Getting organic posts in front of users on social media has become increasingly difficult for brands - particularly on Facebook, which has been quite open about its reduction of organic reach (even if some find its stated reasons a little questionable).
What actions have you taken in your social strategy in response to organic reach decline? Share in the comments.
There's no question that it's harder to reach Facebook fans without paying these days. The social network even does the courtesy of informing Page admins how few people actually saw their posts (usually it's significantly less than the Page's fan count).
Facebook is certainly the one that matters most as it has the largest user base (by far), but others like Twitter and Google+ also offer brands great potential for reaching people.
A new study looks at content across these social networks, and finds that brands are generally still able to reach a significant amount of people without paying, but also that the overwhelming majority of posts don't get any engagement.
SocialFlow analyzed 1.6 million posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and concluded that how you distribute your social posts is more important to improving engagement than what you're actually posting. The industry you're in, it says, is a "crucial factor" in picking the right method.
The study says that even as competition for user attention increases, companies continue to attain significant reach and generate substantial engagement with organic, non-paid social posts.
One of the study's key findings was that while organic social posting can still deliver substantial reach and engagement, there's a "steep drop" from the best-performing posts to the long tail.
Another key finding is that data-driven posts saw far more reach and engagement than scheduled posts.
According to SocialFlow, companies that take a data-driven approach to social publishing improve effectiveness by publishing more content with little corresponding increase in overall effort and better matching posts to the types of content their audiences are already engaging with because there are more posts.
The third key finding was that real-time posts provide "substantial benefit" to media and entertainment companies, but don't benefit marketers in technology, retail, fashion, healthcare, and non-profit verticals.
"Across the industry verticals we analyzed, Media and Entertainment companies were by far the most prolific content producers," the study says. "And while only 10% of their Real-Time posts outperformed Data-Driven posts, the cumulative benefit for those 10% generated almost 90% of the total engagement."
"Across the industry verticals we analyzed, Media and Entertainment companies were by far the most prolific content producers," it adds. "And while only 10% of their Real-Time posts outperformed Data-Driven posts, the cumulative benefit for those 10% generated almost 90% of the total engagement."
After all is said and done, the study comes away with three major implications of its findings: scheduling of social posts is ineffective; real-time posting is less effective than data-driven optimization unless you're a media or entertainment brand; and organic publishing should be as data-driven as other marketing efforts.
You can dig into all of this more with the report which does require registration.
If you're struggling with engagement on Facebook, this infographic has some other information you might find helpful:
The Nuts and Bolts of a Perfect Facebook Post – An infographic by the team at TrackMaven
Take advantage of the tools the social networks give you. Pay attention to the data you get for free (like Facebook Insights). Keep an eye on trends. Look at what works and what doesn't. If you need to boost a post every now and then, do it, but even with the fall of organic reach, there are likely moves you can make to help your overall engagement without paying.
Have you been able to overcome the Facebook organic reach decline? Has your engagement suffered? Let us know in the comments.
Images vai SocialFlow