Ah, Facebook organic reach. No other subject in social media marketing has caused as much controversy… or as many headaches.
While the obvious answer is to devote more time and money to paid Facebook ads, there’s still hope for your organic posts. You can embrace the algorithm, reach a wide audience, and make Facebook an effective distribution channel for your organic content.
How? By following these 15 essential tips. Click the links below to skip to each tip, or just keep on scrolling.
But first—what does reach mean on Facebook?
Before we dive into all these tips to boost organic reach, we just want to make sure we’re on the same page.
In general, reach on social media refers to how many people saw a post. This is different from impressions, which refers to how many times a post was seen overall and counts multiple views from the same user. That’s why reach is sometimes called ‘unique impressions’.
However, there are several different types of reach on Facebook and we want to be clear about which one we’re talking about here.
First, there’s Page reach and post reach.
Page reach, also called total reach on Facebook Insights, is a metric that tells you how many unique users looked at any content related to your Facebook Page in a given time period.
Post reach, meanwhile, is the number of unique users who saw a specific post you made.
Within post reach, there is organic reach and paid reach. Organic reach is the number of people who saw a post that was not boosted with ad money, while paid reach is the number of people who saw a post because you paid to promote it.
The tips we’ll be giving in this article are about how to increase organic reach on your posts, but increasing your post reach will naturally contribute toward your total Page reach as well.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, on to the tips!
1. Mix up your post formats
Our first tip for extending your organic reach on Facebook is to test out a wide variety of post types.
If you mostly post images and your reach has been falling off lately, try creating a few videos and see how they perform. If your videos aren’t getting the same reach they used to, try making link posts that highlight content your audience will love.
Even if you’re getting decent reach by regularly using the same Facebook post types, trying new ones will keep your content flow fresh and engaging for your audience. Plus, you might find there are post formats on Facebook that perform even better.
While Facebook has never officially confirmed it, many social media marketers believe that they prioritize posts in new formats in the News Feed, getting them more reach. Trying out recently-invented post types like 360 video or Facebook Stories may have an added benefit if the algorithm prefers new formats.
Most social media managers know about standard Facebook post formats like images, text, and videos, but there are a crazy number of available post formats on Facebook at this point.
There are no wrong answers here. By tracking the average reach of posts in each format over time, you can gain an understanding of which types are the most relevant to your audience and end up in their News Feeds most often.
2. Go live and be authentic!
Speaking of trying out new Facebook post types, we highly recommend working with live video content and Stories.
Live video is unique in that it creates a genuine sense of community in the comments section. Everyone is sharing the same experience at the same time, so they all have a common touchpoint to connect over.
And with the Facebook algorithm update prioritizing posts that generate more “meaningful interactions”, more interactions means more organic reach.
So create live video content and Stories that resonate with your audience and get the audience to start conversations in the comments. This will help your organic reach grow as a result.
3. Use eye-catching images and videos
Having visually appealing content is essential to standing out in people’s increasingly crowded News Feeds. That’s why a recent survey found that over 60% of marketers think visual content is crucial for their social media strategy.
And that’s not just in their heads—Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times as much engagement as those without images. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Plus, posts that get more engagement get elevated in users’ feeds, netting them more reach as well. That’s why visual content is so important to improving the spread of your Facebook posts.
You can’t just post anything to Facebook, though. Publishing low-quality images and videos could harm your brand reputation and make you look unprofessional.
But that doesn’t mean you should avoid making visual content because you don’t have a professional photographer or videographer at your company. A smartphone camera can lend your images and videos a natural, casual look and help them fit in with other personal content in people’s News Feeds.
That being said, make sure your audio is audible, your lighting is good, and your shots are focused. When it comes to uploading videos and images with the right dimensions, we recommend referencing our Social Media Image Size Guide.
4. Find your best time to post
When you post content to Facebook matters almost as much as the content itself. If you share an amazing article at 4 AM, by the time your target audience wakes up it will already be lost at the bottom of their News Feeds.
Instead, use your Facebook analytics to determine when your fans are online. You can see peak days and times for your followers on your Page Insights in the Posts section.
