3 Ways to Survive Facebook’s Reachpocalypse

Brands need a strategy to navigate Facebook’s news feed algorithm, or they’ll disappear amongst the content debris

Chris Morrison
August 11 2017

Since 2012, Facebook has been tweaking its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from family and friends. Within two years of this process beginning, organic reach for pages with large audiences had fallen to just 2% of their audiences.

Many smaller brands are responding by looking to other platforms: Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat all offer better organic reach in many cases. But Facebook is still an excellent platform for reaching your existing customers — if only to take advantage of paid advertising and strategies that boost a page’s relevance.

To raise relevance on Facebook, marketers need a content strategy that gets customers talking and interacting with the brand.

 Customize content through unpublished posts

Music festivals are often melting pots of people with different interests outside of music. “We have a very elusive audience,” Bobby Garza of booking company Transmission Events told Facebook. So the company used unpublished or “dark” posts to target a wider swathe of both current and new audiences to raise ticket sales. Transmission Events saw a 30x return on ad spend by using the format.

Dark posts are posts that aren’t published on a page’s timeline. The format enables brands to promote posts targeted at different audiences without spamming existing followers. Using dark posts can decrease the cost of marketing campaigns by increasing click through rates by almost half.

 Create quality short-form videos

Owner of BlondeNerd.com and video game blogger Brittany Brombacher was dismayed when her organic reach fell to just  2-4%. But Brombacher found a way to bring her reach from 65,000 followers back up to 10% through short and engaging 1-minute videos. “I’m seeing much higher organic reach from videos than other types of posts,” she says. “Facebook’s algorithm definitely seems to prefer video-based content right now,” Brombacher said.

 A weaker organic reach means brands feel less pressure to “always be on,” as their timelines are cluttered with filler content. Brands now have greater incentive to invest more time in creating high quality content, like videos, which have the most reach at 8.7% over photos (3.7%) and text status updates (5.8%).

Empower employees to share on social

Through its employee advocate program, Whole Foods has mobilized more than 300 volunteers to post about the brand on social media. The program has produced more than 10,000 interactions between employees and customers online, an estimated $35,000 in social value. “I trust my employees to talk to our customer in store, so why not on social media?”, said Natanya Anderson, Whole Foods’ former director of social media.

An employee’s word on Facebook can be more powerful than any content a brand shares on its page. Consumers are 8 times more likely to engage with an employee’s post about the brand over regular branded content.

Accumulating social proof is the key to staying visible in Facebook’s relevance-driven news feed. Brands can and should attract comments and likes through customized posts, quality videos, and authentic interactions between employees and customers.


Chris Morrison

Chris Morrison is a reformed game developer and a freelance writer specializing in game design, app marketing, marketing technology and other areas. He was previously a writer for VentureBeat before trying his hand at game design.

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