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Facebook’s dramatic organic reach reversal and what it means to you

It’s fascinating (and fun) to watch the ups and downs of some high-profile tech stocks. Sometimes they go from bad buy to impressive price faster than daytime soap opera characters morph from evil twin to great guy.

If you consider how Facebook stock took a tumble after its 2012 IPO – losing half of its value as it bottomed out at less than $20 per share – and then look at its price today of more than $130, you would suffer a case of financial market mental whiplash.

But, when it comes to Facebook, that’s not the only metric we watch; for small business owners (or any business owner, for that matter), the organic reach of posts has always been an important figure. And, just as some people dismissed the company’s stock when it tanked, some of us dismissed organic reach when it went down.

Facebook organic reach

The story over the last couple of years has been that Facebook was suppressing organic reach to boost its sale of advertising. However, news of the death of organic post reach on Facebook might be a little premature.

According to an in-depth Ignite Social Media study that analyzed post reach and engagement over a nearly two-year period, median fan reach for organic posts improved significantly between January 2016 and December 2016. In January, it was just over a half of one percent and by the end of the year it was just under 2.5 percent.

Further, average fan reach for all types of posts – links, video content, and photos – increased significantly between 2015 and 2016. By the way, according to the Ignite report, video posts rank the highest, followed by links and then photos.

This marks a distinct reversal of the widely reported Facebook trend. When Ignite looked at brand page reach earlier, they reported that between 2013 and 2014, organic reach had decreased by an average of 44 percent. Ryan Sweeney, who authored Ignite’s excellent post on the recent study, put it this way: “…it seems that Facebook organic reach is no longer dead, but is showing some signs of life.”

New enthusiasm for Facebook?

I think this is a smart move on Facebook’s part. If the social media giant wants to get more small businesses on its platform, “Step A” has to be to lure owners. Organic reach is like chumming the water; it will get SMB owners to bite and once they are “on the line” Facebook can then “upsell” them into buying ads, including Facebook dark posts (posts that are not distributed organically).

All of the articles and blogs that bemoaned the dramatic drop in organic reach couldn’t have made the folks at Facebook feel very good, and that negative publicity certainly wasn’t doing anything to recruit new business members.

However, if what Ignite has discovered holds up and this “good news” gets spread as far and wide as last year’s “bad news,” it should rekindle enthusiasm for the establishment, care, and feeding of Facebook business pages.

Exploit this change

Did you lose your drive to push Facebook in your social media marketing campaigns when you heard about the drop in organic reach? If so, take this organic reach renaissance and run with it. While I suspect Facebook will keep its reigns loosened in this area, there is no way to guarantee that, so you need to take the age-old advice to “get it while the gettin’s good!”

If you do, maybe the value of your company will trend up in a way similar to what Facebook has experienced in recent months…

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