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Everyone Exhale: Facebook Reach is Officially NOT Dead

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Facebook thumbs up on an iPhoneLast November, Facebook announced that that they were cracking down on businesses with overly promotional page posts, and that offenders would suffer a decrease in organic reach.

Organic reach is the number of unique individuals who saw your content. Paid reach is the number of unique people who saw an ad or Sponsored Story that pointed to your Page.

This one announcement set off a firestorm of articles, news items and blog posts that widely reported: Facebook Reach is Officially Dead. Some reports even claimed reach had dropped from 16 percent all the way to 1 percent.

So is it true? Not really.

What Facebook meant with their initial announcement was that their users don’t like seeing ads, especially content that is thinly disguised self-promotional stuff.

As a business and a content sharing machine, it’s in Facebook’s best interest to decrease the reach of those brands and small businesses that are using the social platform as a spam engine. Making their users happy by decreasing the amount of marketing fluff in the news feed was one way to achieve that.

Want proof that the organic reach isn’t dead?

According to the social media management tool Agora Pulse, the average organic reach for Facebook:

  • Fewer than 1,000 Fans: 31.5%
  • 1,000 – 10,000 Fans: 14.3%
  • 10,000 – 50,000 Fans: 9.2%
  • 50,000 – 100,000 Fans: 9.0%
  • More than 100,000 Fans: 6.8%

Looking at the reach among our range of healthcare clients over the past four to eight months, the impression size really hasn’t changed much. While not every post is going to reach 100 percent of the audience, many of them do break through to a good amount organically. Many of the posts even reach past the audience size.

Nobody likes spam, but for the typical healthcare page, there’s no reason to abandon Facebook. Here are some quick tips on how to best reach your audience:

Re-Evaluate your Content - Part of being a content marketer is constantly reinventing yourself. You don’t see Apple still trying to sell the IPod do you? No way. Neither should a healthcare company present the same stuff over and over. New, fresh, original and engaging win out.

Use Facebook Ads - Did you know that you can precision-target ads on Facebook down to the city and what TV show users watch? Ads on Facebook allow you to target your healthcare audience for only a fraction of the cost of traditional media.

Use Facebook Insights - Facebook Insights track and report on reach, when fans are online, and more. The more data to work with the better, and the built-in analytics platform breaks down data into manageable pieces.

Look at a different stat - Having a great organic reach means little if your click-through rate is low. Your social media goal should be inline with your overall marketing goal. Organic reach is only part of the picture.

With Facebook—as with most social media—it's still a matter of sharing engaging content that creates an emotional experience. The healthcare field is, and will continue to be, the perfect industry to use that to their advantage.

For more on this topic, check out these previous posts:

Kylie Ladd, Social Media Coordinator

Image: rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com
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