Why Facebook's organic reach isn't dead

Insights | 30 Mar, 2015

Senior Social Media Manager, Hannah Rainford, addresses the accusation that Facebook's organic reach is dead head on, with a current client example, advice on how to complement organic with paid social and tactics for unrivalled brand advocacy.

Hannah Rainford talks organic vs. paid social, social targeting opportunities, having a conversion media strategy and how paying to promote other people's content could bring unrivaled brand advocacy.

Organic reach on Facebook is one of the hot topics at the moment. There are so many things out there where people are saying, "It's dead." "It's alive." In fact, one of my clients I was talking to the other day, because she'd been talking to someone else who had said to her, "Oh, organic reach on Facebook is dead. We're paying to promote every post to reach people."

It was actually quite laughable for my client. They get fantastic organic reach. They've just produced a series of videos that are really relatable to the product itself. One of the videos got almost 80,000 impressions in terms of reach. They got 28,000 Facebook likes, at the time anyway. You can see, they've almost kind of tripled their reach and that's organic. They didn't pay to promote any of that content.

What was so great about the content, what made it so shareable, is that it's really relatable to the product. It's really relatable to the audience. People want to share it because it says something about who they are. They might own a product and they recognise what's going on in the video. Actually, they want to share it with their friends. That's what causes this kind of virality and people want to share it. You know, you get these really great reach results. Organic reach on Facebook definitely isn't dead.

Organic Facebook posts and paid Facebook posts both have their own benefit. Actually, they should be used together. Organic Facebook posts, they say it's free. It's not free, obviously. There's your time and your effort involved with it.

 Actually, paid social media advertising is great if you want to target a new audience. Twitter advertising, Facebook advertising, LinkedIn advertising allows you to really drill down into the targeting. You can target people by their age, where they live and what their interests are. Who they're following on Twitter. That kind of thing. What their job title is on LinkedIn. You can really drill it down and make sure that what you're sharing is going to be relevant to the people you're targeting.

Equally, you might have an email database and you might want to target those people on Facebook. Those people on Twitter or even an audience that looks like them. You might want to promote an offer to your Facebook fans and say, "Hey, thank you for being a loyal customer. Here's 10% off." That way, only those people that have those email addresses that match will fit. You should definitely be doing the social media advertising, even if it's just a small budget.

Just try it. Twitter advertising. LinkedIn advertising. Facebook advertising. Just do £10 over the day. See what works, see what doesn't. Then you can kind of up your budgets and then eventually you might end up spending hundreds and thousands of pounds. Start small. Test, analyse and refine. Make sure it's working for you.

A converged media strategy is a relationship between your owned media, your paid media and your earned media. Owned media is anything that you own. That's your website, your Facebook page, your Twitter accounts. The paid media is when you're sponsoring posts on Facebook or Twitter. Google even. You've got your earned media. That works as part of, kind of, PR or outreach strategy. Where you're getting articles placed on blogs or something like the Huffington Post.

What you can do is, you can actually make these work together for you. Actually you're making the most of your social media. For example, you've got a blog post that's been written about you or mentions you on something like the Huffington Post or Mashable, if you're really lucky. What would be really good is actually if you can pay for that content to be promoted. I know it's not necessarily your content, but it's content that's about you.

People are more likely to believe something that other people have said about you, rather than something that you're saying yourself. Whether that's someone else tweeting about you or writing a blog post about you. If you can pay to promote that to another audience, you're actually going to have more success from that than you saying the message yourself.

Equally so with your owned media. If people are leaving reviews about you, for example. Again, it could be on a blog post or on something like TripAdvisor, Checkatrade, Review Centre. That's earned media. Actually, if you can promote this owned media on your owned channels, this is what kind of causes brand advocacy.

People like to feel involved with your brand. Other people like to see this advocacy happening. They like to see good reviews. What you find is actually you get these people telling your story of your brand on your Facebook page. On your Twitter account. Again, you're not having to tell them the message. It's other people saying the message. They're helping to tell your brand's story. 

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