It’s disheartening to put in all that work behind planning your social media calendar, and brainstorming content ideas only to see a decline in your Facebook organic reach, isn’t it?
You’re not alone.
Changes in the Facebook algorithm
The average reach for Facebook posts was down by 2.2%, which meant that posts were seen by only about 5.5% of brands’ page followers, according to a 2019 Hootsuite report.
This unanimous decline was first observed in 2014, when Facebook announced changes in their News Feed. Facebook wanted to “show people the things they want(ed) to see” and make news feeds more engaging.
This was then followed by another major announcement in 2018 when Facebook said that they will prioritize posts from businesses and brands that “encourage meaningful interactions”.
How to increase organic reach on Facebook?
Does that mean paid advertising is the only way to gain visibility? Not quite.
Your posts must achieve two key aspects in order to appear on news feeds:
- Deliver value and be relevant
- Drive engagement and spark conversations
Here’s a look at some smart tactics you can include in your social media plan to boost organic reach on Facebook.
1. Pick the right time to post
Timing is everything. You can post the most engaging content but if your target audience isn’t online or active then, nothing matters.
Start with finding out when your followers are active. You can go to your page and click on Insights > Posts > When your fans are online. You also get to see a day-wise pattern to understand which days of the week are likely to drive more engagement.
While you might think posting during the peak periods is enough to get noticed but that’s not always the case because peak times also translate into increased competition.
So, you might want to consider posting a little before the peak time, letting your audience see your post (and interact with it) before they’re bombarded by other brands.
2. Use relevant and attractive images
You might think this one’s a no-brainer but it’s not. While every brand is using images, how many of those images manage to grab attention? Not too many.
In order to maximize reach, your Facebook posts need to compel users to stop scrolling and encourage them to engage with your post. They need to complement the caption, add value and generate interest in them to know more.
So, move beyond stock photos and take a look at how you can create Facebook visuals that stand out in a crowded timeline:
- Use icons and illustrations to explain concepts
- Visualize data with infographics and charts
- Create GIFs, memes and cinemagraphs
- Use bold and bright color schemes
In addition to these design practices, make sure you keep the Facebook post specs in mind to maintain consistency and make a good impression.
Here’s a good example of HubSpot using a vibrant chart to make an important point and ending with a question to encourage interaction.
3. Repurpose top-performing content
Quality content doesn’t come easy but when it does come by, it’s important to make the most out of it.
One of the most effective ways to create Facebook posts that your audience will love is by repurposing your top-performing content pieces into snackable social media posts.
Not only does it save you time and money but it also helps you piggyback on your past successes and reinforce the message across different mediums and content formats.
Here are some repurposing ideas for social media content:
- Pull out quotes and statistics
- Create mini-infographics
- Create teaser videos
- Curate customer reviews
Here’s an example of how Venngage repurposed an infographic on 61 Women In Tech Speak Up to a multi-image Facebook post.
4. Use organic post targeting
If your thought post targeting is only for paid posts, you’re mistaken. You can use organic post targeting to reach people who are most likely to engage with your content.
You will find this on your page by clicking Settings > General > Audience Optimization for Posts.
Once you click ‘Save Changes’, you will then have the option to target people by interests, age, gender, locations and languages.
When you direct posts to a targeted audience, even though the reach decreases, you are bound to see a spike in engagement rate as it’s speaking to relevant people and those who are interested in the message.
5. Do a Facebook Live
People love video content and when streamed live on Facebook, it manages to get six times the interaction.
Live videos are popular because it lets brands showcase their human side, establish a connection and foster interactions. It allows viewers to actively participate and engage, paving the way for an authentic two-way conversation.
Here are different ideas for your next Facebook live:
- Host a Q&A session with an industry expert or influencer
- Go behind-the-scenes and give audiences a peek into your office and employees
- Conduct a live demo, tutorial or workshop
- Show a live broadcast of an event
- Launch a product
Make sure you create buzz about the Facebook Live on different social media platforms to maximize attendance and engagement. It’s also important to engage with your viewers during the live streaming by welcoming them, asking and answering questions and engaging with the comments you receive.
Here’s a live video example by Benefit Cosmetics where they show tips and tricks on the best brow styles.
6. Encourage conversations
Facebook values meaningful engagement and rightly so. Think like a user: you would want to see brands that offer value and actively engage with their followers, wouldn’t you?
So to increase organic reach, create Facebook posts that ask questions, spark conversations, gather feedback and even start debates. Your followers need to feel heard and know that your brand’s social media page is more than just a one-way announcement platform.
Here’s an example of Starbucks, asking a simple question that managed to get a considerable amount of engagement.
While posts that encourage conversation are great, those that almost provoke people to interact with it are a strict no-no.
“Hit like for chocolate and love for vanilla” — how many times have you seen such posts on Facebook and wondered if you should do the same?
Quick tip: don’t do it.
Such posts are demoted by Facebook because they don’t drive meaningful conversations and are spammy.
7. Run a contest
Running social media contests is a good way to engage audiences but it’s not enough to ask people to tag their friends in the comments section or share the post on their timeline.
Make the contest count.
You can host a giveaway, ask people to caption a funny image, share user-generated content or submit mini videos.
Remember: the choice of prize matters most because that’s what motivates people to participate in the contest. So, pick a prize that’s related to your brand and gets people excited to take part in it.
It’s also a good idea to read Facebook’s terms of service before you launch a contest.
Here’s an example of a contest by Wistia. They announced the contest with a fun video which outlined the contest guidelines and generated interest.
The takeaway: increase organic reach on Facebook
Facebook is constantly making changes to improve news feeds, making them more authentic and timely. As a brand, you need to stay on top of these changes and find creative ways to stand out in a noisy timeline.
Take cues from Facebook’s direction — create content that delivers value and encourages meaningful engagement by mastering social media graphics and being relevant. Follow the above tactics to increase organic reach on your business page.