Improving Organic Reach on Social Media
Updated: Jan 14
Many influencers and prominent businesses on social media find that over time, as they reduce paid ad-spending for their platform, their reach significantly declines. Organic reach refers to the amount of visibility a profile gains freely based on its content.
Facebook in particular has seen a significant decline in organic reach, about 4.2% since 2015. The business claims that organic reach declines for one of two reasons: the increased development and posting of content by people and businesses worldwide, and algorithms designed to give users the most personalized, relevant content possible. According to its website, Facebook is not the only platform to experience this phenomenon. Online search engines, for example, provide free traffic to businesses and websites when they are initially launched. As the search engine publicizes these results, people and businesses visit these platforms, and as the website grows in popularity it is more likely to rank highly in search results. This, in turn, causes the search engines to work much harder to surface the most relevant and useful content, which results in diminished organic reach.
Nonetheless, organic content brings value to any social media page. Being active on social media means staying ahead of the curve to produce relevant content that pertains to your brand. Facebook comments that pages that publish such content — “content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives” — is crucial to maintaining organic reach. However, anticipating organic reach can be difficult, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals.
There are many different strategies that can be utilized in order to maximize organic reach across social media platforms. Maxwell Gollin, a content marketing strategist at Falcon.io, a platform for social media marketing, offers insight as to how these strategies can impact business results.
It seems to be common knowledge that posting photos are a crucial way to attract followers on social media. However, the quality of the visual content is almost more important than the image itself. Brands need to be developing visuals that fit into the brand aesthetic, are high-quality, and that will stand out among the clutter. Posting poor content will only tarnish a brand’s reputation and lower its reputability as a business.
The simplest strategy involves playing around with different content to see which are most successful. For example, if your content is primarily photos and written posts, try developing video content to see if it generates better reach. Engaging followers through a poll or Q&A is another strategy that can be used to generate more visibility. Though there are no facts to support this claim, many social media marketers believe that these platforms prioritize new formats of content in a news feed, thereby improving organic reach.
Live video content has also been proven to enhance organic reach. Going live creates a unique experience for the viewers in which there is a sort of private community of entertainment and engagement. Algorithms tend to prioritize content that creates more meaningful interaction, and live videos are the closest thing to a face-to-face interaction that can be obtained. Live videos of stagnant content will not receive the same results; posting graphic-only polls do not generate the same effect. Facebook in particular commented that live videos receive six times as many interactions as regular video content, so we highly recommend utilizing this strategy.
As with anything else in life, timing and strategy are key. Brands should utilize the analytics provided on business accounts to determine the most opportune time to post content. Facebook offers insight as to when followers tend to be online, and businesses can access days and times that generate the most traffic in the Page Insights tab under the Posts section. Posting during peak times can mean more competition, so it is recommended that brands try different times around peak intervals in order to see what brings the most promising results. Gollin states that for Facebook specifically, brands see the most reach and engagement Wednesday through Friday from 12 PM to 4 PM. Once a business is able to determine when its content will generate the most traffic, that business must also determine the appropriate frequency for releasing its content. Being overbearing is likely to annoy followers, but it is crucial to engage with them as much as possible in order to remain at the forefront of your industry. Businesses need to run a series of tests for at least two weeks in order to gather data about their organic reach.
Remaining visible involves utilizing both paid and organic advertising. A brand must be able to produce interactive and engaging content that is relevant to their brand while simultaneously monitoring and interacting with other accounts and their content. Innovation is one of the most important ways to remain relevant. Take risks, utilize resources, and try different methods in order to find what methods best promote your brand and expand your organic reach.