The Decline of Organic Reach: Navigating the New Facebook
“Is Facebook still worth it?”
Of course it is. But with the visible decline in Facebook organic reach, I’ve been getting this question a lot lately from brands, social strategists and marketers alike. And while a myriad of brands initially attracted by the allure of creating a community with direct access to their fans and customers have spent countless hours and resources focused on harnessing those communities, some are threatening to pack up shop and focus their attention elsewhere.
While a refocus on social business objectives and channel strategy may be a sound approach, abandoning Facebook altogether is a bit premature. Let’s take for example, a brand with 500,000 Facebook Likes, 100,000 Followers on Twitter, 10,000 Followers on Google+ and 5,000 Followers on LinkedIn. Research is showing that Brand Pages on Facebook now receive between 2-3% organic reach. In this example, you’d be reaching 10,000 to 15,000 fans and potential customers on Facebook, which is likely exponentially higher than the amount of views you might receive on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, as tweets get buried and most users aren’t as engaged on G+ and LinkedIn. And while 2-3% may be a small percentage of total Likes, the opportunity to engage directly with your target audience at that scale is far greater than traditional means like surveys and focus groups.
A byproduct of the decline in organic reach, has however forced resource-strapped brands to take a much deeper look at their overarching content strategy. Brands are now being forced to become much more selective in what they chose to distribute and back with paid. It also forces those same brands to place a greater emphasis on real interaction and engagement, and in managing and fostering customer relationships with a greater focus on customer care. Which is what social is all about, right?
The bottom line here is that it is becoming increasingly more important to create unique, entertaining, timely and relevant content for your communities. Maintain a well-orchestrated presence across all your social networks, everyday, while infusing social into all your major campaigns and marketing activities, all while surprising and delighting your fans by identifying trends and real-time moments to engage.
But what else can be done to hit your social business goals and work to gain higher Facebook organic reach?
1. Paid Promotion
If you have dollars to put behind paid promotion on Facebook, test it out against an upcoming campaign to see how it performs. Make use of features like Dark Posts. While Facebook is becoming more and more a pay-for-play option, there are cost effective ways of hitting target audiences.
2. Perform a content audit
Identify top performing content and times when your audience is most engaged on Facebook, and adjust your content strategy based on those insights. If there is a focused community that is coming to your page and liking content on a daily basis, engage with them, get their feedback, find what works, and do more of it!
3. Don’t overcommit to a single platform
Take a closer look at LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. The opportunity for brands to have TARGETED organic engagement is much greater on these networks now than on Facebook. Although engagement on Google+ isn't at the same level of other networks, the SEO advantages and "Communities" feature make it appealing.
4. Bring social content from Facebook and amplify it
Our recent merger with Mass Relevance provides opportunities to create these deeper, more meaningful interactions across all your social channels. Take advantage of the opportunity to disperse great content.
5. Focus on Customer Care
Brands that put a heavy focus on customer care are finding ample opportunities to engage their audiences on Facebook. The questions, concerns and issues are unfortunately not seeing any decline with organic reach, so having a sound CRM and care strategy in place will not only provide an opportunity to turn a negative conversation into an opportunity, but will also provide procedural efficiencies and cost savings due to decreased call-center requests.
6. Keep Content Timely
Your audience wants information on news, events and trends that are happening RIGHT NOW. Keep a finger on the pulse of what your target audiences are looking for and find the right time and way to engage. The release of our latest product, Spark, is enabling brands to uncover those real-time moments to engage.
Unfortunately, the days of Facebook organic reach hitting 16% of your audience seem to be gone. Where I think Facebook still affords huge opportunities for brands is in creating meaningful conversations and engagement with those focused audiences that the brand should truly care about. The challenge then lies in uncovering those people, the content that best resonates with them, and the conversations that will lead to those deeper interactions for the brand. If the content shared by the brand is timely, relevant and engaging, fans will inevitably pass it along to their friends. And that is where the real value lies.
Ray Rahmati is Spredfast’s lead social business consultant in the Mid-Atlantic region, serving our customers’ needs with everything from strategic guidance to planning and training. Follow him on Twitter @Ray_Rahmati or connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/rayrahmati/