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Facebook has become a central part of life, the biggest social media site with over two billion users.  And when it comes to being in business, no matter how much of a pain in the butt the site is, you simply cannot ignore it.  It is impractical not to have a presence there and one of the best ways remains the Facebook Page.  But as Facebook Page reach declines, is it still a relevant option for businesses?  And can you really organically expand that reach?

Profile, page, groups

There are three main ways to establish a presence on Facebook.  There’s the profile, the thing everyone has.  My Dad can’t send a text message but he has a Facebook profile and he checks it periodically for pictures of the family.  You are your profile and it is ‘meant’ to be for your personal stuff, rather than for your business.  Although people do cross post.

The Facebook Page is the official presence of your business.  It is available for businesses, personalities, charities and a host of other options that aren’t just a normal person.  Sometimes people go for a Page if they aren’t a business or aren’t famous when they hit the ceiling for profile followers – 5000 – but otherwise, they tend to be for businesses, brands and such.

Lastly, there is the Facebook Group.  This can be based around any topic you like and gathers together people through their profiles.  I’m on course to launch my own group very soon, focused on getting serious about your blog.  Groups are very popular at the moment for bloggers and business owners but they don’t replace your Page, instead of adding to it.

Why create a Facebook Page?

So now we have established what makes a Page different to your personal profile or your group, the question then becomes why create a Facebook Page, especially with all the talk of declining Facebook Page reach?

First up, let’s highlight a few points that Jeff Goins makes in his piece on Why You Need a Facebook Page:

  • Your blog or business isn’t you, even if it uses your name
  • Not everyone you are friends with will be interested in your blog or business
  • You share content on your profile that you wouldn’t share relating to your business and vice versa

Not only that but when it comes to engaging on Facebook groups and reaching new people, it isn’t your profile that you share.  And some groups specifically stop you from sharing your group because they want to promote their own.  So, what do you share?  Your Facebook Page.

Marketing benefits

Another benefit of having a Facebook Page is that it cost nothing and can be used as a part of your marketing strategy, collecting leads and meeting potential customers.  There’s no fee involved with starting such a page and unless you pay for Facebook Ads, then it doesn’t cost you anything to run.  And you can use it as a way to collect leads, gain email sign-ups and share your blog content or products to people who have liked the page – and therefore are more likely to be interested.

The figures shown in the latest SelfGrowth social media survey show the importance of Facebook and therefore of pages – 96% of those spoken to said that they viewed Facebook as the most important platform for their marketing efforts.  It was important for visibility (86%), lead generation (80%), sales (47%), community building (41%) and credibility (37%).

Facebook page graphic

Facebook remains a key part of the marketing puzzle

Building an audience

By building an audience of interested people on your Facebook Page, then you can also have a targeted audience for your Facebook Ads if you start using them.  There’s more to it than just advertising to those who have liked your page but they are a good starting point and can be used to create custom audiences too.

Finally, you can learn more about your ‘ideal customer’ or whatever you want to call them by the insights that you get with an FB Page that you don’t get with a profile.  This is stuff like their gender, age, location and basic analytics that can be combined with other sources to help you see who is interested in your content and who you should market your products to.

What is organic reach on Facebook?

Now that we have established that it is worth having a Facebook Page, how do you measure the success of the content you add to it?  One of the most commonly discussed ways is called Facebook Page reach.  According to Facebook’s definition:

Impressions are the number of times a post from your Page is displayed. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, if someone sees a Page update in News Feed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it, that would count as 2 impressions.

Reach is the number of people who received impressions of a Page post. Reach might be less than impressions because one person can see multiple impressions. For example, if a person sees a Page update in News Feed and then sees that same update when a friend shares it, that would represent a reach count of one.

Reach is also broken down into three different types – organic, paid and total.  Organic reach is the total number of people who have seen your post without having run an ad while paid reach is the total number of people you have reached with a paid ad.  And, logically, total reach is the combination of the two – if you aren’t running an ad then your total reach will be the same as your organic reach.

What is post engagement and post clicks?

Just to further confuse the matter, there are also a couple of other metrics you can use to see how well your Page content is going – post engagement and clicks.

Post engagement is when users engage with your content as it has appeared on their timeline and helps to make your content visible to their friends.  Engagements include likes and shares as well as all the new engagements that Facebook has introduced such as ‘love’ and ‘sad’.  Comments are also counted as engagement so when someone leaves some message on the post, this is classed as a post engagement.

Clicks are probably the most misunderstood of the Facebook metrics – you would think that it meant the person had clicked a link in the post but this isn’t the case.  In fact, clicks refer to anything they have clicked on the post apart from commenting, liking or sharing.  So, this does include clicking a link, playing a video, expanding the post to read more or even clicking a link within the comments.  Clicks can be good (if they are link clicks for example) but can also be a bit off-putting as they are a touch vague.

