads, make sure they don’t show up on your general timeline. There’s a box you can check for as you create the post.
We’ve all been Zucked at some point. Violating the Community Guidelines will cause Facebook to limit your post reach and even features you can use.
We can check our page’s “quality status” from the Facebook page sidebar:
Facebook and Instagram both take fake engagement seriously. Buying followers or bot traffic will definitely ding your organic traffic.
Sorry, but there’s a chance your content just isn’t as engaging as you think it is. Research your audience and create content for them.
Facebook might limit your reach if you post content on elections, COVID-19, Brexit, or other hot-button topics – even if your intentions are pure.
If your content is similar to a competitor’s and their posts start earning more engagement, Facebook might reduce your organic reach.
Facebook just can’t show every post on every topic to the same people. Look for ways to differentiate your content from competitors.
If you want to boost your organic Facebook reach in 2020 and beyond, you have two choices:
That’s it. Luckily, Facebook does give us plenty of features and tools we can use to reach new people and spark conversations. We just must figure out how to use them properly.
Have you noticed more sponsored brand collaborations from Influencers on your news feed lately?
Social media is all about building personal connections. Only 17% of people say they use Facebook to connect with brands – but 88% use it to stay in touch with friends/family and another 33% use it for entertainment.
Influencers are effective because they run human Facebook accounts with real profile pictures instead of a brand logo. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to figure out which influencers your audience trusts and reach out to them with partnership ideas:
Facebook doesn’t like links because they encourage people to leave the Facebook app. Facebook wants people to stay on its app so it can show users more ads and show investors pleasing figures.
Plus, people tend to interact with multimedia like images, polls, and videos more favourably.
Don’t believe me? Go to your page insights and check to see which types of posts earn the best reach and engagement:
Infographics, original memes, and original videos are 100% the way to go. Plus, Facebook offers a whole Creator Studio specifically designed for video so you know they want us to post videos.
Groups are a must. We can’t just create a branded group and call it a day though. Naming your group after your brand and using it only for promotions won’t help one bit.
People want your expertise and expertise from other people like you. They want:
We should use groups to curate relevant content from other sources we trust and pepper in our own high-quality content when it’s 100% relevant.
Don’t forget to interact with your groups either in the comments. People can spot a promotional broadcaster from a kilometre away.
Sometimes when our reach suddenly drops, that means our audience trends have changed.
This shouldn’t be surprising with COVID happening. More people are working from home on their own schedules, staying home at night, or changing their daily habits.
We can figure out when our audience is most active from the Facebook Post Insights screen:
Warning: Times shown are on Facebook time (Pacific Time Zone) unless you update your time zone by verifying your page.
While it’s true many brands blow their marketing budgets on Facebook ads, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can connect with new audiences and boost your long-term organic page reach for almost nothing. Even spending five bucks a week can get you thousands of highly targeted views.
It’s all about two things:
Facebook has some of the best targeting of any social platform. Use it!
Again, people don’t use Facebook to interact with brands – they want to connect with other humans. Plus, the algorithms favour content from personal accounts.
Take advantage of that 5k friend limit and connect with people in your target audience (as well as colleagues, of course). Start a secret personal account for real-life friends and family but stretch your public persona to its limit with your personal page.
I promise, your personal page will always get more action. Just keep the content relevant and non-promotional or it will annoy people.
Businesses and marketers need to admit that we’re not using 2014 Facebook anymore. If you want to reach your audience on Facebook, you have two options: build meaningful connections by using all the platform’s features OR pay for targeted advertisements. Complaining isn’t an option, and it won’t make the algorithms that favoured organic reach come back.