When it comes to organic reach: it's not (entirely) you… it's Facebook.
Recent data from EdgeRank Checker shows that a Facebook Page's organic reach per fan has declined from 16% in February 2012 to just 6.51% as of March 2014, confirming that brands will have to put more resources into their Facebook content if they want to reach their audience.
This dramatic decline can be attributed to recent changes in Facebook's filtered feed algorithm (unofficially known as "EdgeRank"), driven by the growing competition for News Feed space. According to TechCrunch, the total number of Pages "liked" by the typical Facebook user increased by over 50% in 2013. Given the benefits of using Facebook for business, it's easy to see why the competition has intensified.
Feeling robbed? You're not alone. After all, you've probably invested in building your page's "Likes" and establishing a rapport with your audience. A handful of brands on Facebook, including Eat24 and actor Rainn Wilson, have spoken out about Facebook's algorithm changes, with Wilson deeming the network as "worthless." But should one go so far (as Eat24 did) and delete their Facebook page in protest?
I'd argue no – having a Facebook page is an integral part of any digital marketing mix. With the average person spending an estimated 55 minutes per day on Facebook, having a presence on the social network is a valuable opportunity that's not to be missed. From a business perspective, it's important for customer service, brand credibility and SEO (don't forget about those social signals). Moreover, Facebook's analytics can provide invaluable information about your online audience, from basic demographics to conversion rates. As a consumer-driven platform, Facebook is another channel where your potential customers can find you – actual users, not cookies.
Facebook Gets You To The Core
Alas, you're probably thinking: "If I'm only reaching 6.51% of my audience anyway, what's the point?" First, don't underestimate the power of that organic 6.51% – if EdgeRank does as it says, this 6.51% is a core crew of brand ambassadors who are legitimately interested in your business' social activity. Second, you'll have to play by Facebook's rules and put time and money into your content, but it will be worth it – another stat from EdgeRank Checker's data shows that viral reach per fan has actually increased. This increase confirms that if you provide and promote content that is so good it attracts attention (likes & shares), it will gain additional exposure. It may now be difficult to "scare-up" these shares organically; however, Facebook's useful targeting options can help to ensure that your content is seen by a targeted group of Facebook users who are more likely to engage with a particular piece of content. Experimenting with and taking advantage of these targeting options will be necessary to see success on Facebook.
So yes – you'll have to invest time and dollars into creating superb, high-quality content in order to (literally) get your brand to the top on Facebook. And yes, this is easier for some brands than for others. EdgeRank has brought upon an endless line of hurtles for social marketers to clear. The brands that are going to make it to the top are those who are willing to do what it takes to get ahead of the pack and demonstrate their commitment to their Facebook community.
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