How to increase Facebook Page reach

Still with me?  Cool.  On to the heart of the matter – increasing Facebook Page reach.  If you have had a page for a little while, you will have noticed that organic reach has bottomed out for even the biggest businesses.  People are proclaiming the death of the Facebook Page because the reach is useless without putting money behind it and not all small businesses can afford to do this.  So are they right?

Not according to a host of experts including CoSchedule, Social Media Examiner, Neil Patel and Search Engine Journal.  They all have tips to increase organic reach and here’s a selection that any blogger or small business owner can get involved with.

Make and post videos

It is no secret that video is the big thing on social media so making and posting videos are a proven way to increase your reach – by as much as 135% according to CoSchedule.  Your video doesn’t need to be a mini-movie or anything but it should be interesting, relevant and on topic so no crazy cat videos (sorry!) unless you write a lot about cats.

Graphic tips

I recently started an Instagram account and began making a week’s worth of content at a time.  Included in my schedule are a couple of quotes, a Tuesday Tips and a ‘did you know’ graphic, relating to the week’s blog post.  I decided that while I was making them I would resize them with Canva and make them suitable for Facebook and Twitter at the same time.  And this is a proven tactic – standalone graphics that offer a tip, quote or hint without an associated link.

Insider pictures

Pictures from your workspace, home office or anything else that creates a connection with your audience is another good way to connect with people on Facebook.  I will ruthlessly use my kittens (they are only 11 weeks at the moment) occasionally for this purpose as I’m often overrun by them while trying to work.  Stationary is a good idea for this, your desk, wall planner and the view from your home or work office are also good.  Bigger businesses even take workplace videos for a double effect.

Mention on other networks

There’s nothing wrong with mentioning your Facebook Page on other social media networks if it is relevant.  You can link to a post on your page, a video or other content to send someone from Twitter, for example, to the Facebook Page.  Don’t do it every time to avoid seeming a little desperate but if the situation seems right, go for it.

Republish the good stuff

There’s nothing wrong with republishing content that you have shared before, especially if it has been popular.  This can be anything from blog posts, videos or just graphics.  Lifespan on Facebook is variable but if you leave posts around 5-7 days you can be sure you aren’t going to irritate people by showing them the same content once more.  And there’s a good chance they missed it the first time around anyway!

The same but different

You can also change the graphics, images or even the headline of the post so the link might be the same but the post isn’t.  I currently follow CoSchedule’s idea of sharing a post on Facebook

  • At time of publishing – headline
  • 8 days later – quote from the post
  • 30 days later – snippet from the post

I also use their Old Post system to wait a month or two then re-share older content, especially if it was quite successful first time around:

  • 1 day – question regarding content
  • 12 days – humorous headline about the content
  • 20 days – benefit discussed in the content

Quality over quantity

There’s a lot of debate over how much you should share on your Facebook Page each day.  Some people say 1-2 posts, some say more and others say a lot more.  The best thing to do is simply try it out and see.  Spend a week or month publishing twice a day then another period publishing 5 times a day and look at the results.  Measuring results is the only sure way to see what works for you and your audience.

The time of the post is also a matter of hot debate and currently, people say the best time is around 3pm.  Of course, if everyone who reads that posts at 3pm you’ve got no chance of being seen!  So again, try and see what works.  Some recommend trying off-peak hours when people are relaxing after work and once the kids have gone to bed and might be scrolling through their newsfeed.  My hubby is like that – he’s on Facebook most around 8-10pm while he’s meant to be watching the TV shows I kept back for him.

So focus on quality content rather than worrying too much about quantity and try out different times.  Remember, Facebook wants to show your content to the right people but of the 3 million links shared every hour, most people only see around 300 each time they refresh their feed.  That’s a lot of competition for that online real estate.

Facebook Ads

Of course, Facebook wants you to put some money behind your Page and run their Ads – and it can be done for not a huge amount of money.  If you have a budget for advertising or want to try it out, you can advertise for as little as $5 a day and see some results.  Either do a lot of reading before you start or make sure that you don’t mind wasting a little money to find out what works.  And pay attention to areas such as headline writing on your ads and that you use branding images so that you are building brand awareness while doing it.

Conclusion

Everyone has a perfect solution to the problem of declining organic reach but the truth is, it is a bit of a mystery and only trial and error will see what works for you.  I’m trying those images and graphics without links at the moment to see if they get more interaction than the links posts.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

What kind of content have you found works best on your Page?  And have you had any success with Facebook Ads?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Why Facebook Page Reach Matters (and How to Expand It) Why Facebook Page Reach Matters (and How to Expand It)