Posts are up, engagement is down: The reality of Facebook for business
User engagement on Facebook dropped more than 50% while posts have increased 24% (an extra 20,000 per day), in the last 18 months, according to Buffer App and BuzzSumo in a recent analysis Facebook for business.
Their study analysed the top 20,000 brands using Facebook for business and evaluating over 43 million of their posts. These findings are very alarming and a clear result of previous changes made to the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm aiming to give users more ‘meaningful social interactions’ and encourage ‘meaningful reactions between people’.
While this was a wise move for Facebook to remain relevant following scandals, clickbait and meaningless content flooding the platform, pages were greatly affected. This effort to reinvigorate the platform resulted in creating a challenging space for brands to reach their audiences’ and increased competitiveness between pages to simply be seen.
For many companies and brands with small pages, 2018 saw a big hit to the distribution of content on the platform. We put these findings to the test and measured our results against those found by Buffer App and BuzzSumo.
Starting in the new financial year we amplified the frequency of posts on our Facebook page and increased the diversity of our content. Here’s the key findings and reality of Facebook for business as 2018 draws to a close.
Reach continues to fall
The least surprising find was confirmation of what we all knew was coming: organic reach is falling. And while we all made attempts to avoid this, it was inevitable; once it started falling it continued to fall.
Organically we saw a decrease of 25% in average reach from January and February to July and August with a number of posts individually falling 50%. And comparatively between organic and paid posts there was a clear difference.
What we found alarming was the lack of consistency with paid posts. The amount of money wasn’t assured with the results of reach, likes, comments and clicks, often falling short on the estimated results provided by Ad Manager (recently resulting in a class action lawsuit).
This was seen in the discrepancies between posts of the same spend, some differing by 6% upwards of 70%.
Drive emotion to drive engagement
While we did find a dramatic decrease in reach, of both organic and paid posts, one content type that began to thrive was presenting company culture. Whether celebrating birthdays, our staff planning day or just an event in the office, putting a face to our organisation drove engagement.
This supports findings from leading content marketing expert Robert Rose who attributes successful content to presenting empathy and emotion among your audience. People want to see something they can relate to, in essence, it’s taking the same approach as influencer marketing.
This expands beyond just meaningful images, this can directly fuel written and video content. Show your audience you understand them and the questions they’re seeking answers to.
Competition is fierce and only getting tougher
While 20,000 pages were measured in this study, totalling 43 million posts (8 million per day), this is just the tip of the iceberg. Measured in early 2018, there are over 60 million business pages (Sprout Social) on the platform and every minute there’s over 54,000 links posted (Sprout Social).
These numbers reveal the reality of Facebook for business and showcases the sheer amount of noise that communicators have to compete with daily. Through the decrease of a posts’ lifespan, the window for its visibility in the newsfeed also decreases.
Spending money isn’t always the answer – as we found, money isn’t necessarily the easy answer, especially when competing with pages who have social media budgets much larger than yours.
If you do pay-to-play – target the people that like your page, use Ad Manager to turn your attention to users that liked your page but no longer see your content.
Be strategic, be smart – post content relevant to your audience, understand what they want and give that to them.
Quality assurance – make sure everything you post is of value and high quality, don’t focus on filling a frequency quota. Create and share content you’re proud of and that represents your image.
Blend online and offline – when struggling to reach your target or ideal audience, there are plenty of valuable alternatives to social media, think outside the box to reach your target audience.
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The Content Communication Masterclasses is a learning opportunity to connect organisational capability and innovative communication. Through access to our evidence-based tools and techniques, it shares a user-focused, citizen-centric approach to communication, changing how we communicate with audience and stakeholders through strategic communication.
This is a great opportunity to bring new ideas back to your team combining the principles of project management and strategic communication.
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Also published on Medium.
Fortnightly a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.
26 November, 2019