I keep hearing that it is almost impossible to get your content shown to your fans and their friends on Facebook anymore without paying the Company big advertising bucks first.
Really? I must be missing something!
I am not here to brag and I am not here to say I have a secret formula that I invented that only I can use. You can do this too. What I do know is that it IS still possible to get staggering amounts of your content seen on Facebook without paying them a single penny for advertising. Want proof?
This graphic above is from the Facebook Insights for my fan page for the last week. My posts reached a combined 15.6 MILLION people, I had 1.3 MILLION "Likes", "Comments" and "Shares" and 3,200 new fans "Liked" my page. You think that is impressive? No, here is the really cool part.....
I did it for free!
That is correct. I did not spend a single dime on Facebook advertising to get these results.
Got lucky? Nope! I have had 32 posts in the last 90 days with unpaid reach (reach/#fans) and engagement rates (people talking about/#fans) over 100%. The current Facebook averages for those stats are 6% and 2 %.
Five of those posts went "viral" (organic reach over 1 million) and two went "super viral" (organic reach over 10 million).
The Problem with Facebook
For those of you who have not been following the story, let me catch you up. Then I will give you a few tips to help you increase your organic (FREE!) traffic.
The "idea" of Facebook is a marketers dream. 1.28 BILLION monthly active users (MAU's) easily sorted and served digitally in 1,000 different ways. When Facebook first started 10 years ago all of your friends saw all of your content - for FREE!. Over time, as user growth exploded, it became clear that it was not practical to see all of the content your friends were producing. In 2006 Facebook launched the News Feed, an electronic ticker of sorts, to help you keep it all straight.
Shortly thereafter it launched the Edgerank algorithm, a super-complex mathematical formula which ranks the content your fans are creating and decides which content to show you. The name of the algorithm has since changed, but at last count it included over 100,000 elements.
So, Facebook isn't actually censoring content. They are just deciding what you see.
That is a N-I-G-H-T-M-A-R-E for marketers because they want you to see THEIR stuff!
Pay to Play is Born
In 2012 Facebook famously reported that organic reach rates were roughly 16%. That means your fans were seeing roughly 1 out of 6 posts you were producing. Two years later that number is down around 6%, or 1 out of every 16 posts.
Source: Advertising Age March 6, 2014
Rumors are that the number will drop to 1 out of 50 in the next couple of years and some "experts" think the day will come when there is no free traffic on Facebook.
The solution, for Facebook anyway, is to pay them money to show YOUR content to YOUR fans. Pretty cool right?
The "Little Guy" Loses
Big brands and companies are used to paying for advertising and most have multi-million dollars to shell out for it. All they need is some proof of a return on investment (ROI) and they have no problem spending big money on Facebook ads. The problem is that small business owners do not have the budgets or the luxury of being able to spend their ways to the head of the line. For them, the idea of Facebook being a level playing field where they can compete with the big boys based strictly on content quality and value provided is fading.
Facebook Explains...and I See a Angle
With the digital marketing world up in arms, Brian Boland, Facebook's VP Ads Product Marketing addressed the issue publically. His explanation had lots of numbers and reasons why and tried to make the point that Facebook wasn't out to "get anybody" or become "profiteers". The two points that he made that were "aha" moments for me where when he said that Facebook had recently completed a wide scale effort to reduce or eliminate spam on the site and that they were giving increased value to high-quality content.
Wow, I love that! I hate spam and I hate low quality content! Don't you?
So, if I create "hi-quality" content then you will show it to more people for free?
So, that is my angle then. I decided I was going to create high-quality content that people loved to share,
My Tips to Getting Increased Free Traffic on Facebook
I want to make this part as simple and easy to understand as possible. If you want to get more free traffic on Facebook you should:
• Make Your Content Visual: Visual content dominates on Facebook. Use more visual content and make your content visually stunning. There are several free software programs out there that make it easier than ever to create drop-dead gorgeous graphics. Canva and Picmonkey are two of my favorites.
• Make Your Content Stuff People Want to Share: Virality takes off once people start sharing your content with their communities. Create the type of content that people like to share. What type is that? People love sharing content that is either humorous or motivational. They also like sharing stuff that is free (like a great e-book) with their friends and fans.
• Use Your Own Data and See What is Working for Other People: Look at your own Facebook Insights to see what is working for you. In Insights click on the "Posts" tab and then the "Reach" column header and Facebook will sort the last 3 months of posts by reach from highest to lowest. Do more of what is working and less of what is not.
Also, the number of "Likes", "Comments" and "Shares" is public information on any Fan Page. What types of things are working for other people? Now you cannot copy or even plagiarize their material, but you can start getting a feel for the types of things that will work. I use a great little tool called Post Planner that helps do the sorting and analysis for me.
If you want even more tools, tips and tricks you can download me free e-book "9 Ingredients to Dominate Facebook's News Feed Without Giving Them a Penny...shhh!!!" .
This is a hot topic and there are lots of different opinions out there. I would love to hear yours in the comments section below.