Most business owners know that few social media platforms can match Facebook when it comes to reaching potential customers. With 2.2 billion users, or one in every three humans, using the site, Facebook is one of the biggest marketplaces the world has ever seen. The potential is huge!
Yet many company owners struggle with how to take advantage of Facebook. The site is sometimes clumsy, and it is often unpredictable when determining what posts to show and to whom. It is enough to make many owners say, "Forget it!" and move on to another platform, or worse, go back to old-fashioned direct mail and radio ads.
But abandoning Facebook out of frustration is a huge mistake. When done correctly, this social media giant has the potential to propel a small business into the stratosphere! It can quickly make an unknown brand the hottest in town. Witness what it did for Vox and BuzzFeed. Both were small media start-ups not very long ago, but today each one has a national reputation.
The trick to a successful Facebook strategy is understanding the difference between organic posts and paid posts. It is also important to know how to create an effective organic post and to understand the benefits of paid posts.
Allow me to explain both organic and paid posts to make navigating the Facebook jungle a little easier!
Organic Posts v. Paid Posts
So what is the difference between the two? Basically, an organic post is one that comes across your screen without a marketer paying Facebook to make that happen. If a marketer has paid Facebook to get the post to come across your screen, then it is a paid post.
Which organic posts a user sees will depend on Facebook's algorithm, which changes all the time. Right now, the organic reach for Facebook posts is only about 2%. This is a 20% drop from early 2017 and means that your posts are not being displayed in your followers' news feeds as often as they were before. For example, if your company page has 20,000 likes, now only about 400 people are seeing your posts. Ouch.
Effective Organic Posts
Even though the reach of organic posts is less than inspiring, they are still worth doing because they do not cost anything and they are still reaching your engaged audience. All organic posts are not the same, though. Some are effective, while others are anything but.
So what makes an effective organic post? Here are a few tips.
- Share only the juiciest content. The era of posting throughout the day just to post something is gone. Keep in mind that Facebook has 40 million active business Pages. That is a jaw-dropping number. Even more jaw-dropping is that Facebook receives 510,000 comments, 293,000 status updates, and 136,000 picture uploads every 60 seconds. That is a lot of competition for your content. Mediocre organic posts just get lost in the clutter. So make yours stand out and resonate!
- Include videos in your posts. Videos on Facebook receive the highest rate of engagement, even though they only comprise 3% of content. Why do they work so well? Simply put, they have a human element that draws us in. We relate to the people who look and act like us on the screen and want to engage with them. People are also just drawn to moving content over static – think motion graphics! It's the same reason 98% of us have a TV in the living room.
- Respond to comments. No one likes to feel ignored! If someone leaves a comment on your page, then respond to what they said. If they ask a question, make sure to answer it! People like to know that someone is minding the store. Leads like to know that the company cares about them!
Benefits of Paid Posts
Some marketers just focus on organic posts. While organic posts certainly have their benefits – mainly that the posts are free – nearly 90% of marketers use both organic and paid posts to reach their target audience. The most interesting fact, though, is that 60% of marketers say that their paid posts are more effective than their organic ones. Why?
With organic posts, you are reaching people who have already engaged with your Page, and you are building and fostering a community. This is certainly a positive thing, but it also has limitations because these people already know you. You are not reaching huge numbers of potential new customers because it takes time for people to share your posts. How many business owners have that kind of time?
Paid posts, on the other hand, are immediate, straightforward and to the point. They let you target people beyond your Page audience and provide them with a clear solution to their problems – your business! You get your message – your solution – in front of an audience much larger than the one you currently have.
You can boost Page posts and buy ads with little upfront cost. For example, you can start with as little as $5 and get your post in front of 1,000 potential new customers. You can then measure their engagement to see what content works and what does not, making adjustments as needed.
There is actually a difference in reach between boosting organic content and paid advertising that's important to clarify. When you make an organic post and Facebook offers to let you "boost" this content, it will increase the reach of your organic post. However, it will primarily boost your reach among your existing audience (increasing that 2% organic reach we mentioned earlier in this post). Paid advertisements allow you to target a specific audience not already engaged with you, but more on that in a future post!
As Facebook organic reach declines, pay-to-play paid posts are quickly becoming the way to reach new customers and drive growth. Who knows how Facebook will tweak its algorithm in the future? Organic reach could decline even further, and businesses that depend on it could be left in the dust. It is time to embrace paid Facebook posts and watch your business soar!
If you're ready to start paying to promote your business or organization online, we're happy to help you create a strategy! If you've been following our blog for a while, you know how important it is to clarify your message and keep things consistent on all your platforms (web, email, social media, etc.). We'd love to help you expand your reach and grow, Grow, GROW!! Contact us now!