25/10/2014 Matt Horne

Secrets to Increasing Organic Reach Part 1

It’s no big secret, with the frequent changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm, Page admins have seen their organic post reach slide ever closer to zero.

Research in July 2014 showed the average organic reach of a Facebook post is now below 6%, and closer to 2% for pages with more than 500,000 fans. I’ve already talked about why this isn’t really something to moan about due to everything else you can do with Facebook, but if you’re still waking up in the middle of night with cold sweats, I’ve got some secrets to help increase your organic reach with Facebook Page posts.

In this first post, I’ll look at how you can boost reach using link posts in your content plan.

The power of link posts

The old way of sharing links

It used to be that link posts on Facebook were, as a farmer might say, pretty as a duck to a mule. To get around this, it was best practice to upload a picture and put the link in the description. This helped your link stand out in the Newsfeed and gave you the chance to put a huge call to action right in front of your fans’ faces.

Then Facebook decided to change things. With a tweak of the Newsfeed algorithm and a design alteration they gave link posts a reach boost and a way more prominent look in the Newsfeed. They now came with a huge preview image and description. This was to encourage more clicks on links from fans, and to get pages to share more links to good content.

It’s simple then, to boost organic reach on Facebook, use link posts. But there’s a bit more to it than that which I’ll get on to further down.

How does it compare?

You might be wondering what kind of boost can you expect for making this tactical switch? How does 800% organic reach increase sound to you? Don’t believe me? Here comes the science part.

Using link posts can boost organic reach by 800% – fact

An experiment

To test this change in the algorithm, I scheduled some posts for a page that had just under 39,000 fans. These posts went out at the same time, but on different week days. The content and copy of each post was exactly the same, but one had the link in a photo description and one was a dedicated link post.

The photo post reached just 1,511 people and had 20 link clicks. Terrible performance really.

Meanwhile, the same content optimised as a link post reached 13,568 people and had over 240 link clicks. Now that’s something to celebrate.

Remember this is a page that had just under 39,000 fans at the time of these posts. The photo post got about a 4% organic reach, the link post a much more satisfying 35%.

But that’s not all, if you look at the finer details you’ll also see that the link post had a much higher click through rate, which was the ultimate goal of the whole post in the first place.

Case closed

There you go, simple. The secret to increasing your organic reach on Facebook is by using link posts. Or is it that simple?

Link posts still not working for you?

You might have known all of the above already. You  might have seen the algorithm tweak announcement and instantly changed all your content to link posts but still not got the reach you were looking for. Why’s it not working for you? I’ll tell you why.

Facebook’s looking at where you’re linking

Facebook is known for being a bit stalkery when collecting data, but did you know they time how long it takes you to return to Facebook after clicking on a shared link? They say it’s how they determine if the content being shared is engaging and worthy of fans eyeballs and definitely not creepy at all.

What’s that mean to you? Well it means you better make sure the page you fans land on after clicking your post is going to look good on their device, has content they want to read and is what you said you were linking to in the first place.

If you want to be awesome at internet, you’ve got to have a shit hot website that’s responsive to screen size, optimised for touch and presents your content in a pretty way.

To be awesome on the internet, you need a website that’s shit hot

So if your link posts on Facebook aren’t getting the reach you hoped for, don’t forget to take a look at where you’re actually linking to and whether people are sticking around long enough for it to make an impact.

The end?

So that’s the first secret to helping increase your organic post reach on Facebook. There are plenty of other ways to get those stats up, but I’m not going to splash all my juicy knowledge in one big load over your screen. You’ll have to check back next time to see what other ways there are to be awesome at Facebook.

But if you can’t wait that long, or you’d like to know more about how to harness the power of link posts on Facebook for your brand or company, get in touch.

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Matt Horne

Freelance digital marketing and social media consultant dedicated to making your internet awesome.