Still wondering what's the secret to getting more Facebook likes?
A quick search using the terms "Facebook" "organic reach" and "paid reach' turns up reams of results over the social media giant's moves to control how any content posted to its network is seen and even engaged with.
Growing frustration amongst novice page owners and even the elite of social media management points to several issues.
On his website, Jon Loomer, a self-described advance Facebook marketer said: "Is organic reach down for pages? Yes, overall it is. Is it dead? Absolutely not. It’s not even close."
According to the Agorapulse Barometer, businesses with less than 1,000 fans see approximately 25.1% organic reach with the percentage decreasing considerably as a page gains more fans.
Between 1,000 and 10,000 fans sees approximately 13.8%; 10,000 - 50,000 fans gets on average 10.0%; between 50,000 – 100,000 fans yields 9.8% and more than 100,000 fans places organic reach at around 7.7%
Laurie Marshall who has an interest in Facebook marketing said her growing frustration with the company was that despite following local businesses, artists and other bloggers, the social network seemed to be deciding which content those pages publish is suitable for individual subscriber's newsfeeds. "That's beyond frustrating," she said, adding that for small businesses "reaching all 1200 fans to tell them about a weekend sale or a relocation is a lot better than reaching 100 of them."
"... as a follower, I want to see all the posts of the business I like. I can decide for myself if it's not engaging enough. I don't need Facebook to censor my feed for me. I can decide what I think is "engaging"..."
Ms. Marshall said business owners who worked hard to gain fanfare through Likes, only to be subjected to Facebook's is exactly why organic reach is failing.
She challenged those marketers who retort that Facebook gets to decide how to handle all the content uploaded to their site.
"..."that's the way it is" is the worst way to approach a situation that is unbalanced," she said.
Dave Perry, who runs a social media management company with his wife, said there after noticing the lack of engagement on the first two posts he made to his business page, he started to look more critically at the social network. "Think of it like you're going fishing. The ultimate goal is to catch a fish (the sale) if all you do is continually drop a hook in the water, there isn't much chance of you catching a fish. But, if you chum the water a little here and there, you create a frenzy and attract even more fish."
Mr. Perry said his advice for increased organic reach was for content to engage, educate, entertain, sell and then repeat. "Think of it more like fishing than e-blasting and open rates," he said.
Helena Noel was less polite. "Facebook is a bitch."
"I enjoy the content of the things I follow, because the content is good. And yet, the vast majority of it dosen't appear in my news feed unless it's the sponsored, half-okay, garbage. I have to regularly search out the un-sponsored authors and pages I'm already following in order to read what I want. That's facebook filtering out good content."
Ms. Noel said her page suffered the same herding by Facebook. "I have friends who call me up to ask me why they aren't seeing my stuff, and I always have to tell them you just have to check in now and then, or add me to your notifications."
Facebook is notorious for social engineering and shows no sign of slowing down. The new Like emojies will deliver more data to the social network than ever before. Sounds like a conspiracy theory?
In June of 2014, Facebook's social psychologist Adam Kramer was listed on an academic paper that claimed to find evidence of social networks spreading "emotional contagion" and manipulating user experience through the selective pushing of material. Not only were Facebook users not notified that the company had been testing the effect of a continuous stream of negative stories appearing on their newsfeeds, but up to half a million subscibers were subjected to the emotional manipulation without any recourse.
And, let's not forget that be interfering in the process of what appears on the newsfeed of a subscriber, the term "organic reach" becomes fundamentally flawed.
Facebook's worldwide release of Instant Articles promises to in-source all content from publishers who use its network. It's been cleverly marketed by Facebook as the tailored social media experience for publishing companies, but there are still no assurances that Facebook will cut back -- or at best, stop -- their practice of curating what we see on our newsfeed.
Discussions numbering the hundreds of thousands take place everyday around the question, "What is the best way to increase the organic reach of my Facebook posts?"
The solutions offered range from posting a link and writing a four to six word reaction above the piece, to use trending words in the headline and including an emoji with every post that contains an article.
The discussion needs to include one vital aspect that rounds up the biggest challenge of using Facebook at all.
The big fish here is to understand that Facebook exists primarily as a data mining operation and as a social network second. The wealth of knowledge it has from its 1.19 billion monthly active users without their knowledge is staggering. The organisation's Data Science division might deliver statistics on who watched last night's ball game, but beneath the surface there's a lot more its investigating. Consider Facebook's response to it's app permissions list for smart devices; "We realise that some of these permissions sound scary, so we’d like to provide more info about how we use them."
|Android permission (what you’ll see on your Android)||Examples of what we use this permission for|
|Read your text messages (SMS or MMS)||If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message.|
|Download files without notification||This allows us to improve the app experience by pre-loading News Feed content.|
|Read/write your contacts||These permissions allow you to import your phone’s contacts to Facebook and sync your Facebook contacts to your phone.|
|Add or modify calendar events and send email to guests without owners’ knowledge||This allows you to see your Facebook events in your phone’s calendar.|
|Read calendar events plus confidential information||This allows the app to show your calendar availability (based on your phone’s calendar) when you’re viewing an event on Facebook.
There is a growing amount of digital marketers who believe emailing is still the best option out there, given all the hoops social media users have to jump through to have their content seen and engaged with.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section or on Facebook because we really need to push up our page engagement stats.