Over the last months, clients repeatedly brought up the same issue: the decline of organic reach on Facebook. While this performance indicator can be as low as 3%, it can also be as high as 500%. As a big supporter of #SharingisCaring, we wanted to share with you – our readers – our take on this social media myth.
What is organic reach?
Let’s start with the basics: don’t confuse reach with likes, shares or comments. Reach tells you how many people actually see your post no matter if there is any interaction. Impressions are something else too: the number of times your post is being seen – which can be several times per person. This means one post can be shown to 10 people but with 100 impressions, because they see it again and again. While organic reach means that your content has a natural exposure, paid reach indicates that you actually paid (duh!) for people to see the post. Enough with the math already, as an admin to a Facebook fanpage you can see the individual reach on the bottom left of each of your posts.
Statistics, statistics, statistics…
If you try to find reliable resources for organic reach on Facebook, good luck! There are hundreds of studies and countless figures to browse before you end up doubting all of them. Yes, there are types of media that work better (images, videos, links – anything going beyond plain text), and if you use them wisely, your reach is probably higher than with a post consisting of a long story without other references. Of course, Facebook has a commercial interest in your fanpage, which is why they will never reveal the metrics behind the question when your posts will be seen and when they will not. So please – do yourself a favor and ignore figures in studies that come from other fanpages than yours, and have a look into your own figures. They will tell you way more than generic statistics.
How about common sense?
Do you have a fanpage? Then make use of the features it provides. As mentioned, you can see the reach of each post right below it. If you have 100 fans and a reach of only 3 (=3%), you’re in trouble. Why is this? Because your content is irrelevant to 97% of your fans! So have a look at the insights, check when your fans are actually online, think about what posts worked best in the past and thus what kind of content your fans want to see most. Don’t forget to adjust copy and media to reasonable proportions (nobody reads a 5’000 words post). In the end, it all comes down to one simple truth, and common sense:
If your content is commercial, Facebook will punish you and not show your post to your fans.
If your content is engaging and has an added value for your fans, they will see it.
If you still have doubts, please read this Q&A by Brian Boland on behalf of Facebook. He should know as he leads the Ads Product Marketing team.
Some people who oversee a company’s Facebook fanpage claim “organic reach is dead”, and we strongly oppose to this statement. In fact, what they really say is that the content that they provide does not work for their audience. It’s as simple as that – and this is exactly what we recommend to all our clients: content is king, and if you have a fanpage you should do everything to provide useful, engaging stories around your brand. It is not commercial but editorial content that adds value. So what can you take from this? Next time you want to “sell” something on your fanpage, don’t try to sell it. Tell your story and why your brand or product matters to your audience, and they will listen.
Let us add one last point to this: Even if your post provides meaningful, non-commercial content but only reaches 3% of your fans, it still adds up to 3 people (assuming you have 100 fans) who will see it. Again, the 3% example is only one end of the organic reach scala, resulting from content that is NOT relevant BUT commercial. And if you can convince only one of them to buy your product or learn more about your brand (don’t underestimate brand loyalty), you end up growing your business – through supposedly “dead” organic reach.
Would you like to learn more? Do you need help in social media marketing? We are just one email or call away and look forward to getting in touch with you.