Facebook-Newsfeed-Organic-Growth-social-mediaA provocative title to say the least, but what you are doing, or not doing for that matter, on Facebook can have a serious effect on your businesses marketing and promotion. Over the last six to twelve months we’ve seen a continual drop in the reach of posts. Where last year you could expect 15-20% of your audience to see your updates, now that number has dwindled to as low at 3%. Is this a conspiracy by Facebook to make you buy advertising? Definitely not.

Organic reach in Facebook is declining. In a recent article by Brian Boland, the Head of Facebook’s Ads Products marketing team, the reason is simple: there continues to be more and more content produced daily. The average Facebook user has the potential of seeing 1500+ stories a year. At that rate the newsfeed would stream buy so fast, you’d hardly absorb that all. In order to keep the delivery of content manageable, Facebook will deliver about 300 stories a day to your newsfeed. Using sophisticated algorithms based your your likes, interactions, and profile; Facebook tries to generate a newsfeed experience that similar to your interests.

Businesses see these declining numbers in post reach and assume that their message isn’t getting out. But that is far from the truth. Viewership is based on engagement, so the people seeing your messages are the ones most likely to act on it. The key for successful Facebook marketing and promotion is to get beyond those numbers to reach new faces. Don’t let the frustration of declining reach sabotage your efforts, here’s five tips to grow your reach, all without spending a dime on advertising.

Add to and update your About Information Tab

Have your checked your About tab recently? Is the information up to date? It’s amazing how many businesses have outdated hours of operations, old phone numbers, bad email and website addresses, and incomplete information in their About tab. Next to a dynamic cover image, this is where you get to tell your story to your potential customers. Take a look and get it filled out.

Post more often

How often is enough to post on Facebook: Three times a week? Six times a day? Once a month? The answer is yes. Your frequency should be determined by your sales cycle. If you operate a retail space or restaurant with high product turnover and frequent specials, you can post once to multiple times a day. Otherwise consider three to five times a week as adequate. Remember, since organic reach per post is lower, more posts will increase your aggregate reach. Just don’t post all at once, but stagger posts through the day to increase their effectiveness.

Time your posts

Which brings me to my next point. Use the Facebook scheduling feature to time your posts out. Posting at 6am or 10pm is probably not doing your organic reach very much. So instead of putting three posts out at 6am, why not use the schedule feature to stagger them throughout the day. When’s the best time of day to post? Go to your Facebook Insights and click on the Posts tab, you’ll see a great bar chart of reach based on time of day. Time your posts to hit those peaks to reach more people.

Stop begging for likes

How many times have you seen the phrase “Please LIKE and SHARE this post”? Did you know that repeatedly asking for likes can actually hurt your organic reach. Facebook analyzes your content and repeated use of the Like and Share phrase will reduce your post’s effectiveness. If the post is relevant and engaging, the likes and the shares will naturally follow.

Don’t rely on automation or third party apps

The newest tweak to the Facebook newsfeed algorithm is to reduce the reach of posts that were automatically generated by third party apps. There is often very little engaging content contained in these posts, so the newsfeed suppresses their delivery. Automation is not very personal, so you’ll receive little benefit in building your business by using it.

Bonus: Use the strategic boost

My first five tips are all free ways to increase your organic reach. But the bonus six tip does cost a bit of money. Use the Boost feature to give your post more reach.  Paying for posts can be an extremely effective way of increasing your reach, but it also can become quite costly if you don’t set goals and budget accordingly. But all it takes is $5 to break out ahead of the rest of the noise. If you are having a special or promotion, and you want guaranteed viewership, then it’s worth spending the money.

As other businesses are pulling away from Facebook promotion, now’s your chance to fill that void with relevant content.  Make an effort to post at least once a day, and use the scheduling feature to maximize your post’s effectiveness. Do you have a favorite tip to increase organic views? Why not share it in the comments below.