If you do Facebook marketing, you have surely heard the statement, “Organic reach is dead.” You may have even noticed that your own reach is dwindling. I know on some of my own posts it has.
I want you to say this slowly and be calm about it, “It’s my own fault organic reach is dwindling.” In the early days of Facebook business pages, you could post a picture of a cute cat and say, “look at our product, please give us your money.” We have all seen this post in one form or another. In October of 2013, you could post something like that and achieve 12% organic reach (see chart below from social@Ogilvy). In February of 2014, it was estimated you could only reach about 6% of your organic audience. And, now page owners are reporting that they only reach 2% of their free audience.
While Facebook could allow those types of posts two years ago, there are now too many pages and too many posts. Brian Boland, who works on the Ads Products Marketing team of Facebook, said this in June of 2014 when talking about organic reach: “There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook.”
Basically, Facebook is doing everyone a favor by cutting organic reach. Yes, even your own business. Facebook started cutting organic reach because people were trying to cheat. Page owners would share a text post. They then would post one with a picture and text. Finally they would throw another one up with a link, text, and picture. You see the idea. Everything was done for the sake of reaching the most people possible. It clogged my news feed and yours, and even though I love seeing cute pictures, it got aggravating after a while. Like any successful company, Facebook addressed this issue.
And if you want to be a successful company too, you need to now address this situation. Post quality work that drives discussion about your business and you may even generate some link clicks. If a post is engaging enough, someone may jump to Google and search for your company. If you’re lucky, this searcher might buy something.
Facebook is still going to share your page posts, just not poor ones. One of the criteria they are going to rely on is the engagement rate of your previous posts. Your engagement rate is simply how much people commented on, shared, or liked your post.
Now, let’s say this statement together, “Thank you, Facebook.” Facebook is forcing businesses to realize that being seen isn’t all that matters. If your post gets six million views and no one likes it or buys a product from you, you have gained nothing. If you get fifty views, twenty people comment, and two people eventually buy something from your business, I would say you gained something. Furthermore, by not posting shameless promotional posts, you are actually creating a brand. If you post about how you’re trying to change the world with your product and a funny story about one of your attempts at doing so, someone might actually remember what your company’s name is. Conversely, it’s really hard to remember what business posted a funny picture that twenty other people also posted.