If you use a social media management platform like Falcon, you can easily access data on peak hours for your fans as well.
By posting when your followers are most likely to be browsing Facebook, you increase the chances that your content shows up first in their Feed—and that means more organic reach.
However, posting at peak hours also means you’ll face more competition to get your posts seen in users’ feeds because more people will be posting at those times.
The best solution is to push out your content just before peak traffic hours so that you’re the first to have your content out when people open Facebook. For example, if Facebook Insights shows that 6 PM is high tide for your fans, try posting at 5:45 to catch the wave early.
5. Experiment with your posting tempo
Once you’ve figured out when you should be posting to Facebook, the next step is to decide on how often to post.
As with posting times, posting cadence depends on your audience—there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your organic reach largely depends on how willing your followers are to engage with your content quickly and enthusiastically.
That means if your brand is posting four times a day and still engaging the followers, then the reach will stay solid. But if they get tired of interacting with your content after one post, it can help your reach to dial it back a little.
The key here is to experiment with how often you post and then track your Facebook post analytics to see how each posting cadence affects your organic reach.
Try setting up a few tests that run for at least two weeks and gather data on your post performance. For instance, try posting five times a week for two weeks, then 15 times a week for two weeks, then 10 times a week for two weeks.
At the end of each two-week period, calculate the average organic reach and the engagement per post.
If your posts during the weeks when you posted five times got better average reach than when you posted 15 times, that suggests that posting less was good for your organic reach.
Try to run these tests for as long as possible on as many accounts as you can, since more data means the results will be more reliable. Once the results are in, adjust your standard posting tempo to what it was on the weeks when you got the best average reach and engagement.
If you don’t have the time or manpower to test this, Coschedule has compiled research that suggests posting one to two times a day is optimal for most brands.
6. Focus on engagement first
Do Facebook posts get high engagement because they have high reach, or do they get high reach because they have high engagement?
While this is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg question, some of the Facebook algorithm changes showed that engagement has more impact on reach than reach has on engagement.
Facebook will show your posts to more people if they inspire users to interact with each other. In particular, content that gets people talking in the comments section will see a major boost to organic reach.
So how do you motivate users to connect with each other? Ultimately, this depends on who your audience is and what they care about, but here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Include questions at the end of your posts asking people for their thoughts.
- Post about trending topics that everyone wants to weigh in on.
- Answer every single comment on your posts in a timely manner.
- Broadcast live video content and talk to your audience in real-time.
- Start an interactive poll or ‘Ask Me Anything’-style thread.
- Ask for community feedback on a new product or idea.
- Share content that tackles your audience’s emotions on Stories.
7. Never resort to engagement bait
While getting users to connect around your content is crucial to increasing organic reach on Facebook, doing it the wrong way can really hurt you.
Note that the Facebook update is not just about prioritizing posts that get a lot of engagement—it’s about elevating posts that inspire meaningful discussion and interaction.
That’s why Facebook reduces or bans your organic reach if you use manipulative tactics to fish for engagement.
Facebook calls posts using those tactics “engagement bait”, and they define them as “spammy posts on Facebook that goad [users] into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions.”
For instance, posts that say “Like if you’re a Capricorn, Love if you’re a Virgo” or “Tag a friend who likes pudding” would be considered engagement bait because they push users into padding a post’s engagement stats by begging for interactions.
Avoid making these kinds of posts for easy engagement and reach, because once the Facebook algorithm realizes you’re doing it, your whole Page will have its reach limited as a punishment.
8. Make your audience feel something
You should never beg for reactions from your followers—but you should inspire your followers to react.
One of the most effective ways to increase engagement with your posts (and therefore increase organic reach) is to appeal to your followers’ emotions. The more strongly people relate to a piece of content, the more likely they are to react, share, or comment on it.
Not every feeling encourages people to share posts, though. Harvard Business Review published a study on what emotions were most associated with viral content, and here are the key takeaways:
- Positive emotions were more common in viral posts, but posts that caused negative emotions still went viral when they created a sense of anticipation and surprise.
