Having a good organic reach on social media simply refers to how well the posts of a page perform without having to have any money behind them. With the algorithm changes in the past few years, it’s caused a change with organic reach at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Facebook has been seeing a decline for some time, especially since the platform is opting to allow users to see more content from friends and family rather than from pages and publishers. In a late 2018 interview, Mark Zuckerberg stated that users will start to see less public content like posts from media, brands, and businesses.
The History Behind The Decline
Before 2012, it was fairly easy for brands to reach their target audiences via social media. The freeness (organicness) made it the best platform. Early adopters of social media saw reach between sixteen percent to twenty percent every time they posted. To reiterate, it was still completely free to do so.
During February of 2012, Facebook made one of it’s most impactful alterations to its algorithm. The change ended causing mass hysteria within the social media community of small business owners and marketers.
The time between February 2012 and March 2014, studies saw the organic reach for average Facebook pages dropped to 6.5 percent (from 16 percent). Other research studies reported that for pages that had larger than 500,000 likes, organic reach might have been as low as two percent.
For context, this meant that pages that had around 10,000 fans could expect around 650 fans to actually see the posts within their news feed. Similarly, a page that had one million fans, roughly 65,000 of those would see their page’s posts.
Between January and May 2016, SocialFlow analyzed more than 3,000 posts, all of which found that their organic reach had dropped 42%. Following that, later on in the same year, Facebook readjusted their News Feed algorithm again, which further prioritized content from their ‘friends’ over those of other pages.
Why Is It Declining?
So, with all of that, it’s clear to see the amount of decline that happened with these algorithm changes across various social media platforms. The reason behind the decline is actually quite simple.
Currently, there are too many Pages and Accounts producing too much content, which means that the competition for visibility is very high. Facebook, trying to appease their own customers, is trying to ensure that their users only see the best content out there, especially the ones that are relevant to them.
The algorithm change didn’t only happen on Facebook. In fact, all platforms seemed to modify their algorithm in one way or another. According to the CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, users are likely to miss about 70% of posts on their feed. On Facebook, the average post reach is roughly 10.8 percent. Twitter adopted an algorithmic timeless that sorts tweets based on the importance and interest for the user, irrespective of the time. And LinkedIn was no exception as they also have an algorithmic timeline.
Does Organic Reach Still Matter?
Social media wouldn’t be what it is without some form of paid advertising or a paid feature ability. Everything, including the free organic content and paid content, encompasses what that social media platform is. Many marketers now claim that with the increase of paid content, there isn’t a need for organic content anymore.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Paid content has the ability to generate awareness of your business or brand. But organic content helps to build affinity with your followers. It helps to turn those followers into loyal advocates. In this pay-to-play online world that we’re currently in, organic reach can help you create a community of customers and loyal followers. All you have to do for that is post relevant content and interact with those that follow you.
Organic social content is the ideal way to show the audience your identity and core values. At the same time, you can learn about what your audience values the most. It’s one of the few places where it’s easier to have a two-way conversation, making it irreplaceable.
Yes, when all of these social media platforms started, they were completely free of ads as at that point, they were still building their user bases. With all that money and time being poured into the platforms by their creators, it was inevitable that it would have to pay off in some way, someday. That day has now come and it’s in the form of advertising.
Sponsored content has become one of the best ways for social media platforms to keep their channels free for all to use. As they are for-profit businesses, they need to make money while trying to keep their users satisfied.
Organic reach is the most cost-effective option if you want to use social media for your business. It helps to pay off your ads through relevant, engaging content. Organic content is also great for creating conversation. Through social media, you’ve been awarded several ways to do so, including polls, offers, spotlights, ratings, trivia, and contents, among others. Lastly, organic reach is also great for boosting word of mouth marketing.
How To Tackle A Decline?
There are various ways in which you can try to (a) avoid a decline and (b) tackle it if it does happen to your social media channel(s).
- Create Unique Content Across The Board
This means that you’re creating unique content for each platform, rather than reposting the content on various channels. Your content should be tailored to the content it’s being uploaded on.
- Know The Algorithm
Social media platforms create algorithms that are designed to bring their users the most relevant content to them. Nowadays, this means that there is a higher preference for the content posted by friends and family rather than brands. Therefore it’s important to study the formula and learn how they work so that you are able to make the most out of them.
- Feature Someone Else’s Content
In marketing, it’s important to realize that it’s not all about you, instead, recognize that social media is all about being social. So, it might be worthwhile to look into sharing content from others and not just your own (it should still be relevant to your business). It’s even better when that content comes from someone else that your audience frequently engage in.
These are only a few suggestions that will help to keep on top of your social media networks without the algorithm hurting your social media presence too much. Keep in mind though that the algorithms will continue to change. Instead of letting it destroy your brand or end up spending tons of money, try to learn from the algorithm and keep on growing with it rather than against it.