Posting more often: Is that really the best way to get around lower organic reach?

The message from Facebook is clear: Pay to Play.

However, not all businesses have taken this message well. Some have left Facebook while others have tried creative methods to work around the lower organic reach.

Yes, average organic reach of a post has fallen. But the keyword here is average, which means that there will be exceptions. And I will share an example at the end of this post.

Before we get to that, I wanted to raise a point that Avtar, Marketing Manager at Circus Social, brought up saliently. You can read his article here (Trust me, this is worth your time).

 

Assumption: Reach is 2% instead of 16%, so posting 8 times will get you 16% (8 x 2%) reach.

One of the workarounds social media strategists have recommended is to post more often. At first sight, it makes sense. Since organic reach has fallen, to reach the same number of users, if not more, you have to post more often.

But Avtar argues that this is the very practice that got us to where we are in the first place – the average user receives far too many stories that can be published in their news feed at any one time.

So is posting more often really a practical solution? The crux of this problem lies in thinking about your social media goal: “are you trying to reach as many people as possible?” I don’t think so.

Actually, posting more often does not mean that you reach more people. The reason is post reach is calculated independently. Let’s take an example:

  1. Suppose your Page has 1000 fans and you post 3 times a day.
  2. Based on an average organic reach of 2%, each of your post reaches 20 unique users.
  3. Using this figure, you might think that you will reach 60 people a day. (20 x 3)

Will you? Nope. Because post reach count is independent of one another, it means that the same person can see 2 or 3 of your posts but still count as one person in each of your post reach metric.

[blockquote]If Jason sees Posts #1 and #2, your reach for post #1 will count him as 1, and your reach for post #2 will count him as 1. In total, he counts as 2 reach although you have only reached one person.[/blockquote]

Of course, if you are looking at the Page-level reach, that is a different story. But the Page-level export does not show you the daily post fan-only reach. If this is not a concern for you, then you can use the figure found in column AG.

Now let’s return to our earlier discussion about your social media goal. Avtar suggested that businesses should put a bit of money behind every post you make, instead of posting more often. While I don’t think that these 2 options are mutually exclusive, I do agree that the latter option is better both in the short and long-term.

Here’s why:

 

1. You avoid the risk of irritating your fans

Yes, fans might like your brand. The fact that they ‘like’-ed your page means that they opted in to see your post. But are you sure that they want to see your posts multiple times a day? Even lovers need a break from one another, let alone a fan who only likes, not loves, your brand.

 

2. You increase the number of different fans who actually see your post.

The keyword here is different fans. This gives more of your fans, particularly those who lacked recent interaction with your Page, a chance to engage with your brand, creating a valuable touchpoint. In layman terms, if they click, like, comment, or share your post, it signals to Facebook that they enjoy your content.

What will Facebook do in return? They will show your Page content to these fans organically the next time you post something.

 

3. You put less stress on your Page Manager.

Think about it. To post 2-3 times a day means that your Page Manager needs to create 60-90 posts a month!

Ask any professional editor, copywriter, or PR professional and you will understand the difficulties behind writing a good piece of content/copy that drives engagement and captures reader interest from the beginning to the end. Let alone excellent pieces of content that actually drive sales. Even if you adopt a 80-20 ratio, they can hardly put together enough unoriginal content (or in our terms, curation) that value-add to your fans.

Productivity of your Page Manager is not measured by how many posts he makes, but how the posts perform over time and show effects in your social media KPIs.

I hope that you understand where I am coming from. I strongly believe in 3 things:

  1. We can adopt best practices if and only if they align with your social media goals. Unless your goal is to increase post reach, which is hardly ever the case, you should consider putting a bit of money behind every post
  2. Apart from the previous consideration, also consider whether this advice is sound for your business’ context. Don’t simply take it from me and do it for your business. You need to understand (I mean it) how adopting this practice will impact your business, both negatively and positively
  3. There is nothing wrong to pay and promote your post. Why? Ultimately, your business should make money from your social media efforts, and promoting your post should lead indirectly to an increase in KPI. If your business does not, then it’s not the fault of Facebook to ask you to pay, but your fault in not developing a proper strategy framework or thinking about your goals on social media

