Social Media

Facebook Organic Reach – How You Can Improve It Without Ads

Sep 12, 2017
Reading Time: 6minutes

Facebook organic reach is becoming more and more difficult. Yet there are still ways that you can improve your organic posts without paying for Facebook Ads.

In this article you’ll learn:

● Why Facebook organic reach is getting harder
● 9 ways on how to improve your Facebook organic reach

Facebook Organic Reach - How You Can Improve It Without Ads

Our Facebook page isn’t huge…but it’s growing.

We have just over 1,100 followers at the time of writing this article. Typically posting organically on Facebook reaches between 5-10% of our audience. So that’s as little as around 50-100 people.

Hardly worth it you ask. But as you can see it is increasing:

Facebook Organic Reach - How You Can Improve It Without Ads

Why is Facebook organic reach so limited?

Simple answer here – Facebook Ads. A couple of years ago we managed to use Facebook to obtain some great leads for our clients. We would post organically, yet frequently and obtained strong user signups for our clients.

For Facebook, this represented a couple of problems.

If companies (and specifically social media marketers) were getting solid results from their organic posting efforts – why would marketers pay to use their ad platform? For Facebook, searching to increase revenues from their adverts they would need to provide an incentive for marketers (and subsequently companies) to pay for them.

So Facebook began tinkering with their algorithm and limited the organic reach when posting organically. So, if you wanted to reach the same number of people, you have to now pay for it. (Although Facebook denies this).

Second, Facebook became concerned about a “context collapse”. People sharing links, cat videos, memes and fake news/clickbait articles and less and less posting pictures of them and their friends – the strategy that Facebook began with that led to the social platform’s astonishing growth.

So those publishing links and company articles were made to ‘pay’ for the privilege by limiting their organic reach and by paying for ads.

How to improve your Facebook organic reach

We began experimenting and adopting the following practices — they may not work for everybody, but they’re certainly working for us.

1# Don’t post too many links.
Facebook doesn’t want us to send people off of Facebook.

Therefore, its algorithm favours posts that feature content which lives on Facebook as opposed to links that lead people to other websites.

Meaning if we post content natively on Facebook — text posts, photos, or videos — Facebook consistently surfaces that content in more of our followers’ news feeds and we get a bigger Facebook organic reach.

(Side note: It’s not just the algorithm that doesn’t want to leave Facebook. Most users would also rather consume content in their feed then click links to go elsewhere.)

With this in mind, we’ve reduced posting links to our website and instead create native versions of them to share on Facebook.

Typically, we post them on Facebook as a photo post with a lengthy caption that includes either the full article or a condensed version of it.

It’s about consumption, not clicks. Better to have more read our content on Facebook (and hopefully subscribe to our newsletter) rather than less readers being driven to our website.

This decision to stop posting links has been the single biggest driver of increased reach for our Facebook posts. When we still occasionally post a link on Facebook, it reaches half as many people as when we post natively.

2# Write longer (and better) captions.
Facebook’s algorithm is heavily influenced by the engagement our posts generate.

The more people like, comment, share, or click our post, the more distribution it will get.

With this in mind, we’ve attempted to now write longer captions on our Facebook posts — captions long enough to trigger the “See more…” button for readers to expand the full caption and read it.

Doing this — assuming the caption is compelling — creates an opportunity for engagement (a click of the See more button) that doesn’t exist with a short caption.

It’s consistently led to more clicks on our posts, which in turn made them more engaging and led to more reach.

3# Use emoji’s and statuses
The first step to a successful post on Facebook is to catch person’s eye as they furiously scroll through their news feed.

If we can’t get them to at least stop for a beat to notice our post, we’ve got no shot at getting them to engage with it.

We try to ensure everything we post includes an emoji and to make those posts as compelling as possible —something that will stand out from what people typically see in their feed.

Whether you love or hate them, emoji’s and statuses including “feeling awesome” are more eye-catching to readers scrolling through their news feeds.

Facebook Organic Reach - How You Can Improve It Without Ads

4# Post less often.
We used to post several times a day and let our schedule dictate our content.

If we decided to post three times a day, then the team had to come up with three things to post — even if it meant including content that was merely ‘OK.’

But recently the team switched that up and now post no more than once a day or a few times a week with the emphasis on only posting high-quality content.

This has helped drive our increased Facebook organic reach because the better the quality, the better the performance and because our own posts no longer compete with each other for the attention of our audience.

Less is more. At least it has been for us.

5# Engage and Like with your comments.
We’ve always been good about engaging with the comments on our posts, but this past month we’ve made it a rule to at least Like (and often reply) to any comments we get.

It’s good for community building and drives the engagement that impacts Facebook’s algorithm.

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6# Tag relevant Facebook pages in your copy.
If you’re going to mention a person, place, or thing that has an official Facebook page, make sure you tag that page in your post copy.

It expands the reach of your post to the feeds of people who may be fans of those pages or friends of the person you’ve mentioned — and will show some of them your post even if they’re not fans of your own page.

It also helps ensure our own fans who are interested in those things will be more likely to see that post.

7# Invite people who like posts to like the page.
One of the best ways to get more people to see our posts is to get more people to become fans of our page in the first place. Here’s an easy way to do that.

Click to see who has Liked any individual post on your page and when you do so, you have the opportunity to invite any non-fans who liked the post to like your page.

We’ve done it with all our recent posts and it’s definitely helped grow the page.

Facebook Organic Reach - How You Can Improve It Without Ads

8# Post when most of your followers are online.
In our Facebook page Insights we can see a chart revealing when our page followers are typically online.

We noticed the peak times for our fans’ Facebook use is mid-afternoon, so we’ve started to post more often during that time frame.

I would suggest you still mix it up to reach different people and it’s not clear how much of an impact it has since Facebook is so algorithm driven anyway, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

9# Use specific audience reach for localised languages
If you have fans who speak various languages, then you should be using the ‘Audience Restrictions’ option. By telling Facebook’s algorithm that you only want to display this local language post to those who mark this language in their settings, helps to push that post to more relevant and targeted readers.

I’ve done it myself, where I have been targeted by languages I do not speak and simply scroll on through my news feed. Best to keep it relevant and localised.

Facebook Organic Reach - How You Can Improve It Without Ads

Of course keep testing new ideas, Facebook is always shaking things up and make sure you use Facebook insights to measure your progress. By using these 9 tactics above you’ll notice a better Facebook organic reach for your posts. Need help with your social media management? Then ask us for advice!

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