Gaining momentum organically on social media, especially Facebook, has proven to be more difficult than ever. We can all agree that 2016 seemed to be a pretty rough year on various spectrum’s, regardless of belief or fandom. Likewise, bundled into 2016 was a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook. And this isn’t a sudden thing. Social Media’s OG (sorry, MySpace) has been slowly cutting down organic reach for some time now. In 2014, Facebook addressed this issue, stating that overly promotional page posts were an eyesore for users. Now, I can totally get behind that. No one wants to scroll through numerous posts promising the world if you buy today for 50% off or enter a contest. That’s what Facebook was attempting to do: remove the clutter timeline-scrollers surveyed to dislike in order to enhance the user experience. Cool.
So, Facebook created an algorithm that determined what users saw on their timelines. Surprise, pages were silenced left and right. This algorithm, still used and tweaked constantly, is called EdgeRank. What were those pages left to do? Well, Facebook already told them back in 2012 that they should just buy ads if they want to reach users. And to make it sound a little nicer, they would be called “stories”. In response, some pages utilized what Facebook called the Reach Generator, which was their own way of promoting their ad services to pay for reach, an act they were essentially banning from brand pages. Coincidence? Sneaky? I don’t know. But it is paying to play the game.
Fast forward to 2016, and it has been a push and pull. Even publishers are struggling to get their content out, and now some branded content is allowed, but only to favored brands. Kind of like a popularity contest, but you didn’t hear that from me.
As of 2017, organic reach is at about 2%. So, is organic reach on Facebook is dead? Yes and no. Gone are the days of a user following a Facebook page and actually seeing the business’s post, regardless of size or interaction, much less in real time. This type of organic reach has been buried like Ryan Reynolds. However, achieving organic reach is not impossible. It just takes stellar content strategy.
Can we blame the fall of organic reach on the growth of users frantically posting to social media? Well, a little bit, and partly in some cases. With all the constant updates ranging from a picture of salad to a rant about politics, a business hoping to gain any kind of organic reach is lost from many timelines when a user doesn’t interact with it. An astounding 50,000,000 pages post at least once a day. Essentially, timelines over time became as bloated Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends. This was contributing to organic reach before Facebook even created EdgeRank. At that point it became a vicious cycle. Couple that aspect and the present EdgeRank algorithm together and now pages are stagnant or declining, especially the small ones.
So, what’s a business to do? At The Barber Shop Marketing, we say let the experts (that’s us, by the way) take over. We have an entire department dedicated to tackling social media and getting your voice heard. It’s a collaborative effort, from advertising team members in production, graphic design, and digital marketing, to follow the direction of our head social media guru. At the end of the day, they make some killer posts and know what it takes to get the momentum rolling and give clients a successful social media presence.
Overall, there are some general guidelines to be kept when creating the best posts. Shareable content is one. If you want users to spread your word, it would behoove your posts to be shareable. Sharing is caring, lovelies, and that’s how you get viral and reach more users. That viral reach is important.
Shares are not everything either. You want content that is engaging enough that a user likes or comments on the post. When they do that, their interaction will show up on their friend’s timeline. It takes staying on top of the EdgeRank algorithm and producing creative, unique content so it can be seen by more than your followers.
But, but! What is this content?! How can I create these great posts that people will interact with, increase my reach, and build community?!
To start, try posting about real people. It really helps, promise. Showcasing customers, whether new or old, or introducing a team member, generally help when creating engaging content. You want to nurture relationships and build a community. It’s refreshing to see faces behind the brand. It makes the experience personable and approachable. Users should have a place to go for questions, comments, or concerns, and the creating of an environment that caters to that is ideal. Social media is best utilized for engaging with users and thus building your brand and brand loyalty.
Also, it’s totally cool to share another user’s or page’s content on your own page. Remember, social media is social. If you think that only posting about your business and your services every day will get engagement and reach, you’re in for a rough time. What kind of things do your audience relate to or enjoy? What may they find helpful or just funny? Cater to your followers! And make page friends along the way. Social media.
Pages who wish to have a budget for ads are also okay. There is no problem signing up for the game and pushing an ad every now and then, especially if your page is brand new. If a page’s ultimate goal is immediate reach, you basically have to pay for ads. Also, don’t buy followers. Sure, you’ll have a nice cushioned number on the page, but they don’t mean anything if they don’t interact or live where your business targets. Come on. Don’t do that. You’re wasting your money in the long run for quick, empty gain.
Technology moves quickly and what works at one time may not work at another. Don’t be discouraged. It is authenticity and engagement that thrives above it all, after all. From small, local businesses to national brands, it’s the key to succeeding in a technology driven-world. This superhero type content will not always magically appear on the first try. Like Deadpool, it may take a couple tries.
So, while the best posts certainly take time and practice, the effort is worth it.
– Jordyn Walters