Last month (January 2015), Facebook announced that it had made further changes to its algorithm that impact on the organic reach of your posts.

Now for those of you that may not understand organic reach and how this works, here is a quick explanation.

Organic reach is the term given to the number of your likers or fans that will see a post from your page without paying to boost or promote it. For example, if you have 100 fans and your organic reach is 10%, then 10 fans will see your post. The current average organic reach is around 6%. This has declined significantly over time.

There are several reasons organic reach has and will continue to decline.  Facebook wants users to spend as much time on their platform as possible. To ensure that users go and stay and keep coming back, the experience has to deliver every single time. The algorithms that Facebook users are constantly defining your newsfeed to ensure that all of the content that appears in front of you gives you the best user experience.

This means that over time, it will decide what you will and won’t see. This relates to both your friends and pages that you have liked. If you have a friend that you never interact with, then they are likely to drop out of your newsfeed. The same goes for business pages. If you don’t interact with the page, then their updates or posts are likely to drop out of your newsfeed.

Facebook is working hard to ensure that your newsfeed delivers every single time. Sadly, this is often to the detriment of business pages. The way to circumnavigate this is to pay to promote all of your posts. Many speculate that this is going to be the way of the future.

We know that there are certain types of posts that will get better organic reach and that we can work hard to reverse the trend. On my page, for example, my organic reach sits at around 22%. So we can work hard to improve it.

However, the changes in January 2015 that were announced meant that we need to revisit how and what we post.

According to the Facebook announcement, they surveyed users to find out what consistent traits make organic posts feel too promotional:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter competitions and sweepstakes with no real content
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.

So, if you are creating these types of posts, expect the organic reach on them to decline significantly.

I have to be honest, there was a lot of hype leading up to the January changes but I personally do not see it as being too significant for my business and those that I manage. These types of posts do not fit within my best practice guidelines for posting anyway.

However, if your business was relying on Facebook to drive product sales and promotions, this moves the goal posts for you. So what can you do now?

If you don’t have one already, now is the time to embrace an online marketing strategy. This means that you need to have:

  •  A fully functioning website that sells and converts for you.
  • An email marketing strategy with a responsive list.
  • A presence on other social media platforms to help grow your audience.

You also need to consider a paid marketing strategy for Facebook that includes running ads and boosting posts. I truly believe that if you have a lot of fans, paying for them to see your posts makes good sense. No page can get 100%+ organic reach on all posts so why not combine a great best practice posting strategy with a considered spend on advertising.

I hope that this has demystified the changes that Facebook has made (and will more than likely continue to make). Remember, marketing will cost you both time and money and if you think that using Facebook is free, then you now is the time that you really need to be reconsidering your total online strategy.

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