Facebook Pages: Is Your Facebook Organic Reach Down?

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Is Your Facebook Organic Reach Dropping?

Want your Facebook community that you’ve built years growing to see the stuff you’re posting?

You may be out of luck soon.

It looks as though you need to start promoting your posts and dishing out the cash if you want to be seen. More and more marketers are noticing a decrease in their organic Facebook reach. Once Facebook became a publicly traded company they shifted some of their focus away from their users and more towards making money. I get it but I’m not sure if it’s the best long term strategy.

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After a question was posed in our SteamFeed group by one of our illustrious featured authors, David Schwartz, I started thinking about how bad Facebook organic reach was really getting.

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Here is what Facebook For Business had to say about it on December 5th.

…competition for each News Feed story is increasing. Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, Pages will likely see changes in distribution. For many Pages, this includes a decline in organic reach.We expect this trend to continue as the competition for each story remains strong and we focus on quality.

and then there is this one as well.

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.

Okay Facebook so you’re saying I should promote my page to get new fans, then once I get those fans I should promote each update to reach those said fans I just paid for?

What’s the point in promoting my page at all?

Why even care about page likes if we just need to promote each update anyway?

Is this really the best way to give your users the best newsfeed experience possible? Could you imagine if I went to Google and typed in “Coca-Cola” but when the results page loaded there was no Coca Cola website because they didn’t pay to be there? I get that those two situations aren’t identical but it should make you think about where Facebook is going with this.

What are people around the web saying about the decline in Facebook organic reach?

1. Ad Age – Cotton Delo

Taken straight from a Facebook sales deck (obtained by Ad Age) that was sent to Facebook partners reads:

“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”

Cotton Delo from Ad Age goes on to make this great point:

The three-page document also contains a section that repositions how marketers should think about fan acquisition: as a tool for making paid advertising more effective. While free distribution of content is mentioned, it’s the third business benefit listed after “improve advertising effectiveness” (through ads with social context, which is enabled by a substantial fan base) and “lower cost for paid distribution” (since Facebook makes it cheaper to deliver ads with social context.)

In other words, the main reason to acquire fans isn’t to build a free distribution channel for content; it’s to make future Facebook ads work better.

2. Search Engine Watch – Jennifer Slegg

It’s also become clear that simply getting people to like a business page doesn’t mean the business will have any shot at engaging them in the future, even with great content. With Facebook admitting they will be delivering fewer and fewer organic liked pages in user newsfeeds, each Like becomes less and less valuable.

3. Marketing Land – Greg Finn

Clearly this is a big issue for marketers. Essentially, this is admitting that this very platform where brands and companies are building their fan base may just be another outlet for ad dollars. If the best way to “get your stuff seen” is through payments, why would brands display their Facebook info in commercials or marketing material?

4. Social Triggers – Derek Halpern

Your Facebook Fans Don’t Know This…

When people like your page, they don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes. They might like your page because they want recipes, fitness tips, or whatever it is that you do.

They don’t realize that Facebook wants you to pay Facebook to give them the content they want.

 5. BuzzFeed – Charlie Warzel

This one from BuzzFeed is the opposite of what most publishers are seeing. My take is that Facebook is trusting a limited amount of major publishers to provide the “news” and they’re giving preference to brands that are posting about hot topics.

According to data from the BuzzFeed Network — a collection of sites including more than 200 publishers such as The Huffington PostTMZThe Onion, and Slate, with more than 300 million users each month — traffic from Facebook referrals to partner network sites are up 69% from August to October of this year. The spike began in August, when the network received more than 100 million referrals for the first time. In October, the network received 151 million referrals for the month.

The increase comes as Facebook is competing with Twitter to be seen, and used, as a vital news source, and appears to be the result of changes to how news links perform in the News Feed. In short, Facebook appears to have broadly shifted its algorithms and to create formidable new traffic streams that simply weren’t there just weeks earlier.

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Recent Rise in BuzzFeed Facebook Traffic

What are some strategies to improve this decline in your Facebook organic reach?

  1. Switch your marketing strategy to Google+ and Twitter – I’m kidding. Sort of. I would definitely start spending more time on those networks to balance out your strategy and not put all of your eggs in one basket.
  2. If what you’re doing isn’t working then stop. Obviously you’re posting stuff your fans, for the most part, don’t want. Try adding more images, ask more questions, or provide value in some capacity without links all the time.
  3. Post newsworthy content. If it’s a trending topic it should be easier for you to gain traction.
  4. Run a contest
  5. Respond to your fans as soon as possible if they engage with you.
  6. Be original and creative. Your content is much more likely to get shared if it’s something new and valuable to your fans.
  7. Post quality content frequently. You should post at least 4 times a day. Some people recommend posting a lot more than this. Find what works best for you and your fans.
  8. Use hashtags appropriately.
  9. Post at optimal times.
  10. Have a blog? Quote some of the comments you get on your Facebook page. Show your readers that you care what they have to say.
  11. When you do post links try to see if there is a difference in links with image previews and ones without. It’s rumored that links without previews get greater reach.
  12. Some believe that if you upload an image first then paste the link you’ll get much better results.
  13. You can embed your Facebook posts in your blog articles.
  14. Don’t forget a CTA (call to action) at the end of the post. For example: “…What kind of results are you getting from your Facebook page?”
  15. Your page can’t be all about you. That might work for some big brands but it is most likely not going to work for you. Mix in some valuable content from other industry leaders.
  16. Use a tool like PicMonkey to make your images stand out.
  17. Try to get your fans to post something on your page. For example if you’re running a page about dogs:”Is your dog in the holiday spirit yet? Share your photos with us!”
The frustrating part is that you may try and do all of the above and your fans may love you but it might not matter in the end. You may have to end up paying Facebook to reach those fans regardless.
How do you feel about Facebook organic reach? Are you going to stick with your strategy or mix it up a bit? Have some tips on increasing organic reach? Leave it all in the comments below. :)
Update: A Petition is gaining momentum! Sign it here.

Facebook: Stop the pay to play requirement for Facebook pages to reach their fans and allow users to see all the content from pages they like in their newsfeeds.

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DJ Thistle
D.J. Thistle is a co-founder of SteamFeed, a blog that focuses on the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing. His passion in technology is only rivaled by his desire to connect with others through social media. He has been a featured speaker multiple times on how to get started in social media at various wine industry events. He has spent the last 9 years teaching in public and private schools in Massachusetts and California. He is happily married and enjoys every moment of raising his beautiful daughter.
DJ Thistle

@djthistle

I'm a husband, father, educator, geek, bookworm, stock market enthusiast, and some would call me an Apple fanboy. Co-Founder of @SteamFeedCom
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