Your Facebook Organic Reach May Decrease More
If you’re a manager of a Facebook Business Page and you’re regularly monitoring your analytics, or what Facebook calls, your Page Insights, you’ve likely been frustrated to see that your organic reach has been steadily decreasing for most of 2013. This is all due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm and some new nameless News Feed algorithm they just announced recently. You’re also likely asking yourself “do Facebook ads work and do I need to start investing in Sponsored Stories?”
Update: On January 22, 2014 VPDM reported the latest change to the Facebook News Feed Algorithm.
You’ve worked hard to build your Facebook community. You’ve taken the time to create great content, or hired a digital marketing agency to create exciting, useful, and engaging content for your followers, customers, and prospects. It’s only right that you’ll want your entire community to see this content.
At one point, a few years ago, it was possible to organically grow your Facebook network. If you were posting regular and relevant content, you were almost certain to get some noteworthy engagement, which inevitably grows your total reach.
Like SEO and the internet in general, things change. If you want your compelling content to be seen on Facebook, you’re going to have invest in targeted Facebook advertising and promote your page and/or your page posts.
Do Facebook Ads work? Yes, absolutely, if optimized and targeted effectively.
Depending on what type of results you’re looking to achieve, Facebook offers ad units to help advertisers increase Page Post engagement, Page Likes, clicks to website, and website conversions. Although I wonder how successful the last one is.
The bottom line is that competition in the Facebook News Feed is out of control, as you’ll come to realize from reading on. As Facebook said themselves, in this recently released sales pdf, you’ll need to focus on useful content that will be shared and investing in Facebook advertising if you want to boost or maintain your current reach.
Facebook News Feed Is Crowded
On the one hand, Facebook needs to tighten up what users see in their own personal News Feeds because there is simply just way too much content being posted and shared on Facebook everyday. The average Facebook user, between the ages of 18-24, has an average of 510 friends.
Each day people are connecting with more and more friends, acquaintances, and business/brand Pages. It would be impossible to manage, let alone read, every post from every person or Page in a given day, let alone a given week.
So as much as us social media and content marketing people detest the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm, it’s very much needed and certainly helps the user experience. What us digital marketing consultants and our clients need to understand is that Facebook was made for the people, not for the brands, businesses, and musicians.
People want to see what they want to see, from the people they care about and have relationships with. They feel that their Facebook profile is their home space. They don’t like telemarketers phoning them interrupting family dinner on a Wednesday evening any more than they like door to door sales people showing up on their front door un announced. So why would they want to see a bunch of your crap even though they “liked” your page.
Having said that, if companies, brands, and businesses, take time to understand their buyer personas, and create useful, share worthy content that their followers engage with, their posts may not seem so obtrusive. Instead, this will allow the brand to further develop the relationship with that customer or prospect which may ultimately lead to a conversion or at the very least a word of mouth referral. Finally you, as their internet marketing consultant, can answer with an emphatic YES when they ask you do Facebook ads work?
How To Get My Content To Show Up in the News Feed?
It’s actually quite simple. It’s also competitive. You will not have much luck getting your entire following, and their friends, to see your posts if you deploy organic tactics. Facebook wants to show people the most relevant content for each specific user. In late August 2013, Facebook announced this statement regarding their News Feed algorithm:
“Every day people see content from millions of Pages on Facebook in their News Feeds. Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them. As part of that we want to make sure that the best quality content is being produced, surfaced and shared. Our latest update to the News Feed ranking algorithm helps ensure that the organic content people see from Pages they are connected to is the most interesting to them.
While the goal of News Feed is to show high quality posts to people, we wanted to better understand what high quality means. To do this we decided to develop a new algorithm to factor into News Feed.
The system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages. Coming up with an algorithm to detect this is complex, and we will continue to refine it as we get more feedback.”
It’s all about quality content isn’t it? If you want to show up in your fans News Feed, you need to create awesome content that they’ll use and share. This isn’t a “new” thing for this digital age.Quality content has always been important to consumers. When delivered at the right time, it’s made business and users happy and satisfied.
It’s just not a guarantee that your quality content will actually show up in as many News Feeds as you’d like. Of course it isn’t. Facebook is a free social network that is a business.
Just recently, Facebook made some additional updates to the News Feed algorithm and stated:
“As the dynamic nature of News Feed continues to follow people’s patterns of sharing, Page owners should continue using the most effective strategy to reach the right people: a combination of engaging Page posts and advertising to promote your message more broadly. Advertising lets Pages reach the fans they already have and find new customers as well. The fans you have matter. In addition to being some of the most loyal customers, fans also make the advertising on Facebook even more effective.”
Facebook Advertising Increases Reach
The simple answer of how to increase Page Likes and Post Reach is to publish killer content that is useful, buy Facebook ads, Sponsored stories, and boost your posts. While this sounds simple and it really sort of is, you also need to roll out some decent Social Media Optimization (SMO) with all your social posts – Facebook or otherwise.
Be sure to use optimized images when posting content from your website or blog. For Facebook, include an image in your post that is optimized for the Facebook News Feed. If it’s going to be a sponsored story, the image can be one of 3 sizes: 358 x 268 px, 268 x 358 px, or square at 300 x 300 px.
If it’s a News Feed profile picture, that may link to your website or blog article, the seed image size is a little larger but still offers 3 options: 398 x 296 px, 296 x 398, or square at 320 x 320 px.
You should also use a keyword rich image file name, with words separated by a dash “-“. Be sure that all your images on your website or blog post have alt tags and keyword rich title tags.
It’s pretty clear that Facebook is showing users what they “want” to see, based on user behaviours on Facebook and of their friends behaviour as well. They are definitely limiting or “curating” what posts from businesses and brands, users will actually see in their News Feed.
To be clear, brands do not have to advertise in order to show up in the News Feed. Organic posts are still getting through. It’s just that it’s way tougher for organic posts to penetrate the News Feed due to the competition of brand content on Facebook.
To cut through the clutter and shine with your digital communities, you need to produce fresh content that your users find useful and will share. If you want to cut through the “noise” of the Facebook News Feed, buying ads to promote your awesome content is your best bet.
If you’re wondering, do Facebook ads work, and you need some help crafting your social media marketing strategy or executing and managing your Facebook advertising campaign, I’d be happy to help you. Contact me to arrange a Skype, phone, or in person meeting.