With over 2.6 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. With such a substantial potential for reach, it’s an essential marketing tool to help grow your business.
As Facebook becomes increasingly monetized it’s becoming trickier to reach users organically. On top of that, the new Facebook algorithm changes mean you need to change up your social media strategy. Adapt to their new rules, and you can still see huge benefits in your Facebook organic reach.
In this article, you’ll learn how:
- To understand what drives organic reach
- Why engagement is your most important social media metric
- How to ensure your organic content reaches your target audience
- How to build engagement within your Facebook community
- How to leverage the Facebook algorithm to boost your organic reach
1. What’s organic reach on Facebook?
Organic reach on Facebook is the number of users you reach with your organic content, without paid distribution or Facebook ads. That includes Facebook users who see your content in their news feed and those who view content on your Facebook page.
Organic posts on Facebook only reach around 6% of page followers, which is a drop of over 2% since last year. The decline in organic reach presents a challenge for businesses as they find ways to adapt their current social media strategies.
2. Facebook organic reach 2021: How the Facebook news feed works
The Facebook news feed is specifically designed to present users with the most relevant content for them. Of the potential 1500 stories and posts that a user could see, the news feed will only present about 300.
So how does Facebook choose what appears on each news feed? While there are thousands of factors that determine relevant content for each user, here are the primary ways Facebook ranks content:
– Inventory: Takes stock of all published content available from friends, Facebook groups, and followed business pages.
– Signals: Is your content meaningful and relevant to your target audience based on the type of content, the publisher, how much engagement (likes, shares, comments), purpose, date and time of posting, etc.
– Predictions: Is the user likely to engage with this post based on their previous social media engagement habits (i.e., have they engaged with your page and content before)?
As of this year, Facebook is giving users more control over what appears on their news feed and offering transparency regarding Facebook’s algorithm. A good example is the “Why am I seeing this post” button that was launched last year and shows users exactly how Facebook has tailored each post to them.
3. Reach vs. impressions
Reach measures the number of unique users that view a piece of content. Impressions refer to how many times Facebook has displayed your organic content in a news feed, even if the user doesn’t see it.
Impressions don’t measure unique views, so you can receive multiple impressions from the same person. For that reason, reach generates more useful insights into how many people are actually viewing your content.
4. Reach vs. engagement
Organic reach and engagement directly impact each other on Facebook. The more engagement your organic content receives, the higher Facebook will value your content and the more organic reach you’ll get. Engagement is measured by how many likes, comments, shares, and clicks you receive on each post. Facebook posts, on average, have an engagement rate of just over 3%.
5. Why engagement is your greatest social media metric
According to Facebook, the new news feed algorithm prioritizes posts that encourage meaningful interactions and spark conversation, or in simple terms: engagement. Since we know that engagement is essential to getting your new posts in front of your target audience, it is the most important social media metric to track to gain Facebook insights.
Your organic content needs to create discussions in the comments and inspire people to share since those actions are considered high-value engagement. End each post with a question or call to action to invite your community to get involved in the conversation. Check out how Beyond Meat posts a video of a celebrity advocate, but also includes a prompt to start a discussion with their community.
If members of your community engage with your posts, future posts will continue to appear in their Facebook news feed. You’ll know that your content is resonating by looking at your engagement rate. If less than 1% of your followers are engaging with posts, you may need to rethink your content strategy. Statistically, if you’ve got a 5% engagement rate that means you’re hitting the nail on the head, and users are highly engaged.
6. Facebook post reach trick: reward your community for engagement
Community engagement is not only one of the best ways to increase your organic reach but also builds brand loyalty. So, how do you encourage people to engage with your Facebook page? Creating quality content is step one, but your community needs to know what’s in it for them. Rewarding users for engagement will not only encourage them to do so but show them they are a valued member of your community.
You can create, and automate your rewards program by using Spitche, a tool which allows you to reward you community members for engaging with your content. You choose the rewards and Spitche will automatically issue them to your followers as they like, comment and share your content.
It will substantially increase community engagement, since followers know they’re getting rewarded for it, so you’ll gain more organic reach. It helps build brand loyalty and allows you to identify your most valuable customers based on who is most active. It’s basically a community engagement, loyalty program and lead generation tool all in one!
Rewards can be as simple as a bit of recognition. Bud Light does a fantastic job of rewarding engagement on their Facebook page by showcasing user-generated content. They have recently run a series called the “Stay at Home Humans of Genius,” where they feature funny videos submitted by users.
These Facebook posts have incredibly high engagement rates and thousands of shares. They also ran a hashtag for National Puppy Day and shared users’ pictures of their dogs with Bud Light products.
You can also send out special product/service discounts or referral bonuses to your most valued users via Facebook messenger. Not only will it encourage those who engage to purchase your product, but also make them feel special and valued.
While it might be tempting to run giveaways or contents to reward your users, it will likely be categorized as engagement baiting. Facebook will instantly devalue any posts that aim to get artificial engagement through irrelevant content. Here are some examples of engagement baiting to avoid:
– “Tag a friend who always takes forever to get ready”
– “Comment yes if you can relate”
– “Share this post, and tag three friends to have a chance to win”
You might notice that many companies still use engagement baiting as part of their Facebook marketing, but try to steer clear if you want to optimize your content. Instead, use question prompts that will encourage people to engage in meaningful discussions such as “have you ever experienced this?” or “what are your thoughts?”
7. Post videos that last longer than 3 minutes
Posting videos on your Facebook page gets on average 59% more engagement than other types of posts, but there are a few factors to keep in mind. Always upload videos directly onto Facebook using Facebook Creator Studio. Facebook will devalue any videos posted as links from an external source such as Youtube. Also consider using facebook live videos in your social media marketing strategy as they receive around 6X more interactions than recorded video.
You’ll also notice that before uploading, Facebook will advise you to publish videos longer than 3 minutes. They are incredibly transparent with their news feed algorithm updates and note that they will automatically boost your videos’ organic reach if it’s over 3 minutes in length.
8. Use Facebook Groups that are relevant to your audience
Facebook prioritizes less organic content on their user’s news feed from business pages and instead they see more from groups, friends, and family. By starting a dedicated Facebook group for your business, you can build a dedicated community of like-minded individuals who are interested in your brand. They provide an excellent channel from which to communicate with your loyal Facebook fans and share quality content that is more likely to reach their news feeds.
9. Invite your audience to click “see first” for your posts
The best way to get your content on the Facebook news feeds of your audience is by reminding them of the “see first” preference. By clicking this preference when they follow your brand, they tell Facebook that your content is important to them. By encouraging your audience to choose this preference, you can guarantee that all your quality content jumps to the top of their news feed.
10. Empower employees to share your content
Each one of your employees offers the potential for increased organic reach through employee advocacy. Many brands use influencer marketing to expand their organic reach, and while that can be an effective strategy, there’s nothing more genuine than using your employees as advocates.
Employee advocacy involves your staff sharing your brand content, product announcements, and spreading the company culture. Content that is shared by your employees receives up to 8X more engagement than content shared directly on your business page. That is because it is more personal and humanizes your brand voice.
Employee advocacy is beneficial across the board, with around 86% of employees reporting that it positively affected their careers by building professional authority.
Facebook organic reach takeaways
Although the organic reach of Facebook often receives the spotlight, there are many techniques you can use to increase your Facebook reach organically. By combining high-quality content with strategic engagement tactics, you can build a loyal and dedicated audience and customer base.