Going, going, gone. That just about describes Facebook organic reach for businesses. It’s a social media fact of life that Bess Auer addressed at Florida BlogCon in her presentation about declining reach: Facebook Page reach significantly dropped this year and businesses large and small are running from the Facebook blues looking for greener pastures. But rather than dancing to the latest algorithm beat or considering paying to play psychographic audience targeting, should marketers abandon the Mark Zuckerberg ship without first exhausting their options?
The Blue Kool-Aid
“Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed,” noted Brian Boland, the lead of Facebook’s Ads Product Marketing team.
The reasons why Facebook organic reach is shrinking are pretty valid. 1) There is more content being created on Facebook than there is time to absorb and 2) Facebook’s news feed is designed to show each user the content that is most relevant to them.
The Fine Print
Just to get our terms and definitions on the same Facebook page, here is a short glossary of what we are talking about:
- Reach is the number of unique people who received impressions of a Page post.
- Impressions are the number of times a post from your Page is displayed, whether the post is clicked or not.
Famously Bold Moves Away From FB
Jason SurfrApp (formally known as Jason Sadler and founder of the iconic iwearyourshirt.com) wrote a Facebook post telling people to use the platform to grow their email lists and then permanently break up with Facebook, with the ultimate goal to focus solely on email marketing.
While it might save you a lot of hair-pulling, nail-biting and maybe even some sleepless nights to say sayonara to Facebook, I’ve got a few Social PR secrets up my sleeve to help you try to gain back some of that valuable reach without paying for it.
Experiment with some of these tips to increase organic Facebook results to see what works best for you brand’s page.
Organic Do’s To Avoid Facebook Blues
Presenting Your Content
Character counts in a world where less is more. Think ‘Tweet’ and try to limit your Facebook posts to 140 characters or less. Go as low as 90 characters if you’re getting a lot of mobile traffic so the user won’t have to expand the post.
If you do need to throw some more content into your post, make sure the first 90-140 characters are keyword rich and A/B test by throwing some concise headlines in with your lengthier posts and see what gets more engagement.
Social PR Secret: Think Tweet when it comes to content length, afterall, it works for Twitter.
Sharing Links As Posts
When the Facebook Newsroom released this article on click-baiting, they also included some advice on sharing links in posts, which we immediately began testing at The Buyer Group. Turns out Facebook knows what it’s talking about.
By sharing link posts rather than an image post with a link in the headline, we increased our click-through rate by 100% in one month! We worried that it might have been a case of accidental clicks while someone was trying to zoom in on the photo but Google Analytics confirmed that the Facebook referrals were sending over quality visitors when we looked at time on site.
Again, see what works for your page and fans.
Sharing Links As Captions
If you don’t want all of your posts to be link posts, you can also try:
- Sharing an image-only, text-only, or image and text post with the link in the comments
- Put the link in the first line of the post and additional info later on, instead of hiding the link at the bottom
The Art of URLs
When including the URLs in the Facebook post copy, we’ve found that longer URLs tend to get better clicks than short ones as the fans are more trustworthy of where the url is taking them. If you prefer short URLs, make sure to customize your links using bit.ly or other link-shortening sites. For example:
Visualize Your Business on Facebook
Get visual! Seriously, there’s a reason we keep saying it… dynamic visuals work on Facebook. Social PR Secrets for using visuals on Facebook:
- Keep it big! At least 600 pixels wide for a standard image post
- Use templates.Pick the ‘Facebook Ad’ templates on sites like Canva and Piktochart to make sure your images will look great when you upload them to link posts
- Make it Pinnable. Sure, we still can’t pin images directly from Facebook but frame your creative around this idea and you’ll see the shares increase!
- Kiss generic goodbye. Stock images still have a place in social media, but the generic ones spell L-O-S-E-R.
- Filter it. If you are going to use a filter, be sure you pick a filter and stick with it so that you have a consistent look and feel with your brand’s images.
Did Facebook use and abuse us? Or did we get to the point of feeling a sense of entitlement that we deserve a free ride forever? Did we became so accustomed to Facebook automatically putting us in front of our audience that we may have lost some of our drive to create the content that brought fans to our pages in the first place, and maybe even our authenticity and what makes our brands truly unique?
Use these Social PR Secrets to increase organic Facebook reach in conjunction with creating the content your fans and followers want to engage in. Learn how to find content worth sharing for your audience with the Social PR Community Manager’s 6-Step Guide.
If you’re already ahead of the game and want to reach more, don’t rule out paying to play! Investing to reach more is a strategy that works to amplify, promote, scale, target and get deeper in the newsfeed ultimately to the right people for your community. Meet up with me at #SMX Social Las Vegas (Nov. 18-20) to get certified on the social media bootcamp track and learn how social paid works with Social PR!