- Highly shared content often inspired a feeling of admiration.
- The top five emotions associated with viral content were curiosity, amazement, interest, astonishment and uncertainty.
To increase your Facebook reach and engagement, consider creating content with headlines that inspire curiosity and interest. In the content itself, include twists, fascinating facts, and surprises to keep people’s attention.
9. Start a contest
One of the best ways to get users interested in your content is to start a contest or sweepstakes on your Facebook page. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff?
You can really boost your organic reach by running a contest that encourages people to comment on your post.
For example, a caption competition where users need to provide a funny subtitle to an image you’ve posted can stimulate tons of responses and rocket your post to the top of the News Feed.
There are a number of best practices to keep in mind to make sure your content is effective. First, make sure your prize or giveaway is related to your brand so that you attract entrants who are interested in both you and the reward.
Second, encourage users to interact with the contest post, preferably by commenting. Motivating users to comment on your contest is the best way to show the Facebook News Feed algorithm that your content is engaging and thereby increase your reach.
Third, be careful that your contest post doesn’t look like engagement bait or ask users to post to personal Timelines. While Facebook states that Pages may run contests, they can’t require users to share the contest on their Timeline or their friends’ Timelines in order to participate. Pages also can’t ask users to tag their friends in the contest post or ask for a specific reaction as a condition for entry.
Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll be well on your way to running a successful contest on Facebook, raising reach and expanding your audience in the process.
10. Repurpose evergreen content
Don’t mess with success. If you have content that got a lot of reach and engagement in the past, there’s a good chance it will work again.
It takes a lot of time and resources to create a great video or blog article, so there’s no reason not to repurpose high-quality evergreen content.
Very often, articles that didn’t get massive Facebook reach when they were first shared, become successful the second time around.
This is partly because reposting quality content gives you a chance to learn from what you did right or wrong the first time you shared it. Maybe your copy or your headline could have been catchier. Maybe you posted at 9 AM originally when 3 PM would have gotten you more reach.
Think of repurposing as a second chance for posts with high potential and a comeback tour for the ones that were already big hits. In either case, you’ll get more reach and gain findings you can use to improve your social media strategy.
Before you fish that content out of the recycling bin though, make sure it’s still fresh. Content that’s attached to a specific date, time, or current event is likely to go stale quickly.
Aim to reshare content like comprehensive guides, best practices, tips, and infographics that have a long shelf life. For best results, start with the pieces that got the highest reach.
If you want to know more, you could always check out our Guide to Repurposing Content.
11. Get verified on Facebook
You probably already know what Facebook verification is. It’s the pretty blue badge that shows up next to your Page name that proves you’re kind of a big deal.
Being verified on Facebook shows users that your Page is the official representation of your brand. This helps you stand out from fan pages and copycat accounts while establishing trust and authenticity with your audience.
Having the blue verification badge also means your Page will rank above other Pages with similar names in Facebook searches. This means, more organic reach for your brand.
Plus, people will be able to find your Page more easily and will be less likely to follow or interact with unofficial Pages instead of yours.
All in all, getting verified is definitely worth it. But what does it take to prove to Facebook that you’re worthy?
For starters, your Page needs to be complete. That means it has a cover photo, a profile pic, a name, and at least one published post.
Next, you need to make sure your Page follows all of Facebook’s terms of service.
12. Ask your followers to turn on notifications
The best way to increase your organic reach on Facebook is to work with the Facebook algorithm to get your posts to the top of your followers’ News Feeds.
But what if there was a way to make sure your followers saw all your posts without the algorithm’s involvement?
As it turns out, there is. On your Facebook Page, there’s a setting your followers can select to make sure they see everything you post.
We recommend mentioning this to your followers in the copy of a major piece of content like a hit video or article. Once they’ve already enjoyed your post, they’ll be excited to follow your Page more closely.
Just make sure you specify exactly how they can turn on notifications and prioritize your posts in their News Feed.
By asking your followers to turn on notifications and see your posts first in their News Feed, you’re guaranteed to see an increase in organic reach.
