All you need is one business facebook page – to reach your customers.
The natural audience reach of Facebook can be a very lucrative source of customers. However, Facebook is changing and the natural reach of a business page is declining in direct response to these changes.
Social media, as a whole, is walking a tightrope between user experience and engagement, as well as shareholder investment returns. It is a thin line to balance on and they do not always get it right.
Paid Facebook marketing is taking priority and that is as expected – you will not pay for a service if you can get it free. However, this increase and prevalence of paid marketing is driving down the natural reach and the value of the unpaid Facebook marketing strategy.
This is a blow to companies and brands who have invested large amounts of time and money in the creation and development of a fan-based community on Facebook.
You can split the factors affecting your business Facebook page into two categories – internal factors, over which you have control over like your page content and the way you manage your Facebook page; and external factors, over which you have little to no control, such as search algorithms and policies.
Internal Factors – How You Manage Your Facebook Page
Just as there are internal factors that affect blogging, your facebook page is also vulnerable to internal factors. Of course you know that when you start a blog, you've to develop a strategy, which oftentimes will not work out initially – maybe because you've no credibility or influence yet.
Social media marketing is not an exception. If you want to kickstart your success, the following are areas of facebook marketing that you can control, adapt and change for the improvement of user experience and return on investment.
Use the following to manage your Facebook page in a manner that will maximize organic reach. These factors will also help to inform you of where you need to focus on any paid advertising.
1. Posting time
The time of day when you post affects the number of people who see it and the engagement it brings. The following graph shows user engagement in comparison to the number of people online who see your posts.
As you can see, the number fans online peaks at lunch and early afternoon on most days.
However, the engagement of likes, comments and shares tend to peak for posts seen early in the morning or in the evening.
This reflects the amount of time people have to interact with their Facebook news feed. Many people check their news feed at lunch time.
However, they do not have the time or inclination to share or comment until they have more time, in the mornings, evenings or at the weekends as shown below:
You can use the tools available to manage your Facebook page and track the specific user trends of your fan base to maximize your exposure and engagement quotient.
If you have the data, you can create a posting schedule to improve your exposure and it will improve your Facebook management.
Of course, if your business has global reach, you cannot reach everyone at the best time of day. So, choose your post time with the majority of your followers’ timezone in mind.
2. Post content
The content you choose to post is another factor that could be affecting the success of your marketing strategy on Facebook. While Facebook monitors the type of things you post in order to rank them, you should also monitor the engagement you receive from each type of post.
Visual engagement is the first factor about which you need to think. Any post that is ‘text only’, automatically loses the interest of your followers.
If you wish to post an article of informative piece, add a visually stimulating picture, which will grab attention of your followers.
Creating a post from a Facebook business page is different from posting a personal Facebook status update. Personal status updates have a higher ranking on your followers’ newsfeeds than any business post – paid or unpaid.
In addition, the content of your Facebook page and the posts you promote should stick the 80%–20% rule – 80% content of interest to your followers and only 20% advertising. Flooding your followers’ newsfeeds with ads will ensure you to lose fans.
3. Change in viewer’s preferences
Keeping up with your followers is vital to the success of your Facebook management. The change in viewer preferences for your post types is what will affect your market interest over the course of time. Your followers grow older, better informed in the marketplace and their interests alter.
The posts that attracted the twenty-something crowd may no longer appeal to the thirty-something crowd that they have become.
However, if you want to keep your oldest followers and gain the new twenty-something, you need to keep some of the older techniques and introduce new ones.
You do not just want to address the changes in your target demographic; you also need to think about changing trends.
There are tools available on Facebook to keep abreast of the changes in demographics, viewing behavior and engagement. Keep up to date or your Facebook business page will fail.
4. Interaction with followers
As Facebook began as, and still is, a social media platform, the ‘social’ part of that description still holds true.
People trust other people better than they trust a faceless brand. No one in a company has the time or inclination to spend all of their time on Facebook, create posts and field questions (however, some larger companies have an entire department dedicated to just that).
Therefore, you need to manage your interaction with your followers at a time convenient to them and you.
Failing to interact with your followers can result in ‘un-following’ of your Facebook page and loss of engagement. Losing engagement with your followers leads to a loss of exposure to their growing circle of friends and family.
You do not just lose one follower – you lose the potential of their entire circle. Managing your interaction is a major influence on how you manage your Facebook page.
5. The business’ target demographic, genre and purpose
The type of business you are promoting with your Facebook page may be at risk of losing engagement on the Facebook platform. In addition, the demographic you target may be a waning force on Facebook.
While organic reach has declined globally, there is interesting information available showing that the type of business has an effect on whether they lose, gain or maintain their reach on Facebook.
Agorapulse.com has a nifty little gadget for calculating reach and has done a comparison of the types of business losing, gaining and maintaining their reach on Facebook.
It appears that the purely retail businesses are the ones losing the most reach and those for services, media and celebrity fan pages are those gaining ground. For a more detailed analysis, you need to read the article linked above.
External Factors – How Facebook Manages Your Business Page
The following are ways in which the Facebook management teams manage and display your page information to its users. You can work around some of them. However, others are consequences of the changing face of Facebook marketing.
6. Decline in ‘organic reach’
The organic reach of Facebook business pages has decreased across the web with paid advertising and changes in the algorithm Facebook uses to populate news feeds. It makes organic reach more difficult.
