A brief rundown of Organic Facebook Page reach:
- 2004: Facebook created by Mark Zuckerberg
- 2007: Reached 30 million registered users
- 2007: Launched Facebook Pages
- 2012: Business discovered organic Facebook Page reach was only around 16%
- 2014: Organic Facebook Page reach as low as 2%
- 2016: Facebook changes News Feed algorithm again leaving organic Facebook Page reach below 2% in some cases
So exactly what changes will be happening with Facebook in 2018?
- Posts from your friends, family and groups will rank even higher than public content in your News Feed
- You will see less content from businesses, brands, and media in the News Feed
- Business, brand and media content will be required to encourage meaningful interactions between people in order to make it onto News Feeds
- Page posts that generate conversations between friends will rank higher
- Facebook will predict which posts you might want to interact with and show these posts higher in the News Feed
How will this Facebook “Big Focus Area” for 2018 affect business Pages?
With the already abysmal numbers for organic reach, it is fairly safe to say that organic reach for business on Facebook is all but DEAD. This is not to say that you can’t continue trying for organic reach. However, to have any hope of reaching your target audience, you need to adhere to some strict guidelines.
First, DO NOT use “engagement bait.” Facebook first announced in December that it would begin penalizing posts using the engagement bait tactic to “goad people” into reacting to a post with likes, shares, etc. Furthermore, Facebook specifically mentioned in its recent announcement that it will continue to demote any posts utilizing this method.
Second, only post content that is designed specifically to generate conversation between people. Content that does not cause this effect will most likely never be seen beyond your Page wall. Simply getting someone to watch a video does not count as engagement in Facebook’s new algorithm. It needs to cause the viewer to engage in back and forth conversation within the comments.
One other option that you could attempt to keep your content in your followers’ News Feed. Simply inform them of the upcoming changes and encourage them to prioritize your Page to appear at the top of their News Feed. The average Facebook user might not be aware of the backend changes to Facebook’s algorithm. So don’t forget to give some kind of explanation as to why you are making this suggestion. Let us follow this suggestion up with a warning that this is probably not an option that will work on any kind of large scale in the long term. However, we would be remiss not to at least mention it.
What does it boil down to for business marketing on Facebook?
Advertising dollars. This is not the first time we’ve mentioned this strategy. However, it is now critical for success. If you want your Page to rank in News Feed, you are going to need to shell out some money for paid promotions/advertising on Facebook. In an interview John Hegeman, a Facebook vice president, stated that advertising on the social network would be unaffected. However, there are many who disagree with this prediction. It stands to reason that if more people are advertising on the social network, then the price will probably ultimately reflect demand.
Mark Zuckerberg specifically stated in his announcement post that, “[I] believe that [it] will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.” Yes, Facebook is a business, a multi-billion dollar business. According to Bloomberg’s Index, Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth is over $74 billion dollars which makes him the fifth richest person in the world. You don’t get to this status by making decisions that are bad for business. Facebook has been strategic in its planning and implementation of the changes leading up to this point over the years.
The social networking site now, seemingly, holds all the cards. They have the audience and the power to control EXACTLY what is put in front of that audience. And now…you will pretty much have to pay for the privilege of being seen. This strategy has allowed them to appear both, as a user friendly networking site, while still raking in billions in advertising dollars.
Should you abandon your Facebook Page marketing efforts? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
In order to engage and encourage meaningful social interaction (the stated ultimate goal of Facebook,) content is going to require strategic thought, planning, and a solid execution. The days of having success by simply filling your Page with silly quips, encouraging quotes, and the like, are over. You need to take the time to create helpful, meaningful and purposeful content with the intent to engage your audience.
Facebook has stated in the past that it puts high value video content. They reiterated this sentiment in their latest announcement. They even went as far as saying that live videos get on average six times as much engagement as regular videos. So it stands to reason that high priority needs to be put on pursuing ways to create quality video content that stimulates interaction between people, with a heavy emphasis on live video.