13. Get your team engaged
With Facebook focusing more and more on meaningful interaction between private users, it’s now tough for brand Pages to fit in. A good way to boost your reach is to encourage other people in your company to engage with and share your posts.
Here’s how some statistics on how branded messages get 561% more reach on average when shared by employees instead of company Pages.
By getting your coworkers to share your content, you’ll get a much wider audience. And because the content is coming from someone they know, that audience will be more likely to actually consume and engage with it.
In addition to sharing branded content with their own networks, your colleagues can also help out by commenting on your posts, especially right after you publish them.
A large number of post interactions straight away signals to the Facebook algorithm that you’ve got interesting content and pushes it in front of more eyeballs.
How can you actually motivate your coworkers to share company posts, though? Here are a few tips:
- Share links to important Facebook posts in company communications channels like Slack, Skype, etc.
- Offer an incentive or prize to the top employee advocate of the month.
- Brief new employees on your social media presence and encourage them to follow and interact with your Facebook Page.
For more advice on getting your teammates engaged, here’s How to Harness the Untapped Power of Employee Advocacy.
14. Optimize your link posts
If you share content on Facebook, you probably do it via link posts. What you may not know is that Facebook checks out the quality of your links and moves your links posts higher or lower in user’s News Feeds based on that.
For example, Facebook announced back in 2017 that they would start prioritizing link posts that lead to fast-loading pages. On the other hand, they also penalize posts that link to slow landing pages.
Page speed isn’t the only factor that affect how high your posts get placed in the News Feed, though. Facebook also penalizes link posts with “clickbaity” headlines.
On top of that, link posts that lead to “low-quality web page experiences” such as a lack of actual content, excessive or disruptive ads, or sexual/shocking images will have their rank decreased as well.
Facebook also considers how many people click on the link and then engage with the post afterward. If more people engage after seeing the linked content, that’s a signal they liked it or at least found it interesting.
If you follow these guidelines for your link posts, they’ll end up at the top of people’s feeds and fetch you tons of organic reach. So don’t link to clickbait or spammy pages, keep your website’s load times low and share links your audience will find relevant and engaging.
15. Try user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) on Facebook is all the rage, but it’s more than just a passing trend.
If a user likes your brand enough to create content featuring it, that’s a major trust signal to other users. People are just more interested in content their friends and family produce than branded messaging.
That means more engagement, and as you may have picked up by now, this means higher organic reach.
To get people excited about making UGC that involves your brand, try one of these ideas:
- Invite people to write reviews of your products on Facebook, then share the best ones.
- Start a branded hashtag for your UGC campaign so customers can connect their content with your brand and get inspired by others’ posts.
- Launch a UGC contest asking users to post photos or videos relating to your brand for a chance to be featured on your page (or even win a prize).
If you’re looking for inspiration to start your own user generated content campaign, have a look at the 7 Best User Generated Content Examples From Brands on Facebook.
Bonus tip: give ads a chance
Okay, okay, so this isn’t technically a tip to increase your “organic” reach. But if your goal on Facebook is to reach as wide an audience as possible, using a relevant ad budget to boost organic posts could be just what you need.
If you want to increase organic reach on Facebook because you’re short on cash for ads, don’t worry. Depending on the content you’re promoting and who you’re targeting, you could potentially reach hundreds more users for as little as $5 or $10.
You can start by using organic Facebook posts as a testing ground to find which content is worth boosting. Observe which of your organic posts get the most views, reactions, comments, and shares, then boost the winners.
If you haven’t already, experiment with some limited ad spend to increase your Facebook posts’ reach—you may be surprised by the results.
Why increasing organic reach matters
Organic reach for brands on Facebook is like water in the desert. It’s essential, but it’s hard to get.
Keep trying new tactics, experimenting with your strategy and releasing great content and you’ll see results eventually. So keep calm and keep on posting!
If you want to learn more on how to improve your social media strategy, take a look at our guide.
And if you are looking for inspiration on digital trends in 2021, we’ve got you covered with this handbook.