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In the past, a business could increase per post reach on Facebook simply by creating unique and engaging quality content. That has now changed and, for the most part, ads are the only real posts creating any significant reach. Organic posts on Facebook pages have seen reach drop into the 1-2 percent range, down from 12+ just 2 short years ago. Since Facebook’s IPO, and the subsequent emphasis on Facebook ads and Sponsored Posts, businesses and brands have been forced to look at Facebook as part of their ad budget, not simply employee time to create and post quality content.
Facebook has taken the stance that decreasing reach for pages is the compromise for monetization. It believes that allowing all of the brand/business content into a user’s newsfeed crowds out the content that users want to see – namely posts from family and friends. Decreasing reach of organic content from businesses allows Facebook to substitute that content with Sponsored Posts, while keeping the business to personal content ratio in a user’s newsfeed relatively the same.
There have been some users, however, that have rallied around the movement that Facebook should allow them to control what (and who) they see content from. They do not wish to have Facebook do the censoring for them through a secret algorithm. Facebook did integrate a way for consumers to ensure they can see a Page’s content. However, it was a relatively intricate process that normal Facebook users didn’t embrace, despite many Facebook page’s efforts to get them to do so.
Facebook is reportedly now taking the next step towards allowing users to dictate what content they see. A recent Advertising Age article, shared Facebook’s plans to add a feature they’ve named their “news feed monitor and control tool.” This tool apparently allows a user to view who they are seeing the most content from. They can then dial down the number of posts they see from a given friend or brand, as opposed to completely hiding them. Facebook pages that fail to produce engaging quality content may see their reach decline even more because of this.
No matter what your page is seeing in regards to reach and engagement on Facebook right now, expect to see a further decline as consumers become aware of this tool and start to exercise control of what they allow into their newsfeeds. Business participation on Facebook will most likely become more challenging. It would seem that we will be forced to either join the “pay to play” environment that Facebook has become, or be happy with the crumbs that Facebook allows us.
The marketing purpose of social media is brand exposure. Content and engagement marketing rely upon two core ideas: businesses talking to consumers and consumers talking back. This real-time communication allows businesses to continuously poll their audience through content. They can then change marketing strategies in real-time, shifting the needle as quickly as customers’ interests change.
The only solid strategy left to produce increased reach, regardless of how many fans you have, is to create unique, relevant and interesting content that audiences want to see. At the same time decrease the continuous promotional activities many businesses practice. While this will not get you as much exposure as in the past on Facebook, it will at least stop your audience from tuning you out altogether!