So here’s an example of an exception: a client’s Facebook Page (of over 1000 fans) that has not spent a single cent on Facebook Ads, which doesn’t post often, yet achieved high organic reach consistently and even generated multiple leads.
Post 57 Image 1 Posting more often: Is that really the best way to get around lower organic reach?
Each row of the table above reflects the results of each post. As you can see, organic fan reach hovers around 40 – 50% most of the time,while engagement is hardly ever below 10%. The Page has only posted 6 times in the last 30 days – far below the Page “best posting practice” of 3 times a day.
This is what we learned:

 

One Size Fits Nobody

While a lot of those tips going around online are great and sometimes fresh, it comes down to the individual brand’s social media team to decide which practices to adopt. Plus, you may need to tweak the practice slightly to make it work for your brand.

For us, we recognised that we were not a lifestyle brand. Our engagement strategy was not to post something and interact with our fans everyday. That works for Oreo, but not for everyone.

But our engagement strategy still stresses consistency. We came up with a list of things that we could post on the Facebook Page. If something new came along, we would decide whether the post value-adds to our fans, and in turn, to our efforts. Consistency was therefore exercised in our choice of content, aligning closely with our goal.

As you might have realised, you cannot consider your posting frequency in isolation. It should be informed by your strategy, and considered side by side with other elements, such as your choice of content. While Facebook may throw the newsfeed algorithm into chaos again, one thing never changes: quality content will always triumph quantity.

Your clients’ or company’s resource constraints also matter – it might be impossible for you to put money behind each post. Even so, like the example above has illustrated, you may not want to rush into increasing your post frequency to make up for the drop in organic reach. It is just not simple as 1+1=2.

Comments?

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  • http://www.wisemetrics.com/ Stephane Allard

    Hi Jason,

    very interesting. To build on top of that with additional data, here’s a piece of research we did on 10,000 Pages.
    http://blog.wisemetrics.com/your-facebook-reach-theorem/
    The conclusion : If your FB post has a low fan reach, you could repeat it: it will overlap 1st publication by only 30%.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Stephane,

      Excellent stuff! Keep the data-driven insights coming – I’lll just check to see if we can also use this information for other things :)

      Cheers,
      Jason

  • Simon Stebbing

    Appreciate the solid article Jason, and also the Wisemetrics article, Stephane. I do not see a clear message from Facebook. ‘Pay to play’? — the Facebook playground is for communication, entertainment and learning, not selling.

    I ghost write and design engaging content for clients in a certain niche. My worst client averages 24% organic fan reach per post with the better posts reaching 50-60% of fans. This, despite a high percentage of low quality fans from bad moves they’d previously made. Who could ever complain about that free playground?

    The message I’m simply seeing is ‘Pay if you wish to sell’. With Facebook being the most powerful targeting platform in the world AND among the cheapest, I can’t believe businesses complain about paying when they do wish to sell.

    • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

      Hey Simon,

      Thank you for your valued opinion. You must be doing hell of a job (Not sarcastic but I genuinely mean it) with your content because those are really great results!

      However, I’d like to bring up a minor disagreement. If we go with the idea of “pay if you wish to sell”, it means to focus your ad dollars on conversion. That itself is not a wrong advice, but it misses the larger picture. In marketing, whether we are a new or mature business, we’re always trying to attract people to enter the funnel, bringing them through the funnel, and hopefully converting them into paying customers. Without paying, the funnel entrance would be smaller/more limited, bringing people through the funnel would also become a slower process than if you choose to pay.

      Of course, there are several success stories that disproves that theory, but those are few and far between. Often, their niche also happen to be very interesting/entertaining.

      What do you think? Would love to hear if you have any side that I haven’t considered, thanks Simon!

      Jason

      • Simon Stebbing

        Thanks Jason – haven’t forgotten to answer, just a bit overwhelmed with work at the moment. I’ll get back to you.

        • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

          Sure Simon, take your time.

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  • http://jasonhjh.com/ Jason HJH

    Hey Rick,

    Somehow this escaped my radar, sorry that it’s late.

    Actually, you just gave me another idea there: an added incentive for a brand to promote a post is if the post is not a filler, but part of a branding effort (key messages) or lead generation or conversion attempt. Thanks for the spark!

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