“Organic reach is dead” and other horror stories…what now?!

“Organic reach is dead” said Mark Wright, CEO of Climb Online (and winner of ‘The Apprentice” show)  on the recent 10X Bootcamp in London  pointing at a graph showing the inverse correlation between organic reach and Facebook’s share price:

Organic reach is dead

Let’s face it, we saw it coming. Social media started off as a generous resource ‘connecting people’ and catered to user experience to attract as many users as possible – and to convince businesses that the are the most powerful marketing tool in the 21st century.

Now that we can’t imagine our lives without Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, it’s high time for social media to cut organic reach, limit visibility and thus force entrepreneurs to buy paid advertising.

We saw it first on Facebook pages which cut organic reach from 80-90% to a mere 2% a few years back.

Now it was time for Facebook groups.

Only a few months ago Facebook groups were booming as entrepreneurs realised they are a viable alternative to pages – encouraging a more engaged community spirit and higher visibility of posts.

It didn’t last very long though – I remember when – a few months after starting my DIY Marketing Guide Group – I got a notification from Facebook saying something along the lines of:

‘To make your experience on Facebook even better (sic!) we are cleaning the clutter from your wall (awww, thanks Facebook for protecting me from myself…) and so we are limiting the number of posts you see from various groups.”

As usual, Facebook vailed its profit-making strategy as acting in users’ best interest – and cut the number of impressions (especially on admin-generated posts) by something like 90%.

Building link-authority (backlinks to external websites) has become more difficult on social media than ever: both Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are favouring posts *without* external links – by cutting the number of impressions of posts with linked external content even further.

All this is intended to do two things:

  • lock users into Facebook (or: Twitter/Instagram/LinkedIn/YouTube) by discouraging users from posting links to external content, and sharing content directly in the post instead – this increases the “stickiness” of the social medium (how often the users are using them) – which is one of the key metrics of success on the social medium.
  • encourage business users to buy paid advertising (obviously to increase profits).

If social media are to survive (without making the users pay for them, which most would probably find unacceptable) – they need to find a more sustainable advertising model and limit the ‘free rides’ that businesses have been getting from them so far.

“We’ve reached an era of a less-connected web, a web focused on retaining users rather than sharing content.”

– Rand Fishkin, Sparktoro.com

If organic reach is dead…What now?!

Ok, if growing a Facebook group is painstaking and the visibility is getting lower and lower, if organic ranking in Goole with SEO is taking a forever and backlink generating is difficult as f… how can you still grow your audience and business without breaking the bank?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Email is back. Grow your subscriber’s list.

People are finally realising that growing their audience on social media is a dangerous exercise – if you don’t own it, and you can’t really influence how many people from your audience see your posts (Facebook does) – the platform you are using can basically ‘lock you out’ from your painstakingly-built audience any time. This is what largely happened with groups.

What to do instead?

Email is not dead – focus on growing your email list by creating multiple landing pages with compelling freebies.  Drive traffic to those freebies by sharing your freebie under relevant comments asking for help in Facebook groups, on LinkedIn and Facebook.

2. Facebook and Instagram ads are all the range.

organic reach is dead

Don’t use boosts – it’s also known as Facebook ‘stupidity tax’ – use Ads Manager to target your audience *properly* – this means figuring out *WHO* exactly your ideal target customer is.

E.g. for my  new ebook ‘DIY Marketing Guide’ which walks the reader how to create an effective marketing strategy for their new service business, the perfect customer would be someone who has already bought a more expensive information product / event ticket on a closely related topic – thus demonstrating willingness to spend money on business education.

Invest in a good Facebook ads expert rather than doing it all by yourself – trust me, money and time wasted on learning how to do it is just not worth it.

3. Build real connections!

Instead of posting your links left-right-and-centre, build real connections through informative posts, responding to people’s requests for help with meaningful advice, give someone a hand, comment on other people’s posts asking further questions and giving praise. Be as specific as possible. Let the group members see your personality. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable.

If you want more advice on how to create link-free posts on Facebook that will get you tons of engagement and contacts – click here.

If you want more tips on how to promote your content in the face of the social media apocalypse – watch this space or better still – sign up for our newsletter not to miss a thing!

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Emilia is a passionate SaaS marketer specializing in content marketing. She's currently the Head of Marketing at Userpilot, a Product Growth Platform for SaaS.

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