Organic marketing on Facebook means it’s free to reach your target audience. In other words, no advertising costs.
Back in the ‘good old days’ of 2008 to 2013, we could reach as much as 300 percent of our audience. How was that even possible?
With the viral nature of the Facebook news feed, you could publish a piece of content on your business page and your audience would immediately start engaging with it and sharing. This would often result in your content taking flight and reaching a much wider audience than just those who liked your page.
Once Facebook became a public company in 2012, the organic reach started to plummet. In fact, this chart by Social@Ogilivy shows a 50 percent decline in organic reach in the five months between October 2013 to February 2014.
Even though that sharp decline happened five years ago, many small business owners are stuck marketing like it’s 2012. They see their business posts not getting as much reach and engagement, so they try publishing more content. Instead of posting once a day, they’ll post four times a day.
This strategy is terribly counterproductive.
Over-publishing content on Facebook can hurt your reach and even your reputation. Why? Because the algorithms are trained to seek out popular content and give it more reach. I’m sure you’ll agree, this is rather unfair.
How can you get more reach if you can’t get engagement?
The good news is there are proven methodologies. It is absolutely still possible to create very successful organic marketing on Facebook!
3 simple steps to successful organic marketing on Facebook
1. Focus on the ROI of each post.
Rather than increasing the volume of your Facebook posts, publish fewer pieces and focus on the ROI of each. Everything starts with exceptional content. Without compelling content, there is nothing with which your audience can engage. Without regular content on your Facebook page, it’s like you’re sending the message that you’re not really open for business and don’t care about your audience. And, of course you do. So, it is best to publish quality content 3 to 5 times per week. If you can manage it, go for once per day.
- TIP: Review your Facebook Page Insights and look back over the past year or so of posts. Which posts got the best reach? What format – video, pictures, links – resonates most with your audience? Is there a day and time to which your audience responds best?
2. Create and publish more video content.
The Facebook algorithms favor video content more than other posts. And, Facebook Live video broadcasts get six times the engagement of recorded video. You should publish a mix of both recorded and live videos. My recommended content ratio for 2019 is 70 percent video posts, 20 percent image posts and 10 percent link posts. Video and image posts can still include links and CTAs (calls-to-action). BuzzSumo recently analyzed over 777 million Facebook page posts and concluded that video is indeed the most engaging content type.
- TIP: Create a variety of videos in these categories:
- 15-second square videos for use on Facebook and Instagram. These are ideal to publish as a ‘teaser’ with a link to your blog posts and articles. They are also ideal for boosting and using as paid placement when you do allocate a budget. See examples on my Facebook page here and here.
- 15-second vertical videos for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Make sure you’re including Stories in your marketing mix for 2019. This is a rapidly growing area that small businesses need to understand.
- 3-minute videos in landscape or square for all social channels. Facebook considers videos over 3 minutes as ‘long form,’ which the platform needs in order to eventually place 15-second ad breaks.
- 18- to 25-minute episodic videos. These can be recorded or broadcast live and ideally published on the same day each week as part of a show format. Your show-style videos could be featured in the Facebook Watch platform as a result.
3. Encourage meaningful engagement.
This can include adding polls to your video content, asking your audience questions and incentivizing user-generated content. Invite your audience to submit suggestions, examples, case studies, etc. You could also periodically host a contest on your Facebook business page to generate an increase in engagement. The Facebook algorithms give significant priority to posts that generate engagement - reactions, comments and shares. The sweet spot is being able to spark conversation among your audience members. In other words, having your followers chat with one another.
- TIP: Link your Facebook business page to a group. Some of the most successful Facebook pages also offer a free group where members can connect more deeply. I offer several groups on my Facebook Page, two of which are public and free and another two are for paying course members. Another great example is the wildly popular Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk with over 4.5 million followers of the show and a linked group with over 458k members. Granted this is a celebrity show and companion group. However, there’s a great deal here from which small businesses can learn.
One more exciting component to add to the mix for your 2019 Facebook organic marketing plans: Watch Parties!
I am most excited about this feature. It first came out in July 2018 just to groups, but it is now available on personal profiles and business pages. The idea is you can host any public video, or a playlist of multiple videos, for your audience. It’s very different than sharing a video, because everyone watches the video at the same time, essentially as if it were live.
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