It wasn't that long ago when everyone believed the best practices on Facebook revolved around "organic reach." Unfortunately, as with most things, as the times change so do the established rules-of-thumb, leaving those in the thick of it to hack it out in an attempt to stay on top of the ever-changing world of social media.
Organic reach on Facebook is now at an all time low averaging around 3%, and it doesn't appear to be increasing anytime soon. In fact, it's safe to say it may not ever. The reality of the situation is, only a small percentage of Facebook's users are actually tapping into the paid advertising side of its business platform, in business terms, that is not good. Naturally Facebook wants to capitalize on this gap in numbers and in order to help persuade the rest of those some 56 million non-paid advertisers, it's now forcing its hand somewhat in order to "strongly encourage" those non-paid users to give paid ads a try.
So what does this mean? It means if you are still hanging on to the idea that organic is the "green" bee of content—you're sorely mistaken; it's time to wake up and join the rest of the paid ad world or your content will get left in the dust.
So how does one go about generating valuable content that is sure to get noticed, shared, and liked?
It's no secret that in order to do well on any social channel you must be creating and posting highly optimized content that resonates with your fans. With so much being put out every second of every day, it stands to reason that you can't just "put" out content. Rather, you have to make your audience STOP by making content visually appealing and catchy as they are scrolling through their feed; this is called thumb-stopping.
The need to inspire is greater than ever. Afterall, what makes you stop? What makes you share?
Well, the same is true for your target audiences as well. Facebook's current news feed algorithms strongly encourage advertisers to create appealing content by rewarding them as their engagement goes up. No matter the organic or paid reach, the more likes, comments, and shares, the greater the reward.
A great example of this is Chatbooks. A new, up-and-coming company that focuses on photo books. It capitalizes on the life of busy soccer moms who don't have all day to scrapbook, but want to catch that perfect moment and translate it into a scrapbook.
The company's angle was to take the fun and crazy nature of a mom's every day life, add a little bit of dry humor, and wallah, they had a hit. Nearly half a million to be exact. It's take on capturing the crazy life of a funny satirical mom is spot on and has resonated highly with its audiences. If you haven't seen it, you should. Even those without kids will get a good laugh out of the witty but accurate take on a busy mom's life.
With the nearly a half million likes, comments, and shares on Facebook, you could say they hit the nail on the head.
Once you begin identifying the kind of content that works, or that you feel exudes the identity of your company, push the boundaries a bit. Don't be afraid to try different approaches as each one will get you closer and closer to your target audience.
Tip: Remember not to over ask – in other words – it would be prudent to minimize your call-to-action (CTA) by keeping those posts at a minimum. When putting out content keep it diverse with an array of posts that incorporate entertainment, promotions, live posts, and of course, posts that are educational.
To boost or not to boost?
Once you've acquired a good feel for your company's brand identity, and you've gotten some decent organic reach out of your posts—it's time to start boosting.
This is where I would stress, don't get overzealous and press the boost button immediately after posting. Give it some time to resonate with your audience. Whether you give it an hour or a full 24 hours is beside the point. The key is to let your post gain some organic traction and then use that traction to capitalize by boosting your post.
Organic reach is a guessing game. In business, guessing is never a good thing. This is where paid advertising plays a key role, in fact it allows for complete targeting down to the geographic location, job title, industry, income level, even gender.
Remember when I suggested keeping your content fresh and versatile? The more creative your posts, the greater the reach, typically. Two ways of going about that include live video and native posts.
Of all the content formats, video takes the cake. With a third of the engagement reaching over 1200% more shares than standard text and graphic posts together. Facebook's algorithms take into consideration total amount of time spent watching media, as well as how often it is shared; essentially it rewards native video upload as compared to those who insert links from YouTube on Facebook.
From live cooking demos to Q&A's with your favorite entrepreneur, you can receive up to 10 times the reach and visibility through Facebook's live video. Suggested time spent going live with your fans sits somewhere between 5-20 minutes. Longer mid-roll videos are currently being tested out by Facebook in the 90 second or longer range. Under this option, you can also narrow your audiences through targeting and retargeting options.
Veyner Media is a great example of benefiting from Facebook and other live video features with Gary Veynerchuck's daily video chats. Not only is he able to tap into all of his fans and educate them on best business practices, but he is able to connect with them on a personal level while building brand awareness and enhancing relationships at the same time.
Don't be afraid to Re-use
Re-posting past successful posts is also a wise way to maximize the reach and bring new attention to those who may not have seen it the first time. And, if you're like me, you never tire of re-watching an incredible witty and savvy video ... in fact, you're likely to share it again if it's that good.
Tip: Make sure that if you mention or highlight another company or person that you tag them in your post. This is not only beneficial to give attribution to the original author, but it also allows your post to show in their feeds providing even further reach.
Also, if you blog, pin, or snap, make sure to maximize your reach by linking those posts to your Facebook posts. This will not only bring new eyes to your content, but broaden the reach of your audience. This can also be done through emails and websites.
Love your audience
If you've ever left a comment and received no engagement, you know how disappointing it can be, it can leave you feeling deflated and perhaps even leave a bad taste in your mouth for that particular brand or company.
With users seeking immediate responses, it is more important than ever to ensure that you're engaging with your fans. It is afterall, what keeps them coming back for more. People like to feel special and appreciated for their efforts. If someone takes time to comment on your post, show some love. It might just be the difference between a life-long fan or a fan that is long-gone.
Spread the wealth
Finally, don't be afraid to spread out the wealth. Now that you've decided to start boosting your content, make sure you understand best practices. Rather than using all your money to boost one ad, consider spreading out the money across three different ads by allocating the it accordingly. By splitting up the funds, you allow your content to reach an even vaster audience and lengthen the time its visible—sometimes called the "Mari Method." When using this method, you can literally use content that has showed high levels of engagement again and again over a long period of time, maximizing reach and broadening your audience.
Have you tried any of these suggestions? If so, what were the results? Let us know by commenting below!
Audra loves reading, writing, and arithmetic - all true except the last part - hails from the great state of Utah; known as a super cool mom (don't listen to her kids), avid runner, and creative genius. On the weekends you'll find her trying to catch up on sleep, running from game to game, and enjoying time with her husband and crazy kids!