Almost seven years ago, when I began working in social media, life was so easy: write a couple hundred characters, share it on Facebook, and *BOOM* the orders flew in like they were on some magic social media carpet ride.
Then it became a bit more tricky. You had to be creative, engaging, and post a variety of types of media–videos, links, text, and images–to get the same level of reach.
Then, sometime in 2013, social media consultants and professions began to learn the tragic truth about a privatized Facebook: organic reach was slowly becoming obsolete and being replaced with sponsored stories, pay-for-likes, and engagement penalties.
In 2013, social media consultants like myself had to bite the bullet, and raise prices to accommodate Facebook advertising in order to achieve reach numbers that were a 10th of what they were five years earlier. Sure, there were claims that if you were clever enough, interesting enough, or engaging enough, your organic reach would be satisfactory, but in truth, that’s just not the case anymore. I mean, if you can’t get organic reach with prizes, clever posts, surveys, promotions, and coupons–the reason many of us “like” businesses to begin with–then what will work?
Even with increased ad budgets, what used to cost $.25 per click, is now in the $1-2/click range, leaving many small businesses and social media consultants saying, “what gives?” and “when will it stop?” The answer, according to this: “maybe never.”
“Since Facebook pages for business launched in 2007, the organic page reach has been decreasing. By April of 2012, Facebook itself disclosed that Fan Pages reached only 16% of their audiences on average. Recently, a study revealed that Facebook page organic reach went from an average of 12.05% in October, 2013 to 6.15% in February, 2014.
Last fall, Facebook cited “A lack of space in the newsfeed” as a reason for the decline in organic reach. It’s possible that shortly, there will be no room left for organic posts at all.
This change is very bad news for businesses who have spent the past seven years collecting Facebook fans, unless they’re willing to start spending regularly to reach their audience. The worst part is that this applies to pages across the board. Whether you’re a huge brand with millions of likes, a community organization page or a non-profit, this dip in organic reach will affect you…
…At this point you’re asking, should my company even use Facebook—Is it worth the time? Do the thousands of fans you have acquired even matter anymore? With a measly 1-2% reach, it’s hard to justify spending time posting on Facebook.Facebook wants to assure you, “The fans you have matter.” In fact, the sales deck lists a number of benefits to acquiring fans, including improving organic distribution and getting more insight about your audience. The number one reason? “Improving ad effectiveness.”
In short, your fans matter, if and only if, you plan on spending money to reach them. After years of using Facebook for free advertising, this may seem unfair, but Facebook needs to make revenue somehow. And while you may not be too keen on the thought of spending money with Facebook, more engaging posts will still lead to a larger reach (when people share, like or comment on your posts, Facebook will see this as a post of interest and allow it to come up in more people’s newsfeeds)…
…The reality is, Facebook’s organic reach could be zero very shortly. Facebook has been making strides in this direction and it seems inevitable that paid posts will be the norm for businesses. It seems unfair that businesses who have invested time and money acquiring followers will no longer be able to reach that audience, but even with a small budget, companies can turn this bad news into an opportunity…”
via: “Your Facebook Page’s Organic Reach is About to Plummet“, Social Media Today.