I don’t care if the reach of your page is down and neither does Facebook!

There is always a lot of talk about Facebook but articles about changes that kicked in early in December last year seem to keep coming back and it’s starting to get on my wick! So before I read yet another article bitching about reach and my head explodes, I need to have a bit of rant to get it out of my system.

This post isn’t just a rant, I hope it can be helpful. But first…

A Facebook reach rant

I don’t care if the reach of your page is down and neither does Facebook. Why should it? If an ant where to complain it didn’t like the crumbs that fell from the table, would the table care?

If you want to promote your product/cause/brand on Facebook then it is your job to make it work. Complaining about your falling reach just means you are failing to adapt to changes in Facebook’s algorithm. In other words, you’re not doing your job properly. So, ask yourself:

  • Are you paying attention to what actually works on Facebook?
  • Are you keeping an eye on the moves Facebook is making and what it is saying about the news feed?
  • Have you figured out how to create content that people connect with?

End of rant.

Focus on engagement not reach

There is no reason a Facebook page cannot deliver your marketing objectives. Take a look at this graph

Facebook reach graph

Changes in the newsfeed are not stopping people seeing your content. Your content is

I looked into this because what I was seeing results that where not matching up with the mega-moaning of many, many, many articles about Facebook. Which has led me to the conclusion that those bitching about reach, aren’t using Facebook properly. To start with they care too much about the wrong metric – reach is a pretty meaningless because it doesn’t tell you very much. Engagement though (likes, comments and shares)  is something that you can learn from.

I believe the pretty steady reach shown in my graph above – generally trending upwards –  is because we focused on analysis of what got the most engagement. It is engagement that drives reach.

Find content that works

This is pretty simple. Click into Facebook insights, click on the “Posts” tab, highlight likes, comments and shares in the drop down and then rank the posts be engagement. Like this:

Facebook Insights

Use insights to learn what your audience engages with most

What do you see? When I did this I found that the posts with the most engagement fell into three or four broad categories:

  1. Quotes and messages about our campaign as an image
  2. Celebrity quotes and their pictures – thanks Hugh!
  3. Compelling stories about every day people (with a photo)
  4. Genuine news, like when Stephen Hawking wrote about his support for assisted dying

From this point on we focussed on quotes and stories presented visually.

We also looked at the length of the copy we used (shorter is better) and the best time to post (7pm working well). Lots of this was broadly in line with what people have been saying for ages – see How to Get More Likes, Comments and Shares on Facebook from June 2012.

“Only promote awesome”

Only once we were happy with our organic performance did we looking into boosting posts with a bit of spend and promoted stories.  Working out what to promote was pretty simple, as John Haydon puts it, we only promote awesome (see tip 10).

But we are not reliant on paid posts to reach our fan base. In fact some of our most popular content, was not promoted at all because it was more than 20% text – this post reach more than 5x our fanbase, but only because we focused engagement by asking people to share it.

Do your homework

None of what we did was especially original or ground breaking, it was just best practice.I knew it was best practice because I stayed in tune with what was working by reading around the subject. Here’s some stuff I’ve found helpful lately:

So, what did I miss?


About medavep
I work in the UK charity sector and sometimes I blog about fundraising, digital and consumer experience. Sometimes I just moan.

One Response to I don’t care if the reach of your page is down and neither does Facebook!

  1. Pingback: Why your charity should think twice before abandoning Facebook | medavep

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