Facebook Reach Update: How You Can Beat It
At the end of last year, social media managers were met with an unpleasant shock: the way that Facebook Pages performed was about to change - in a big way. This latest update by Facebook has caused a major disruption across the social media community.
For pages in particular, these changes will make it increasingly harder to reach as many people as you could before this change if you are only using an organic strategy (and no ads.) Don’t worry! We have some tips on how you can survive these changes.
So, what has actually changed?
At the beginning of the year, Facebook announced changes to the way that the platform’s News Feed would display posts, giving priority to posts from “friends” that a user had connected with, followed by ads from business pages, eventually followed by organic posts from business pages. With only so much “real estate” space available on the News Feed, it’s easy to see how this could become problematic.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg justified the change by saying that the update will impact “wellbeing” and will in turn make users “less lonely”. We can understand this, Facebook is a social platform after all, but what exactly does this mean if you are a business operating a Page?
In short, your overall organic post reach is set to decrease.
This is bad news for businesses that use Facebook as a primary marketing and engagement tool. It is even worse news for those who have gained a following purely through organic methods. With the preferential treatment going towards pages that use ads, to put it bluntly, you will now have to put your hand in your pocket to assure visibility.
With the impending updates from Facebook on their way, business page users need to be on top of their strategy and for many, this may involve using a completely different approach entirely.
Mark Zuckerberg made these changes to ‘help people stay connected and bring us closer together’ so, how can we do this as a business page?
Using the tool as a communication outlet between a business and a consumer rather than a selling platform has its challenges: firstly, creating this bond between the two groups and then actually maintaining this bond.
Worried about what to do next? Try out our ideas below:
Create more engaging content
Experimenting with your content is one of the most enjoyable parts of social media marketing!
Statistics show that on average, there is 135% more engagement from a video than from an image on Facebook. Live streaming in particular encourages more conversation amongst users with the reactions on these videos being instant creating a bigger buzz around your content.
Over 100 million hours of video is watched on Facebook every single day so you would be silly to step over this in favour of less engaging content! Big brands advertising beauty, fitness and holiday products are undoubtedly the biggest hits with regard to video content being watched online and particularly on Facebook, so finding ways to incorporate this into your social media strategy can also see your content reach new heights!
Encourage user participation
If things weren’t stressful enough for publishers, days before the major News Feed change, Facebook announced an update targeting “engagement baiting”.
The new update does not allow for ‘engagement baiting’ tactics to be used, which means you have to avoid the following on your page or risk a penalty:
- Tag Baiting - asking users to tag their friends or family in your post comments
- Comment Baiting - asking users to comment a certain phrase, numbers or emojis
- Share Baiting - encouraging users to share your posts with their followers
- Vote Baiting - encouraging users to vote on your posts using reactions, comments or shares
These tactics that you may previously have relied on to grow your reach and engagement are now seen as a ‘spammy’ way to attract users to your page by Facebook, and will immediately devalue your posts in the news feed.
So you then have to get creative with your content!
Can you jump on the back of an event that is coming up? For example, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day or even sporting events such as Wimbledon, can you create something fun that ties in with the event AND your business?
‘What do you think of…’ or ‘How do you feel about…’ are the type of questions that encourage users to share their opinions with you, so why not start also including them within your content planning sessions? Interaction between the user and your brand can then be formed organically simply from encouraging conversation amongst your following.
Creating a Social Media Content Calendar is an effective way of keeping topical and planning ahead for events that could help to encourage user engagement. It’s often hard to think of content on the spot, so doing this will allow you to think of ideas weeks before you actually need them! You also don’t need to just use content once. Producing a longer style blog or article will maybe take you longer to produce, but ultimately will benefit you in the long run when you are running low on ideas.
Grow your community
Do you get a lot of people commenting on your posts? If so, the best way to build a strong relationship with your loyal follower base is to comment back! Share photos or videos that they have shared on your page. Not only does this give you some great content, it will also encourage them to share the love with their followers too as well as giving them a little confidence boost in the process!
Creating a user generated campaign with the sole purpose of encouraging engagement from your followers is a tactic that tends to work well across the board. Do you remember the Ice Bucket Challenge that surfaced in 2014? The campaign encouraged people to support the ALS charity by pouring a bucket of freezing cold water over their head and uploading the video to Facebook. The campaign not only raised a significant amount of money for the charity but it also reached the likes of former United States President Barack Obama!.
Create a Facebook Group
Creating a Facebook group could be the loophole that you are looking for to beat the Page reach update. Since these new changes prioritise content that is meaningful to the user, a Facebook Group is the perfect platform for users to create and engage in content that is interesting to them.
If the discussions within the group achieve a significant amount of engagement, they can in fact also appear on your news feed, heightening your post visibility without you really having to do anything!
Over one billion people are are already part of a Facebook Group which can make this a very meaningful and lucrative choice for business pages. Within a group format, members can share their expert knowledge with people that have a similar interest to them, therefore heightening their overall positive experience with your brand.
Consider other social media channels
There is life beyond Facebook and although it may be the biggest player, have you thought about focusing on other social media channels as part of your marketing strategy? Bearing in mind that the clue is in the title ‘social’ media, it’s equally as important to be active on these channels.
Having a presence on a large number of social media platforms doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality of content that you are producing will be of a high standard, in fact it could actually mean quite the opposite! The number of social media channels can depend on your industry, for example, if you are a fashion retailer, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, could potentially work for you whereas, if you run a business in the finance sector, Twitter and LinkedIn are sure to be safer bets.
Getting on board with the Reach Update
Looking in from the outside, it can be easy to think that social media is an ‘quick win’ in terms of generating interest and engagement for your brand, but as these updates show there is a lot for businesses to think about when it comes to keeping your audience engaged. We need to remember that the reason for this change is to benefit the user experience on the channel, so if your main focus is not to do this, is it time to possibly reevaluate your goals?
Need some expert tips on how you can make the Facebook Reach update work for you? Get in touch with us today!