Facebook Changes May Have Negative Effect on Organic Reach

by Andrew Krebs-Smith | May 15

Facebook recently implemented changes to its News Feed that limit the reach of posts that have been Liked or commented on by friends, effectively reducing the number of people who see unpaid posts on the social network. This is the third time in the last 18 months that Facebook has reduced organic page reach.

Additionally, Facebook is getting more lax about displaying multiple posts from the same source, and will place posts by favorite friends and pages higher up in the news feed for better visibility. These recent changes are based on user feedback and are meant to provide people with the most relevant content in a targeted way.

Facebook is sending the strong signal that ads will always receive priority placement when compared to organic reach. Our position is the same as it’s been for the last 18 months: This transition of organic social from a no-brainer, free impressions giveaway to a purely later-in-the-funnel re-engagement tool should mark a huge shift in the way brands allocate resources for new customer acquisition.

How the News Could Affect Your Business

As a Facebook user, you might be glad that you’ll no longer get updates on what posts your cousin in Oklahoma is into. But as a business, this means that the number of Likes and comments you get on your unpaid posts won’t increase the number of eyes that see it. There was a time when you could write a blog, post it on Facebook, and reach about 20 to 30 percent of your audience. Now, organic page reach is closer to 2 to 3 percent, according to research by Locowise.

However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at his November 2014 town hall meeting that unpaid posts can still be a good way to build a following and promote your business. So don’t give up creating organic posts, but do be smarter about it.

Marketing in the New Age of Facebook

The message Facebook is sending with this algorithm change is loud and clear: Stop using unpaid posts purely for customer acquisition. If you want to drive sales, buy an ad.

However, if you want to build a following by providing your brand’s target demographic with relevant news, contests, and entertaining posts, Facebook is still a useful, low-cost medium. After all, a fan of your brand is much more likely to convert, and Likes still help you determine who your audience is, according to marketing consultant and blogger Jon Loomer.

Here are some tips on creating posts that can engage your fans and help you build a following, regardless of reach:

Create quality content. Facebook and Google alike have been trying to get this message across to marketers for years. Your customers are smart; don’t treat them otherwise.
Be image conscious. People are visual, and good photos are inexpensive or even free these days. Take some time to find images that are colorful, lively, and will resonate with your audience.
Give it away. What’s the best way to get someone’s attention? Offer them a free product or a discount on something they’re already interested in. Creating contests is also a really effective way to keep your fans engaged and coming back for more.
Know your audience. Know what they want and how they behave, and tailor your content to that. Being aware of this can affect your whole social strategy, from the topics you cover to the time of day you post.

Andrew Krebs-Smith
About the author

Andrew Krebs-Smith

Andrew sings our praises to anyone that will listen. Before founding Social Fulcrum, he developed and managed social media strategy for accounts including Pfizer, Ocean City MD, The National Aquarium, and Strayer University. Andrew loves food, travel, music, exercise, and tea. Connect with Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn.