I often hear people talking about “free traffic.” What they are referring to is traffic that’s organic, typically in Google search or via Facebook. Want to increase your Facebook organic reach, keep reading as I share my thought and tips.
But the thing is, “free traffic,” as luck would have it, is hardly free.
The energy you spend in learning how to play nice with the powers that be is an investment. For many, purchasing traffic allows the buyer the ability to quickly surmise the situation of revenue. They spend X, and they make X, this allows the customer to either cancel the purchase order or increase the spend. But organic traffic is making a huge comeback.
Increasing Facebook organic reach has become one of the organic traffic industry’s biggest mysteries. While Facebook does an excellent job at pushing covert sponsored content, consumers are still able to recognize what’s bought and what naturally made way into their newsfeed.
Organic Reach Study of Facebook Posts in 2017
This article is about understanding and increasing Facebook Organic Reach. Facebook is a fundamental social media platform to build your brand.
Having dealt with Facebook since 2008, I can confidently say that the landscape of what Facebook’s organic placements can be both thrilling and frustrating. I can also say, with confidence, many people don’t have a firm grasp on it. I see mistakes regularly, as well, I hear people speaking of “reach” in inaccurate ways.
I am going to break down everything I know about Facebook organic reach in this post. But I do want to make clear, Facebook does not and will not ever, disclose how their reach works.
Everything I plan to convey to you is based on my own experiences.
What Is Organic Reach On Facebook
Straight from Facebook, Organic reach is the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution.
There are two primary factors that influence good or bad Facebook reach:
I know this sounds like an awkward starting point, and maybe even a tad obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often not understanding this fundamental principle can adversely affect your ability to market your content.
Let’s get a little remedial for a moment and gain some clarity. In case you’ve been living in a cave, Facebook doesn’t allow your content’s reach to organically infiltrate everyone who has liked your page’s newsfeed. In fact, they immediately push it to a tiny segment of those people. Back in 2015, it was said to be about 2.6%.
For the past few years, the Facebook organic reach conversation has been one that’s taken on a doom and gloom tone. There is a conspiracy theory that Facebook wants you to buy advertising and so they lower reach intentionally (we will file this as, “kinda,” for now). There is more reasonable theory that there are just too many damn people on Facebook and too many publishers like you and me.
The fact is, Facebook does need organic content and they always will.
If Facebook becomes solely based on advertising revenue, it will appear to be “fast lane” content, and that will kill consumer confidence. People want trending content, not content that’s being paid to appear trending. And Facebook makes that effort, even with advertisers. They walk a line. But they do encourage great content to rise to the top, whether it is bought or paid.
You Have An Established Facebook Following That’s Got Dead Reach
Oh, the glory days, when you first started that cool banana grower guide site. You were so trendy and unique. Your content just flew right off the racks as soon as you stocked it. But now you suffer from a Facebook page of 50,000 completely sedated fans. And you want to wake them up.
Engage fans on your Facebook page for more views
First, when a page has been dead for a while, I typically term reviving it as “waking it up.” The first thing you want to do is decide if your page is dead because of you, or because of Facebook. Check your insights and look at your demographics.
Make sure your page LIKES are mostly English (pending that’s what your site is written in) and primarily in countries that matter (I’m not trying to offend anyone, but Somalia traffic ain’t going to be great).
If your stats show that you built up your LIKES via a lot of cheap Indian traffic, then your reach sucks because of YOU, not particularly Facebook. If you used some scammy service or even selected every country in the world when you first ran promotions on the page and opted for the lowest cost LIKES, you are at fault. Those LIKES have no value.
But if your stats say you have a mostly English speaking following, the United States is top of the list, followed by Australia (great on the night crew reach), Canada and Britain; you can move on to the next diagnostic evaluation.
Next, let’s go through the history of the post in the stats. We know that our statistical audience is good, so let’s look at the history of our content and try to determine WHEN the ship started sinking. Only be concerned with POST REACH, not clicks.
You want to look for a few things:
The major point of the declining trend: This should be a point in time where you can reasonably determine that your reach was forever truncated. Sure, you might have some winning content after it, but I’m looking for consistency. You should see a pretty defined drop off on what I term as “average content.” If your average content used to reach 1200 average, and now it reaches 300 average, look for the point in time this happened.
If your average content used to reach 1200 average, and now it reaches 300 average, look for the point in time this happened.
Beyond that point, extract the winners ( a real post that did exceptionally well beyond that fall off date). And, remove the terrible losers (i the average is now 300, grab the 50 to 100s).
