You must have heard the news: organic reach on Facebook has been steadily decreasing over the years. But does that have to mean the party is over.
We don’t think so.
We’re not saying it's easy but don’t ditch your social strategy just yet. It's not the first time Facebook has taken a pot shot at branded content and it won’t be the last.
In 2016, the platform announced that it would be prioritising what friends and family share and reducing the amount of content that users see from brands and publishers. In 2018 it did it again.
What this tells us is that their efforts could not have been the success they’d hoped for the first time around. It also tells us that they’re likely to keep trying. So, our message is: keep doing what you’re doing, but you will need to up your game.
And, over the longer term, if Facebook is to remain a central tenet of your marketing strategy and you are not paying to play, then now’s the time to reconsider that position.
But first, let us help you, help your organic reach and engagement, while the sun’s still shining.
1. Use preferred audience targeting
Launched in 2015 this tool allows you to restrict audiences and target more specific, niche segments of your existing audiences with a single organic post. By segmenting your audiences in this way and targeting them in a more personalised fashion you’re improving your chances of engagement.
The Audience Restrictions work together with Preferred Audience letting you limit the visibility of your post to specific demographics: age, gender, location, and language.
All you need do to do this is go to the “General” settings category and enable the “News Feed Audience and Visibility for Posts” setting.
Now, each time you create a new post you can optimise your audience targeting. Or if your audience is generally consistent, you can simply, go to Page Manager, click on the settings tab and click on the “Preferred Page Audience” tab where you can edit your general preferred audience.
2. Quality over quantity
Less is more on Facebook these days. If you want to drive higher reach rates and better engagement then posting quality content less frequently is key. You can test this yourself but the reality is the more you post, the less reach you will receive.
Even with Facebook’s recent algorithm changes (and those from previous years which talk of changes to prioritise posts from friends and family in newsfeeds), posts that generate legitimate engagement will continue to appear in News Feeds. They may not appear as frequently, but that does not mean you should stop posting. Organic reach is not dead yet.
Studies show that a moderate amount of posting wins over posting too much or too little. That said, any content you post should be examined through the lens of whether its ‘share-worthy’ - is it original and will it engage your audience? Find topics that are meaningful and relevant, create original, quality content and you’ll be doing your organic reach a huge favour.
3. Invite engagements to like your page
If your Facebook following is still fairly small, then this technique is for you. Facebook’s “Invited to Like” button allows you to invite people to Like your Facebook Page who have liked your posts. If someone has engaged with your content then it’s far more likely they’ll be willing to like your page. The Invited to Like feature ensures that everyone seeing and liking your posts and particularly those who aren’t already following you (they might have engaged with one of your ads or boosted posts) get the chance of converting into followers.
It’s really easy to implement. Just go to Facebook page and click on the reaction icons to one of your posts
This will bring up a list of all of the people who liked, reacted, and engaged with the post.
From here, you can start to invite people to like your page by clicking ‘Invite’
4. Experiment with Different Types of Content (but know what really works)
It may seem obvious, but understanding what your audience is looking for is going to help your reach and engagement more than any supposed ‘hack’. The right type of content will get you a long way too. Facebook gives you the tools to understand which of your posts are working hardest for you, so taking the time to analyse this data and using it to inform what you post and when will reap great rewards.
And, if you haven’t heard it before (or believed it), videos on Facebook drive the most engagement, with organic reach taking a battering from Facebook’s algorithm changes now is the time to use them.
On Facebook, video-based content receives an average of 400% more engagement than text-only content. According to Facebook itself, people spend 3x more time watching live videos on Facebook compared to non-live content.
To create your own live content, all you need do is go to your company or business page, select ‘Live Video’ and your ready to go.
5. Timing is everything
There’s no shortage of opinions on the ideal time to post on Facebook but common sense will get you a long way. If you do a quick google search, you can easily pull up stats on when Facebook tends to be most active overall and armed with this knowledge you can decide when it might be best to target your specific audience. Facebook Insights is a good place to start.
Sharing at different times will affect Likes, Shares, and overall engagement statistics, so really understanding what’s working when will be another huge saviour for your organic reach.
Do your own analysis - collect the stats for a number of your posts: Day of the Week; Time; Post type (photo, video, link, text, etc.); Reach; Engagement to understand more about your reach, engagement, timing and content.
Facebook is still the most popular, most widely-used social media platform ever. While you won’t be able to rely on organic reach forever, there’s a lot you can do to keep your pages and posts working for you (and it will save you money on ad spend).
Implement these hacks and preserve the work you’ve already done to build your presence on Facebook but know that ultimately you will need to diversify your marketing strategy, use other platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. And understand that there is another option and that’s paying to play - Facebook is driving you towards it and it won’t stop until you submit.
At Somnowell Marketing, we help 100s of dentists manage their paid and organic Facebook presence. Our Digital Advertising and Social Media and SEO services offer a comprehensive and integrated approach to Digital Marketing, find out about our different service levels here, or give us a call today, and let us help you generate the new patient enquiries your practice needs.
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