Social media has become a hugely significant aspect of online marketing. A refined social media strategy is often one of the most effective ways to reach millions of people, increase brand awareness, and engage with customers. It’s also relatively cost-effective for businesses, particularly in the context of organic reach. However, thanks to recent algorithm changes across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there’s been a serious decline in organic impressions. So, unless you’re prepared to put money behind every social post for your business, it’s time to adapt new strategies.

Changes to Facebook’s Algorithm

According to Facebook, organic reach refers to “how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting on your page.” Over the past few years, anyone with a Facebook Business Page will have noticed a steady decline in the number of organic impressions. Fewer and fewer people are seeing business and publisher posts, so fewer people are interacting with these posts.  

There are a couple of reasons for the decline. One reason is that there is more ad content than ever before, and it’s all competing for space on the News Feed. But the main cause for the decline is the much talked about changes to Facebook’s algorithm. In 2018, Facebook’s former Head of News Feed, Adam Mosseri, said that Facebook was shifting away from branded content and that the News Feed would be more focused on connecting with friends and family.

The drop in organic impressions for business and publisher-owned pages is clear. In 2012, Business Pages were reaching just 16% of their fans. In 2014, that reach dropped to 6.5% and it’s now thought to be as little as 2%. Following Facebook’s most recent algorithm changes,  2018 has seen a complete shift in the type of content that is most frequently shown in the News Feed. It’s now all about prioritizing engagement between friends and family and social content that encourages meaningful interactions between users.

Increasing Your Organic Reach on Facebook

Luckily, there are steps you can take to tackle the decline of your organic reach on Facebook. Now, more than ever before, choosing quality over quantity is crucial when it comes to publishing content. The new algorithm favours active interactions, which means commenting and sharing, over passive interactions, such as likes and clicks. So take time to create posts that encourage meaningful interactions.

Targeted publishing is another effective way to make the most of your organic reach. On Facebook, you can target each post to a particular audience. This means that your posts will be shown to the most relevant audience for that post, making interaction more likely. To increase engagement, encourage comments on your posts by attempting to spark conversations among your fans. You could do this by including questions in your posts or publishing posts on relevant, current topics.

Focusing on live video is another important strategy for 2018 and beyond. Videos still perform better than static posts under the new Facebook algorithm, and live video is even more effective. Just make sure the content of your videos is valuable and relevant to your audience.

Maximizing Organic Reach on Instagram

In 2016, Instagram announced controversial changes to how users would see content from other users. The platform moved away from its reverse-chronological feed and introduced a new, algorithm-based feed. Prior to the change, users saw the most recent posts first when they logged into the app. But now, each user has a unique feed, based on prior engagement, relationships and timing.

To ensure that you’re still reaching as many of your Instagram followers as possible, encouraging engagement is crucial. When users comment on or like a post, this signals to the algorithm that they want to see more of your posts in the future. Focus on posting high-quality visuals with interesting captions. Instagram users are interested in seeing newer content, so the algorithm still factors in how recent a post is. To maximize the benefits of the time factor, take a look at your Instagram insights. Using these analytics, it’s possible to work out the best time to post, as you’ll see when most of your users are online.

Creating an Effective Twitter Strategy

With some 9 million monthly users, Twitter is still an excellent way to reach a global audience and develop meaningful connections. When developing an effective social media marketing strategy, this is a platform that’s certainly worth including. Currently, Twitter’s algorithm-based timeline highlights the best tweets users missed while they were away from Twitter, along with some other recommendations. But the rest of the timeline is based on reverse-chronology. Twitter also highlights tweets from accounts that users interact with the most and shows tweets gathered from accounts that are part of a list curated by the users.

To improve your organic reach on Twitter, there are a number of steps you can take. Using hashtags can make your tweets more discoverable and it is a great way to reach people who don’t already follow you. Tweets with images get 313% more engagement that tweets without images, so it’s important to use photos and info-graphics. Video is particularly effective on Twitter, as tweets with video receive 2.5 times more replies and 2.8 times more retweets. Polls and competitions are also effective tools to encourage engagement.

Conclusion – Steps You Can Take

The organic reach of social media platforms is continuously declining and the focus on paid-for content is increasing. However, there are steps you can take to maximize your organic reach across all social platforms. Focusing on creating high-quality content that encourages engagement, using more video, and diving into analytics to adapt and refine your strategy are all worthwhile steps to take.

By planning and adapting your strategies, you’ll ensure that you’re making the most of your organic reach.

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