Are These Common Mistakes Killing Your Facebook Reach?

5 min read · 7 years ago


There’s no denying that Facebook reach is at an all-time low. According to recent research by reporting firm Locowise, the average organic reach of a brand post is between five and 11 percent of total likes. This means that for every 100 fans you have, your posts are probably only reaching around seven or eight of them.

But while organic post reach is certainly low, it’s not quite as bad as some marketers and business owners believe. It’s still possible to get your organic posts seen by your fans, and Facebook reach isn’t dead. The problem is that many page owners are relying on ineffective strategies when posting, and then are continually surprised when their posts flop.

Keeping your post reach and visibility up isn’t rocket science, but it does mean avoiding certain “reach killers.” This post will look at a number of common mistakes that may be killing your Facebook reach.

Posting the Same Types of Content Again and Again

Starbucks Facebook post

Post a variety of content to keep engagement up

Posting blog links again and again is more than just boring; it may actually be hurting your overall reach. Social media strategists often talk about how social media is about dialogue, not about broadcasting your message. While brands used to be able to get away with having a one-sided conversation (think billboards, TV ads, etc.), social media has levelled the playing field significantly.

Remember that users are on Facebook largely to socialize with friends and family, so whatever you post will be competing with cousin Susie’s wedding photos. While posting links may get you the occasional click, using this strategy exclusively is unlikely to get you the reach you’re after.

Make sure you’re regularly posting a variety of useful and entertaining content, such as:

  • Questions
  • Surveys and polls
  • Feedback requests
  • Inspirational or motivational images and quotes
  • Personal stories or anecdotes
  • Discounts or coupon codes

If you’re looking for inspiration, keep an eye on what your competitors are posting. One way to do this is through the Pages to Watch feature found in Facebook Insights. Here’s a great article that walks you through how to use it to find new content ideas.

Posting Too Much Promotional Content

Facebook promotional post

Example of overly-promotional post

Posting promotional content on Facebook has always been tricky, but it’s become even more challenging since Facebook’s recent move to limit the reach of promotional posts (not to be confused with paid promoted posts). This change has meant organic posts that push a product or service without offering the proper context no longer receive decent reach in users’ feeds. Facebook defines a promotional post as:

  • Posts that push a product with offering context (e.g. “Buy our fancy new product by clicking this link”)
  • Posts that push people to enter a contest
  • Posts that use the same content as an ad

Facebook isn’t saying that posting promotional content is wrong, or that it won’t receive any visibility. What they are saying is that we need to do a better job of making our promotional content interesting. Provide context by telling a story or by discussing the problem your product solves. Implementing a great backstory can make even the driest sales pitch interesting and engaging.

Failing to Use Images

Marketers talk incessantly about the importance of images on Facebook, and with good reason. We’ve also seen evidence that multiple photo posts (i.e. photo albums) can be even more effective; as we saw when MTV Roadies used the strategy and increased photo clicks by a whopping 1,290 percent.

MTV Roadies' Facebook photo albums receive more clicks

Image courtesy of PageLever 

Be sure to include photos with all your posts, even if it’s just to claim your fair share of real estate in your fans’ feeds. Text-only posts will rarely be able to compete with large, eye-catching images, no matter how great your content may be.

Posting What You Want, Rather Than What Your Fans Want

This is another common mistake, and one that can have a serious impact on reach. Many business owners believe they have their finger on the pulse of what their audience wants to hear. They think coming up with social media content is more about common sense than about research, and this belief kills engagement time and time again.

The best way to figure out what your fans actually want is to regularly consult your Facebook Insights. Take a look at which types of posts (images, videos, links, etc.) are getting the most reach and engagement, and post them more often. Drill down further to figure out which topics or themes are getting the most traction with your audience: are there certain topics that seem to strike a nerve? In terms of text posts, which ones get the most likes and comments: questions, polls or stories?

Facebook Insights reach

Screen capture from Facebook Insights

Cross-Posting the Same Content on Various Social Networks

I understand the allure of cross-posting between networks. It can save you signifiant time and expense to re-use content. Unfortunately, this strategy is also very likely killing your Facebook reach.

For starters, the way in which we use each network can be very different. For instance, while hashtags are the norm on Twitter or Instagram, they’re generally not used on Facebook. Automatic cross-posting can also lead to embarrassing snafus, like this one by NBC Right Now (in case you missed it, this was posted to Twitter):

Cross posting mistake, Facebook and Twitter

Cross promoting your content may seem like a good idea initially, until you realize that users of different networks tend to consume and interact with content differently. And when your Facebook fans realize you’re just re-posting the same old stuff from Twitter, don’t be surprised to see your Facebook reach plummet.

If you can avoid the mistakes above, you’re well on your way to increasing your Facebook reach. Post a variety of interesting content (especially photos) and pay attention to your insights and be mindful of the platform you’re using. Facebook, for instance, should be used intentionally and in a way that meets the needs of your audience. These are the strategies that will keep you from inadvertently killing your reach.

John Rampton is the founder of Palo Alto, California-based Due, a free online invoicing company specializing in helping businesses bill their client easily online. You can connect with him @johnrampton.

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