For this “How to Guide,” we relied on the experts. We surveyed the top experts about “organic” reach on Facebook to see what they had to say about Facebook marketing. At the end, we added some of our own ideas, which we found are most helpful.
Some of our ideas may be counter-intuitive, even a bit surprising. They may even challenge the common sense opinions about the value of organic marketing on Facebook. Keep an open mind, and be ready to try new things to find your own success.
Understand what the “experts” say about increasing the organic reach on Facebook and then see how understanding these concepts, may affect an organization’s marketing strategy.
ALSO SEE: How To Basics of Online Marketing
“Organic” reach means simply, not paying for the activity. If the content is so good or the Facebook post is interesting enough, it gets plenty of attention. The Facebook likes are off the charts. This is the goal for organic reach on Facebook. To tap into this “viral” energy is what creates “likes” and the referrals of a Facebook post to reach numbers that are in the stratosphere.
The Secret Formula
Is there a formula to this strategy? Yes, there is. However, the formula changes constantly based on the new, unique approaches that worked yesterday, but will not necessarily work again today if repeated in the same way. The goal is to be better, newer, and similar to what worked before, yet slightly different.
For our experts, we picked some very big, well-known people and organizations, as well as some lesser-known people and organizations who have established themselves as experts in Facebook “organic” marketing.
Who Are the Experts?
Because the topic of “Facebook Organic Marketing” is so popular, there are many who try to give an opinion about this subject. For our review, we wanted to find the best ones who gave real advice that was the most useful.
We were able to get advice from some of the best top experts and here is what they said:
The Top Strategies from Experts on the Best Organic Methods for Facebook
1. Neil Patel
Neil Patel noticed that the trend was that as the public stock price of Facebook stock went up the percentage of organic reach on Facebook went down.
Whereas, organic results on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) command up to 70% of the Internet click-through traffic, SearchEngineLand shows how tentative the traffic from Facebook really is.
Organic search is better when a listing appears on the top of the SERP (without having paid to be there), yet on Facebook, organic searches are limited intentionally to less than 6% of the Facebook traffic.
In other words, Facebook wants an advertiser to pay to reach Facebook users. Facebook is a private walled-in garden that grants access for advertisers to Facebook users, mostly to the advertisers that pay.
Neil Patel reported in December 2015, that the average Facebook page had an organic reach of about 6%. Facebook decides if a page shows up as a referral in the Facebook Newsfeeds based on hundreds of factors as reported by Marketing Land, including:
- Affinity – How relevant is the information to the user.
- Weight – What is the average response to the content?
- Decay – How current is the content.
- Relationship Settings – How Facebook users share content.
- Post Types – Photos and video posts get more attention.
- Identification as “spam” is seriously destructive to organic reach on Facebook.
Neil Patel notes that the timing of Facebook posts affects the organic reach. This is clear example of a counter-intuitive approach.
Posting During Off-Times
Facebook has increased usage in the evenings and on weekends. This comes from the normal patterns of human interaction. Organic Facebook methods rely on getting attention in times when there is less competition for attention. Commercial postings made during less popular times, in periods besides evenings and weekends, have a better chance of being noticed.
- Transparent posting – Show real people from the real company doing real things.
- Show your face – Personalize the Facebook postings by showing a photo of your real face.
- Ask questions about your post to encourage likes, shares, and comments.
- Respond to comments in a sincere and kind way (even to the “troll” style abusive comments).
- Use videos and images in the Facebook posts to get more attention.
Brandon tracked the Facebook activity since its inception. Facebook went commercial and basically “sold-out” to corporate sponsorship when it introduced its “branded” web pages in 2007. At first, Facebook allowed the branded web pages to receive “organic” traffic, without having to pay for it. Those “freebie” times were short-lived.
Soon after the launch of branded Facebook web pages, the money-making needs of the social media juggernaut kicked in and Facebook restricted the organic searches that showed commercially-branded web pages to a mere trickle of what they were before. For the most part, Facebook now makes commercial offerings pay to get Facebook traffic to their branded web pages.
After that, Facebook started to penalize “free traffic.” Every company that tried to spam links to get likes got the reverse results of what they wanted to achieve. If they were not banned outright from Facebook, their postings were severely limited in exposure.
Content is Still King
Brandon noticed that the Facebook algorithm responded positively when Facebook users were more engaged with the content posted on branded Facebook web pages. One significant factor to boost Facebook recognition was when any Facebook user spent a lot of time visiting the branded Facebook web page content or made repeat visits to the same branded web page.
This means that high quality content that has relevance for Facebook users, which posts on a branded Facebook web page, is really important.
Brandon recommends that commercial enterprises wanting to get more organic Facebook exposure should use the Facebook Insights feature, which is a free tool, offered by Facebook that gives helpful information about likes, visits, people, posts, and reach on Facebook.
Check the Success of the Competition
Brandon recommends using the software tools that are available to check the Facebook activities and the success of the competition. His favourite tool is Buzzsumo, followed by Quintly, Simply Measured, and Social Bakers.
Ishita says to improve organic results on Facebook requires:
- Tracking the traffic so you know what is actually happening (using Facebook Insights).
- Publish content that is “evergreen,” which means it stays relevant for a long time.
- Always post high quality content and make posts infrequently (the maximum is two per day and much better is two per month).
- Target your posts (only if you have more than twenty followers).
- Post at off-peak hours with content types (videos and photos) that users appreciate.
4. Douglas Karr
Douglas reported in January 2016 that Facebook organic reach dropped 49% in the past few years. This was an intentional effort created by Facebook to make commercial offerings pay for Facebook exposure.
Starting around 2007, Facebook put policies in place to both attract commercial enterprises with the Facebook “branded” pages and then subsequently charge them for exposure on Facebook.
Organic reach on Facebook is still possible in 2016, yet it is severely decreased from what it was before.
- Use photos and links if the branded webpage has less than 10,000 likes.
- Use videos in combination with links and photos, if the branded webpage has more than 10,000 but less than 100,000 likes.
- For over 100,000 likes, expect the stats to drop significantly.
Douglas confirms that user activity affects Facebook positioning in newsfeeds. When more users interact with branded content the chance of it appearing in a Facebook newsfeed increases. This is kind of like the cart leading the horse, in that organic popularity increases organic attention.
5. Ian Cleary
Ian says to simply give in to the commercial efforts made by Facebook to severely reduce organic results and start paying for advertising on Facebook.
However, Ian also suggests ways to make paid Facebook advertising campaigns extend organic reach on Facebook.
Here are his recommendations:
- Use the software tool called PostAcumen to analyze the organic reach on Facebook. This helps identify the images posted on Facebook that have the most impact.
- Use the software tool called ShareGrab to see what competitors are doing.
- Make posts for different target audiences and post them at different (off-peak) times.
- Go visual with brightly coloured photos and high quality videos.
Organic reach on Facebook used to be a “big” thing. It is now a much smaller thing. There is a lot to be said that is positive about getting organic results on Facebook, because those interactions are very valued. Organic results on Facebook are still important and by following the advice of these experts, it is possible to make some success with organic results from Facebook.
In our opinion, it is better to concentrate on paid advertising campaigns on Facebook with 94% of attention and give 4% of attention to organic results from Facebook. This is in alignment with what is happening right now.