Have you noticed that fewer people are seeing your posts lately? It’s not just you. And you’re not imagining things. It’s part of new changes in the way Facebook treats posts on business pages. They’ve been rolling these out over the past several months. During that time, the reach you can expect for any given post on your Facebook page has probably progressively declined.
Facebook has recently started throttling the amount of reach your posts from Pages get. The main claim is that it’s in the name of “relevance” and a healthy feed. And there’s something to that. As we all know, Facebook and every other mode of sharing on the web is awash with information and posts, and there has to be some kind of filtering. Facebook is tightening its filter, putting a premium on “relevance”, timeliness, and a bunch of other factors in their complicated and evolving secret sauce algorithm. They want to show their users what they think they want to see, but they don’t explain how that decision is made.
But relevance is by no means the whole story. Facebook wants you to pay to get your posts in front of more eyeballs. It’s that simple. That blue Boost Post button is now much more important.
It’s no secret that Facebook is in it for the money. We like to think that Google and Facebook and Twitter, etc, exist to serve the greater good. And that might have been true at one point. But once they get big enough to have shareholders, they have a responsibility to try to turn a profit.
One of the ways Facebook is tackling that problem is by targeting brands and businesses using Facebook pages.
There are always complaints, of course, when someone starts charging for something that was once free. A lot of people, brands, and businesses spent a lot effort and sometimes a lot of money building up their Facebook fan base. And suddenly the value of that fan base has been drastically reduced. Where you might once have organically been reaching 20 or 30 percent of your users with any given post, you now might be only getting single digits organically.
That’s not a hard lock, of course. I’ve found that on my page my initial reach in the first week or so typically plateaus at around 2 percent of my total number of fans. But over following weeks and months, the reach gradually ticks up. That’s not much good if your posts are time sensitive, but if your posts aren’t, then it’s welcome traffic.
There are really two things you can do:
- Hit the “relevance” jackpot. It’s still certainly possible to go viral on Facebook, and there are even some kinds of pages that have benefited from the new tightening of the filters. But that’s only a tiny portion of posts. And it’s a roll of the dice.
Pay with the “Boost Post” option. You can pay $5 or you can pay hundreds of dollars. You can specify all sorts of criteria for who you want to try to reach. And you can get an estimate of how many users you might expect to reach for a certain dollar amount investment. In the real world, that’s called advertising. Your post is the ad. You can expect to reach many times the total number of fans you have.
There is, of course, a third option: recalibrate your expectations and accept that reaching 1 to 2 percent of your fans is the new reality. And perhaps use it as an opportunity to take a look at where your time and effort is best spent in reach your fans and customers on social media.