However, Facebook is following in Google’s path of rewarding deep content value and penalizing obvious ad fillers.
In the same way that it used to be very easy to manipulate search engines with keyword stuffing and link farming before the changes to their algorithms, it was just as easy to manipulate Facebook.
Hence, the changes made to Facebook’s algorithm, not only enhanced the exposure of their paying customers, but also enhanced the user experience while penalizing ad spamming.
Three to four years ago, businesses were able to reach 16-20% (on average) of their followers, with their posts. This percentage has decreased in recent years to approximately 6% or less.
This is not only because of changes to Facebook management. Every day, more businesses create a Facebook business page to work on their social media marketing strategy.
Everyday people like more businesses. The more business pages liked by an individual means the less of their news feed is available to them.
Facebook prioritizes personal status update and posts to prevent any individual having a newsfeed filled with ads and business promotions.
In a simplified example, if you divide a person’s personal newsfeed between personal status updates and posts, sponsored posts and business pages liked, it may be something like so:
If this person likes three business pages, 5% of their news feed will be available for those businesses to show their posts, without creating a glut of business postings.
Over the course of time, this person may like many business pages and eventually reach 30 liked businesses.
That leaves only 0.5% of the person’s news feed available for each business page likes. It is a fact that the organic reach of a company reduces in line with the number of businesses liked by their followers.
7. Promotional Penalties
Facebook management records instances of hidden, deleted or irrelevant promotional posts, which appear in a news feed. Multiple duplicates of an ad or just too many ads will not only result in a user ‘unfollow’-ing your business page.
Facebook will also punish your business by decreasing your ranking, therefore lowering the potential for your post to appear in the newsfeed of your followers.
This follows the rule mentioned above about 80/20 split of your content – interaction with your content drives up the popularity and relevance of your post, which is increasing the potential for appearance on a news feed.
‘Click-bait’ posts may have been a great way to build your following numbers in the beginning.
However, now, Facebook penalize this practice because the new algorithm punishes ‘shallow’ content and elevates ‘deep’ content, along the same lines as the Google Hummingbird algorithm.
Move away from the ‘click bait’ and improve your content.
There is some discussion about the penalizing of posts containing the words ‘Like’, ‘Share’ and ‘Comment’.
These commands or requests as we call them, are part of creating interaction and engagement with your following and constitute the ‘call to action’ required to get people talking and interacting with you.
If you are a regular poster of ‘calls to action’, you may need to monitor their efficacy for the future; change your terminology if you notice a downward trend in your engagement from these posts.
8. Post bundling
In an attempt to reduce the amount of space taken up by any business poster, Facebook has taken to ‘bundling’ multiple post by the same page into micro posts listed under the most prominent and popular post.
This works as a method of allowing multiple posts by the same source appear on a newsfeed.
Nevertheless, you may be missing the visibility of your posts if Facebook ‘bundles’ your posts a long way down the newsfeed.
Post bundling can have both a positive and a negative effect on your marketing strategy on Facebook.
It can maximize exposure to your product, service or website with multiple information sources in one place. However, bundling the data together can also reduce the chances of your followers seeing the post.
8. Old content repetition and duplication
Due to the way in which the Facebook newsfeed algorithm works, the newsfeed recycles popular content and posts based on popularity.
Facebook opens, by default, on ‘Top Stories’ – the popular posts and those with numerous recent comments that appear closer to the top.
Replication of this content causes a shift of new business content even further down the newsfeed.
The way to combat this is to encourage business and friends to comment, share and like your content to increase its popularity. On Facebook, you have a de facto mailing list of contacts; you do not need to post on their newsfeed to reach them.
9. Penalty for not paying
Have you noticed that when you have a popular post, Facebook ‘suggests’ you pay for an ad to further increase your viewer audience, and if you ignore the suggestion then your following posts gets very low viewer rates?
It is a common problem, especially with small businesses with little or no advertising budget trying to build their client base.
This form of penalty is one that small businesses and nonprofit organizations commonly report, rather than larger businesses who already partake of Facebook advertising.
If Facebook used humans to control the rank of posts and ads made by businesses, people would think it as petty; however, even smaller companies, which use paid ads sparingly, have reported the same issue.
It all comes down to the algorithm Facebook created to benefit both sides – their customer base and their shareholders.
These factors all influence the viability and success of a Facebook marketing strategy. No, you cannot change the way in which Facebook manages your page. Also, short of changing
Facebook advertising policy, you cannot avoid the fact that Facebook will encourage you to pay for your company’s exposure.
Facebook is a business, similar to the one you promote on their social media platform; the primary intent for both of you is to make a profit.
It is a fact that we may all have to consider the possibility of paying to market on Facebook. However, it is also a fact that while individual users do not want their news feeds filling with sponsored and ‘suggested’ ads and posts.
They still want information from the businesses they like. Facebook may end up failing their users by pushing too much advertising.
If Facebook loses a significant number of users, advertisers will move to the next best social media platform. Therefore, moderation in all things – Facebook would be wise to heed those words.
About Andy Thompson – She has been a freelance writer for a long while. Her passion in writing is her main drive in crafting articles that are engaging, informative, and meaningful. Her partnership with TroopSocial has given her a whole new opportunity to take writing to a whole new level.