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Facebook Marketing 201: Increase Your Facebook Reach

Facebook Amplify Your Reach-01

As social media marketers, it’s easy to consume yourself with the number of Likes, comments and shares each post receives. But your analysis shouldn’t end there. While important in their own right, each of those small actions play a much bigger role: they directly influence how your content is distributed on Facebook.

With its importance is heavily debated, Facebook reach is one of those metrics that marketers need to understand. Whether you question its validity or swear by it, you need to know what Facebook reach all about.

What Is Facebook Reach?

Simply put, Facebook reach is the number of unique people who see your content on the social network. It’s a measurement of your brand’s effective audience. Not all of your fans will see every single post you publish. And not everyone who sees your updates will be fans of your Page.

Facebook reach falls into three different categories:

  1. Organic: This represents the number of unique people who saw your content—for free—in News Feed by posting to your Page.
  2. Paid: This is the number of unique people who saw your paid content—such as a Facebook Ad.
  3. Viral: The number of unique people who saw your post or Page mentioned in a story published by a friend. These stories include actions such as Liking, sharing or commenting.

For this article, we’re going to focus on organic reach, but you should always approach your Facebook marketing strategy holistically. This means that viral and paid reach (if applicable) should be among the metrics you track regularly. For more ideas on which metrics you should be tracking, check out our Social Media Metrics guide.

Is Organic Reach Dying?

The simple answer is sort of, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s not that organic reach is dying, but rather the News Feed is evolving with Facebook’s ever-growing user base.

A 2014 study by EdgeRank Checker found a 9.4% drop in organic reach between February 2012 and March 2014. A slightly more recent study by Social@Ogilvy found that Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, the percentage of organic reach had dropped to 2%.

The good news is that people are Liking more Pages. As of April 2014, the total number of Pages Liked by the average user grew by more than 50%. The bad news is that with each new Page Like, it gets more difficult for posts to gain traction in News Feed.

 

On average, there are 1,500 stories that can appear in someone’s News Feed each time they log onto the platform. If someone has a lot of Page Likes, that number increases to 15,000 potential stories. As a result, competition for exposure increases.

Rather than display all 1,500 potential stories, News Feed is designed to show individuals the content that’s most relevant to them. Out of those potential stories, approximately 300 of them are actually displayed. News Feed ranks each possible story using EdgeRank.

Facebook Reach & EdgeRank

Many factors influence your organic reach, but Facebook’s EdgeRank plays the biggest role. EdgeRank is the algorithm Facebook uses to determine which updates are displayed in a user’s News Feed. So even though you’re sharing updates publicly, Facebook ultimately determines who will see them.

Facebook EdgeRank

But it’s not like the platform just pulls names out of a hat at random; there’s a method to the EdgeRank madness. Facebook looks at thousands of personalized factors when determining what’s shown in users’ News Feeds. Here are just a few of them:

  • When was the post was published? Is it trending?
  • The number of Likes, comments and shares the post has. Are other people engaging with it?
  • How often has the user interacted with the Page posting the update. What’s the connection between the two?
  • Past user interaction with the same post type. What’s the user’s behavior around text-based posts vs. photos?

Everything from the type of story you publish to how close someone is to your brand to how old your post is can impact where your content falls in a user’s News Feed.

On top of that, users are now able to control what they see on News Feed to an extent. By updating their preferences, people can prioritize whose posts they’ll see first. For example, if someone is growing tired of self-promoting brand posts—something that Facebook now penalizes (more on that later)—they can choose to have updates from friends appear higher up on their News Feed.

Additionally, over the years, Facebook has gotten better at showing more high-quality content by cleaning up News Feed spam such as Like-baiting content.

Facebook Like-Baiting

You’ll find a much more detailed look at EdgeRank and its history, in our guide to the Facebook News Feed algorithm.

What Can You Do About It?

Unfortunately there isn’t a magical solution to organic reach. You’ll never be able to reach every single one of your followers with all your updates. But you can optimize your content strategy so there’s potential for your updates to reach more people.

Work on Relationship Building

Remember earlier we said that Facebook looks at the connection between a user and the content publisher? In order for that to increase you need to build relationships with your followers. Don’t just publish content and walk away. Create conversations around the things that you post and respond to users when they comment.

Dove Facebook Reach

Dove goes above and beyond when it comes to relationship building. Not only does the brand publish content that elicits emotion, but it takes the time to respond to almost everyone who leaves a comment. Talk about dedication.

Publish With Purpose

You should never publish content just for the sake of updating your Timeline—this applies to any social network, not only Facebook. Instead you should focus on creating content that fulfills your business objectives. The updates you post need to add value in some way, whether they’re educational, entertaining or conversational.

 

At Sprout, we focus on sharing content that educates and empowers our fans. That’s why we offer the best Facebook management tools to help your business schedule, publish, collaborate and analyze everything you’re doing on the social network.

It’s Not Always About You

Facebook is an incredible marketing and sales tool, but not everything you do on the platform needs to revolve around selling. In 2014, users told Facebook they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages, and less promotional content.

According to that survey, these are the traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts solely pushing people to buy a product or install an app.
  • Posts pushing people to enter promotions or sweepstakes with no real context.
  • Posts reusing the same exact content from ads.

Your Facebook Page is about your business and your products, but don’t forget about the 80/20 rule—80% of your updates should be social in nature. And if keeping fans happy isn’t incentive enough, Facebook began displaying less of this type of content in News Feeds in January 2015.

Overly promotional posts aren’t good for Facebook reach. Think about why people are coming to your Facebook Page and how they’re using it, then use that information to inspire your content strategy.

Optimize Your Audience

One way to improve your reach is to ensure your posts reach the right people. What’s the point of having 5,000 people see your update if only 1,000 of them find it relevant?

By targeting your organic posts, you can deliver updates to people based on their gender, age, education, location and interests. Your targeted posts will still appear on your Page for all to see. The targeting parameters you set will only filter the post in News Feed.

To take advantage of Facebook’s Audience Optimization, you must have the option turned on in Settings.

Facebook Organic Targeting Settings

Once enabled, you’ll see a compass-like icon added to the compose box of your Facebook Page. From there you can create your preferred audience (based on interest) or limit who can see the post (based on demographic data).

Facebook Organic Targeting

These are just a handful of the different tactics you can employ to improve your Facebook reach. Remember that doing so isn’t about gimmicks—people see through those. In order to be successful, you have to make a permanent change in the way you approach your content strategy. Organic content absolutely has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content will continue reaching people in News Feed.

Facebook won’t stop evolving, and neither should your content strategy. The best way to get the most out of your organic content is to dig into your insights. See how your metrics are aligning with your business objectives and make well-informed decisions about how to move forward based on that data.

Do you have any strategies you believe help your Facebook reach? Feel free to leave a comment below!

This post Facebook Marketing 201: Increase Your Facebook Reach originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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