Brian Razzaque's Take on The End of Organic Reach

 

 SocialToaster founder Brian Razzaque shares his thoughts on the recent changes to Facebook's algorithm. An expert in content marketing, Brian offers helpful tips and insights on handling the updates and maintaining an effective social media strategy.

 

In November 2014 Facebook announced that beginning in January 2015 it would change how effective organic posts to Facebook Pages would be in reaching fans. While the change was not new to Pages that had large numbers of followers—Facebook hit them with a similar change back in 2013—it comes as a surprise for many brands with smaller numbers of followers.

Before this change, brands with smaller numbers of fans (less than 250,000) could expect to have as many as 16% of their fans see any given post. Following the change, brands can only expect that 1-2% of their fans will see content posted to their Page. Many are calling this the Death of Organic Reach, and it brings with it a number of questions.

First and foremost, most marketers are left wondering if there is any value at all in continuing to engage fans and grow audience on Facebook Pages. Facebook’s Brian Boland states that fans absolutely do have value because they:

  • Make your ads more effective.
  • Make the ads you run more efficient.
  • Enable to use insights about your fans to inform decisions about reaching current and prospective customers.
  • Give your business credibility.


You’ll note, of course, that two of the reasons directly relate to ad buys, and a third indirectly relates to ad buys. Only the last reason (give your business credibility) provides for value independent of buying ads. As a result, from a marketing perspective, one might infer that if a brand is not currently engaged in Facebook ad buying that there would be minimal value in continuing to build fans on a Page.

These reasons do, however, lead to a second question: assuming that a brand is committed to investing in a media buying strategy, how does this change affect that strategy?

Martin Beck at Marketing Land compiled some thoughts from various social media experts. A few stand out:

  • “The new policy means marketers will have to really evaluate the type of content they’re creating and posting. Posts that are actually advertising a specific product or service will be treated as such, and will require ad spend to gain reach…Brands with high-quality content and high engagement will still reach their audiences.” –Jan Rezab, Socialbakers
  • “…Facebook has abandoned social marketing, and is just a place to buy old-fashioned ads.” –Nate Elliott, Forrester Research
  • “…[focus] first on providing value and [don’t] be overly self-promotional.” –Jon Loomer, Jon Loomer Digital
  • “The reality is that Facebook is another platform among many forms of digital marketing. It should be used in conjunction with websites, social, email, SEO, etc. Brands that are using things like Facebook Login, Retargeting, In-depth Targeting, are the ones ‘winning’ on social.” –Chat Wittman, founder EdgeRank Checker
  • “Be useful, knowledgeable, and trustworthy with your content and you will win on social—regardless of how algorithms are shifted.” –Zach Welch, BrandGlue


At SocialToaster, we believe that all of this underscores what we’ve felt from the beginning: emphasize the value of good content that people will want to consume and share. Our enterprise clients have had to contend with this for over a year, and all of them have been focusing on delivering quality content.

They also have been diversifying; there is heavy emphasis on also using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to great benefit. The diversification makes it critical that brands have appropriate tools to manage communications, ad buys, and users across multiple channels. We would be remiss if we didn’t highlight our own SocialToaster platform as a cost-effective way to engage users at scale in sharing organically across all of these channels.

To summarize our feelings on the matter, this is what we are recommending:

  • Brands should have a budget set aside for social and digital ad spending. These budgets should consider multiple channels, not just Facebook.
  • We are not currently recommending that brands continue to invest in specifically growing audience on Facebook. Rather, we recommend that they consider investing in tools and platforms that will more effectively enable them to engage and manage a community of supporters across multiple social channels.
  • Ultimately the key is focusing on and investing in generating quality content. This is not new, but certainly does become paramount with the changes to Facebook’s algorithm. The long-term strategy for winning in social is based on having a solid content marketing plan.


The changes to how users consume content from Pages on Facebook have been forecast for quite some time. Proactive marketers have been adjusting their strategies accordingly, but now that the changes are here even those that have been lagging will be forced to modify their activities.