So, How to increase post reach:
At the point of decline, what major changes were made (if any)?
Did you stop producing new content and focus more heavily on recycling old content?
This can, over time, kill reach because as Facebook releases your new posts and fans of your page see the post, they determine that they either have read that or never wanted to read it. Either way, they don’t interact with the post. And Facebook, over the course of several “bad” posts, loses confidence in you and lowers reach.
SOLUTION: Push new content and cease recycling. This isn’t forever, but you might want to find a bit of a more intelligent strategy to work in recycled content. Recycled content should be based on growth.
If you get 1000 new LIKES per day, you have more leeway to post older content because the new fans haven’t seen it. But, if you grow at a much slower pace, give time (like months) between those recycles.
Watch out for drops in Facebook organic reach
Next, at the point of Facebook organic reach fall off, did you happen to make any changes to your business or e-commerce website? An example might be that you added in a pop-up ad, or, added in more ads on the page.
Understand what does post engagement mean on Facebook.
Did you start promoting affiliate programs such as Amazon? Facebook is notorious for lowering reach on websites that have pop ups or too many ads. And honestly, I have always believed they scan the page for Amazon links and lower reach (well, I know they scan the page for affiliate links, they’ve told me this).
A year ago, I promoted a knife review page on my prepper website. I wasn’t thinking. Reach tanked for the entire page and associated pages. I ended up trying to buy ads to a post, and Facebook told me that knife content was disallowed when your page sells the knives. So yes, they scanned the page. And most likely, they dumped organic reach as well. I have a post called bug out bag essentials. Before adding in all those Amazon links (hey, I like money also) the article was a hit on Facebook. But the links, I believe, triggered Facebook to hate on it.
SOLUTION: My go to Facebook post reach trick is stripping the site down, or, get a new site that has no ads, no affiliate links, no pop ups. Then post using that for a week. Make sure you post new content. Reach will NOT come back in one, or even a few, posts. I have found that reach penalty seems to last two weeks.
I once allowed an editor on one of my pages. He got hacked. The hack led to someone spamming every page he was connected to with adult content. My reach tanked.
But here’s the interesting part, it stayed tanked for a while. When I did another thorough audit, I found one of the spammy posts still on the page. I removed it. A couple of weeks later, things returned to normal. So, this next point is to look through your posts history, particularly around the time of the fall off, and see if you have any posts that might be considered a violation. And remove them.
It could be anything. I once put up a post about sexual assault. It was a news story. CNN ran it. CNN’s headline was the same as mine. But Facebook killed the posts immediately and reach sank. I deleted the post (note, I said removed, not hid). Hiding a post still, allows the post to share in feeds, but not appear on your page.
SOLUTION: If you suspect a troublesome post, delete it. Other issues are weapons (I noted that in my example). Yeah, the slingshot posts were cute because it was about little kids and shenanigans, but Facebook saw “slingshot” and labeled it a weapon.
Do your posts suck and lack organic engagement?
Does your content stink of old milk? You are not alone; these 6 studies found the same. Look, maybe in 2014, your content was excellent. But here’s the thing: Facebook is so much bigger now, and publishers are competing for everyone’s limited viewing capacity more than ever. If you never stepped up your game, you’ve screwed up your reach. A few years back, Facebook began prioritizing current and trending news higher. This harmed those old static posts.
What’s different? Let’s play…
Take two posts ideas:
“How To Care For a Banana Tree”
“Tennessee Man’s Banana Tree Offers Rare Local Produce”
The second one involves bananas, but it is also intriguing, and more importantly, it is current.
SOLUTION: First, up your content game by signing up for Google alerts. Be a banana expert. I’d suggest posting some other articles, not on your domain, and see how they do. See if other writers are getting more play than you. Once you see that they are, change your strategy and emulate what is working. Like video.
See if other writers are getting more play than you. Once you see that they are, change your strategy and emulate what is working. Like incorporating video in your posts is one of hottest trends in digital marketing.
My Final Thoughts on Facebook Engagement
I get asked all the time if “boosting posts can help my reach.”
Yes, it can. But make sure you’ve done everything else I’ve suggested prior. Don’t boost crappy posts. And if your page has old issues, resolve them prior to a boost. But yes, boosting posts will help Facebook regain confidence in you following a bad spell.
Increasing Facebook organic reach will always be, in part, a mystery.
However, the solution is typically in the quality of the content and the quality of the audience. Most importantly, if reach dumps on you, be patient and don’t give up. If you follow those steps I listed above, you should have no issue getting out of the hole.