Facebook Reach Down? Here Are 10 Things You Can Do.
NOTE: This post builds upon the tips that we provided to you in January–How to Adjust to the New Facebook Algorithm, by Maggie Rakovic.
You’re not alone.
Pretty much every organization we’ve talked to is noticing the same thing: a steady decline in their organic Facebook reach. Video watch time and referral traffic are also being negatively affected.
In part, we all saw this coming. Facebook has been deprioritizing content from Pages for some time now. (You’re considered ‘lucky’ if even just 10% of your fans see your content organically.)
Then, in January, Mark Zuckerberg posted a statement about his new priorities for 2018, in which Facebook will now prioritize, “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
So, what’s really going on?
There are two major reasons why your Facebook reach is declining:
- Facebook’s algorithm continues to evolve. In addition to the statement above, Mark Zuckerberg noted that “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” In essence, Facebook is returning to being a social network rather than a news organization. Novel idea, right?
- Facebook usage is declining. For the first time *ever*, Facebook usage is declining. By 8 percent, in fact. See below…
The reason? According to a blog post on Convince & Convert, the drop in usage is because of three major factors: 1) Distrust of how Facebook is handling their personal data, and of what kind of content that they are seeing (read: fake news); 2) Increased discord among friends, family, associates, etc.; and, 3) Disinterest in the platform overall (i.e. people moving on to other channels like WhatsApp or Instagram).
What can you do?
#1 — Create a line item in your marketing and/or development budgets for paid media asap.
It’s sad but true: having a paid media budget is no longer an option, it’s essential for every organization. It doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars per month, but every organization needs some kind of ad campaign moving forward. We recommend at least $500 each month.
#2 — Regularly move your followers OFF of Facebook and onto your website/email.
At least 1/3 of your posts should direct people back to your website with various calls to action–e.g. sign up for emails, take a quiz (with email capture), download a new PDF resource (with gated content), etc.
#3 — Focus on quality over quantity.
Gone are the days of “spray and pray” – that is, publishing as much content as humanly possible and hoping that more posts = more reach. Before you go to create hundreds of social media posts every month, ask yourself three questions: 1) Is this content that our followers are going to absolutely LOVE; 2) Will it measure up to or beat the baseline KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that we have established; and, 3) Do I have enough time and the resources needed to create a post that abides by the social media best practices. If the post doesn’t meet those criteria, nix it from the content calendar.
#4 — Make more videos.
According to a recent study by Quintly, native Facebook videos have 530% more comments, 186% higher engagement rate, are shared more than 1000% more than videos linked to from other hosting sites. Plus, Facebook users are spending 3X more time watching live broadcasts than traditional videos on the platform.
Related post: 7 Best Practices for Optimizing Videos on Facebook
#5 — Do more influencer outreach campaigns.
Reach out to your influencers, allies, staff, and ambassadors. Start the dialog. And, cross-promote content. For major groups of constituents, create a toolkit that allows people to quickly copy/paste and upload images for your brand. You should also consider offering prizes for individuals that help promote your organization’s content on their personal social networks.
Related post: 5 Tips for Starting an Influencer Marketing Campaign
#6 — Create dialog among your followers.
Ask your followers questions. Be curious. Ask them for advice. Ask them for their input on a certain campaign. That said, be aware of using engagement bait, as Facebook is cracking down on this more and more.
#7 — Consider shifting your resources to other channels, like Instagram.
At least for a little while longer, Instagram is slightly more contained and streamlined compared to the sheer volume and competition for eyeballs as seen on Facebook. Plus, overall engagement rates and brand/organization interactions are actually higher on Instagram than on Facebook.
#8 — Consider creating a Facebook group.
When based on and built around the needs of a community, a Facebook Groups can have extremely effective reach and engagement. Plus, the posts from a Facebook Group have a higher likelihood of being seen in an individual’s Facebook feed over regular Page posts.
#9 — Remind your Fans how they can see your content.
When someone clicks “Like” on your page, they aren’t going to necessarily see all of your posts right away. Educate your fans that they can update their notification settings from your Page in order to see your posts first (…the irony being that you’ll probably need to “boost” those initial posts so that your fans see them in the first place.).
#10 — Utilize all channels to boost social media engagement.
Make sure your website, emails, and other social media channels support and reference each other (in the profiles and in the posts themselves). Optimize your website and landing pages for social sharing (either with social share buttons or embedding key content on your website). Consider sending your supporters an email every once and awhile to encourage them to engage with your content on Facebook.