How to Grow Your Organic Reach on Facebook

By on November 30, 2017

A quick Google search reveals the amount of literature that has been written about the decline, death or even apocalypse that is organic page reach on Facebook. And it’s an issue which has been brought into clearer focus recently, after a viral Medium post by a Slovakian journalist revealed that Facebook are currently testing an alternative news feed in selected countries. In essence, they are testing a feature in which all posts by Facebook pages will be moved to the Explore feed, located away from the main homepage in the left-hand menu.

Understandably, this caused a lot of worry amongst page owners on Facebook. The Medium article revealed that the reach of Facebook pages fell by two-thirds almost overnight, whilst the sixty biggest Slovak media pages received 4 times fewer interactions (likes, comments, shares) since the test. It led to a post from Facebook to clarify the matter – which only said they ‘currently’ have no plans to roll out the feature. So if this feature does end up becoming a fixture, how do you deal with it? Here are some tips which will come in handy whether they roll the Explore news feed out or not.

Mix Up Post Formats

I conducted a little study a year or so ago with some interesting findings. Over a two-week period I noticed that over half of my page posts were photos, with links and videos making up the rest. To mix things up a little, over the next two weeks I included a roughly equal share of photos, videos, links, notes and text updates to see whether there would be any noticeable impact on reach. There was!

The average reach of each post in the second period jumped by 47%, with no post reaching less than 6% of my page fans, up from a low of 2% in the previous period. So whilst this wasn’t a major study, it’s interesting that at least in this sample my organic page reach benefited by simply varying my posts and not posting link after link, for example. Give it a go yourself and see how you get on.

Concentrate On Quality Over Quantity

With all these apocalyptic warnings that Pages will soon just be shouting at each other in some dark corner of Facebook, it can be tempting as a page owner to simply up the quantity of posts to make up for the loss of organic reach. However, as this interesting study from Buffer showed, a focus on producing quality, engaging posts suited to Facebook rather than posting everything on there can have huge rewards.

As the two images show, a reduction in the number of Facebook page posts actually led to a huge jump in post reach, after the writer decided to start thinking more carefully about which posts were best-suited to Facebook (hint: less business-y, more fun!), and distributing them accordingly. Personally, I would never recommend more than one well-researched, carefully-crafted post a day to Facebook for maximum impact. And I wouldn’t even bother recycling old content on there – posting the same link twice is a huge no-no for their algorithm.

Experiment with Groups

Although the aforementioned Medium post drew a lot of concern about page posts, there were a lot of comments asking the same thing: what about Groups? After all, they could be controlled by Pages or individuals, and posts from them are a pretty regular occurrence in my news feed. In fact, lots of Pages in different sectors have managed to create thriving community groups linked to their Facebook page – just like this vaping shop here, who have almost 3,000 members of their group (and hourly posts) yet just 826 likes on their official page.

The takeaway? Start thinking about how you might create a linked Facebook group to your page to try and promote a thriving community just like the example above. Not only could this get people regularly visiting a group bearing your company name and link, but it would also leave you better prepared than competitors for this possible change to Facebook’s news feed. And although we don’t know for sure how Groups would be affected in this possible change, it certainly can’t hurt to start experimenting with this often underused feature.

Find Out the Best Time of Day to Post

Although the non-chronological nature of Facebook’s news feed nowadays means that the timing of your post is far less important than before, it’s clear that it still plays a role. If you visit your Facebook page now I would imagine you’ll see at least few posts towards the top that have been posted in the last 30 minutes or so – and they’re probably not from people or pages you interact with much.

If you want to try and quickly ascertain the best time to post, without doing an exhaustive study or sourcing some costly analytics software, it’s worth dipping into your page’s Facebook insights yourself or asking a pro to do it. Pull a spreadsheet of your posts from the last quarter, and sort them by organic reach (highest first). From there, start to make a note of which times of day resulted in higher reach, trying to spot a pattern. Even if you only start to get a rough idea of the best time to post, it’s better than being totally in the dark about it.

Word of warning: there are hundreds upon hundreds of articles out there pertaining to have found the best time to post on Facebook. However, every page is different, with different fans of different demographics who are online and engaging at different times. There couldn’t possibly be a global best time to post, because of the differences between each and every page. Take the time to do your own research and find out when your own fans engage most with your page rather than relying on one of these dubious studies.

Facebook organic reach has certainly declined, but it ain’t dead yet. There are still rewards for companies who churn out well-crafted, engaging posts that people want to share with their friends – but staying on top of Facebook’s regular algorithm changes is useful too. Here’s a handy article to bookmark for that. Good luck!

About Nick Harland

Nick Harland is a freelance community manager in Barcelona who helps companies all over the world achieve their social media goals. Why not connect with him on LinkedIn?
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