See, Feel, Associate & Share – Fighting the fall in Facebook Organic Reach

Recently, we received more news that Facebook was going to be reducing the organic reach of brand posts with the latest data showing that it’s around 6%. Facebook says this is down to “more competition, driven by more sharing” as every brand and their mother develops more and more content.


With the average user being exposed to 1500 stories a day – that’s a lot to sift through and it’s easy to get lost in the noise – you’ve got to think, how many of these are brand stories, are they good quality, how many are being engaged with? Understandably, the number of brand stories that actually get good results plummets.

Many brands are still looking at that ‘Likes’ number as if it’s a golden goose that’ll lay you some big sales/brand equity eggs – ‘Look at our Likes Mr CEO, aren’t we popular, doesn’t this demonstrate ROI?’ No. No it does not – using ‘Likes’ as a metric to show social media strategy success is just bad practice.

Take a population of 100 likes, how many are active accounts? How many still actively engage with your brand? How many are your target market? How many liked you once and now completely tune you out?  Engagement and, as Jay Baer calls it, Youtility – that’s what you should be looking at – providing value, helping, being human.

Don’t get me wrong, having a million likes means that there is a higher probability that there is a proportion of your active target market in that population but what you’re aiming for is more than reach, more than a passive ‘oh that’s quite cool, *Like*’. You’re looking for the ‘That’s awesome, XX will love that’ – emotion, sharing, engagement – it’s not enough to get an impression, you want the consumer to see, feel, associate and share. So, to the tips –

  1. Whether it’s content you’ve produced or you’re sharing something you’ve seen, ask the questions, ‘What value does this provide to me?’, ‘Does it elicit an emotional response, ‘How does it make me feel about the brand?’ ‘Is it even that interesting?’. If you can honestly answer that you’re interested in it, it makes you feel something, you think it would be enjoyed by someone in your social graph then by all means, share it!

  2.  Ratios! Nobody wants to see endless self-serving, shameless marketing posts. The majority of your posts should be of things your community finds interesting – THEN you can share something you’ve created or a self-server. Provide value – people will be interested in what you have to say.

  3. Whatever you put out there needs to be congruent and associated with your brand. The worst thing you can do is this sort of post ‘Like if you love Fridays’, ‘Tag someone who does this’ – you might get a hell of a lot of shares, you might get a hell of a lot of likes – but it’s disconnected from the brand and when you’re trying to get people interested and talking about your brand, it’s unproductive. Remember that ‘First Kiss’ video that went viral earlier this month? It was great, I shared it with my friends because I thought it was cute – I didn’t know until I read a marketing analysis that it was for a clothing company – I also can’t remember the name of the brand now off the top of my head. It ticked so many boxes but just missed out – I saw, I felt, I shared but I didn’t associate.

  4. Interact & provide Youtility – be active on your branded page, check out your competitors’ pages, ingratiate yourself with communities related to your product and interact with the people there – if they have a problem, solve it for them – no marketing message, just help.

  5. The Little Things – time your audience are active, where they are in the world (you might need to post multiple times/repurpose to target different timezones), what kind of post performs best – photos, videos, articles, competitions etc

  6. PAY* – Would you be surprised if the traditional media started saying you could have advertising slots for free? Of course you would – so why do we expect social media to be any different? It’s not a special case! With organic reach falling, astute marketers will need to pay to target their audience. This isn’t new – it’s targeting, positioning and interacting. One of the cool things about Facebook’ ad formats is the ability to retarget ads at people who have visited your website/are on your email list and EVEN people who follow your competitor pages.

*Small caveat – it’s not the be all and end all as consumers have trained their brains to tune ads out – an overt marketing message on social networks can throw up the consumer’ defences (it’s why we’re seeing the rapid rise of native advertising and the Buzzfeed format). If you go down the paid route, apply basic marketing principles, get creative and simply, BE EXCELLENT (easy, right?)

As our newsfeeds become endlessly clogged and Facebook tries its best to provide a better user experience and errs towards advertising, only the best content is going to shine through – this is the aim for all brands and should be your aim. It’s not new or special – it’s just understanding who your target market are and what they like.

Summed up:

  1. Ask questions of your content and posts – empathise with your consumers and understand what interests them, what are their emotional drivers?

  2. Content-wise – See, Feel, Associate & Share – it’s not a process but it is a checklist, will your community do this?

  3. Interact & provide Youtility

  4. The little things – timing, location, type

  5. Pay & retarget

Further Reading:

http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/disciplines/social-media/your-facebook-pages-organic-reach-has-been-desecrated-so-stop-chasing-likes/4009844.article

http://blog.bufferapp.com/science-of-emotion-in-marketing

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