Facebook has singlehandedly changed the way brands look at digital marketing. One thing we've noticed however, is the decline in organic reach and engagement across the platform and its many pages. With all of our clients having a huge and dedicated following on Facebook, and on social media in general, we wanted to take a look into what could cause organic reach and engagement to decline in such a large way and how to avoid it. We also made an infographic! It lives on the bottom of this page.
Facebook doesn't provide much information on their algorithm, so we're focusing on what we found through our own research at Pico and on the experience of other people and their conclusions. Here's what we found:
First things first
Visibility within the Facebook newsfeed has become more and more competitive, with both sponsored and non-sponsored posts taking up valuable real estate. Whenever a post is shared to Facebook, it's competing against at least 1,500 other posts for a spot in the newsfeed. On top of that, there has been a steady decline year over year in the average engagement rate and organic reach of Facebook pages.
In 2020, the average engagement rate for organic posts was ~.25%, which then dropped to .08% for pages that have over 100k followers. And the story is similar when it comes to organic reach, which is at around 6% for pages with less than 500k followers, and around 2% for pages with over 500k followers. While the numbers might not look great, it's still possible to drive engagement from your audience, as we've seen successfully done day over day, week over week from pages that we all follow. One thing that is a constant within Facebook's algorithm, is that it will reward content and pages that people are actively engaging with. If your posts are driving steady engagement such as likes, comments, and shares, you are bound to see an increase in overall performance.
That being said
Facebook has its strongest engagement on weekdays, and you can actually see what hours and days of the week your audience is most online in the Insights section of your Facebook page. When you know when your fans are most likely to be online, you can structure your content around those time slots and meet your fans where they are. Second, post consistency is crucial. According to socialbakers.com, if a page posts more than 2x a day, or less than 2x a week, their entire page engagement will be hurt. It's all about finding that happy medium.
An Audience's Needs
An audience needs a reason to engage with posts and content- so give them their reason. Show them the urgency on why they should click the link, watch the video, share the post, or comment on it. Introduce limited time offers, limited edition products, special products and other exclusive opportunities that will encourage their participation and in turn, engagement. Pico pro-tip, if you're launching a sponsored digital activation, ask your sponsors to share the posts, which will only drive additional users to engage, click, and will broaden the posts overall reach.
Content is King
That we know. And while photos used to be king, according to Quintly, it's all about video now. Especially on Facebook. Which makes sense as video generate more screen time for users on Facebook. We have even seen within our Pico Facebook page, that when we share videos to our page, we see an increase in post reach. Now let's talk about Facebook stories. Are people really using them? It turns out, yes, they are. And they're only growing in popularity with personal and branded accounts. And Facebook likes when you use their features, so posting to Facebook stories will actually help your pages overall reach. According to Facebook, 58% of people say they've visited a brand's website for more information after watching a story.
Facebook's Relevance Score
Yep, Facebook is rating your posts. And they're rating them according to a users likelihood to engage, interact, and spend time on the post. The content is then ranked and prioritized and prioritized content includes content that's shared over Messenger, that's liked or commented on, or receives multiple replies.
But be careful with your copy!
Facebook will flag a page and demote its posts if they:
Meaning, if you use language like "Use the 'love' emoji to vote for XY", "Like this post if you can relate", "Share with 10 friends for a chance to win!", and "Tag a friend in the comments". So let's not fish for engagement.
Talk to your fans
Most of your fans actually want to see your content, they are your fans at the end of the day. Ask them to add your page as one of their 'Favorites' in their personal settings. Facebook will automatically bump up your content to those followers as soon as it's posted, and it will also show to Facebook (aka its algorithm), that people want to see your content and will help in the overall ranking of your page.
All in all
These are our major takeaways on how to improve a pages organic reach, but they aren't the be all say all. There is a lot of testing and learning that should happen within the Facebook pages of your brand, team, and/or company. Understand when your audience is online, and share content throughout the week. Use video, avoid clickbait language, and communicate with your fans. Want to build exciting digital content for your audience that also allows you to build out your own database with robust first-party data? Contact our team today.
In the meantime, check out our infographic summarizing all of the above: