Facebook Fanpages: Why We’re All Wrong About Organic Reach

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Recently Jon Loomer published a great post about organic reach on Facebook. In this post he carefully explains why organic reach of Facebook Pages is NOT dead. Never was.

Facebook is concentrating on giving your content to the people most likely to enjoy it and interact with it. Jon explains the relation between organic reach and content in a lot of detail and I urge you to read his original post – it’s a brilliant post. But anyway, here are my two cents.

Jon is right of course – but maybe he doesn’t go far enough. When we are talking about organic reach on Facebook, isn’t it a slightly limited point of view to just talk about Fanpages?

Facebook is in many ways a condensed version of what the real world society is like. Word of mouth marketing existed long before Facebook and long before Social Media in general. But word of mouth marketing back then didn’t happen in the store of a brand. It happened when you showed off your shiny new iPod to your friends.

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With organic reach it’s the same thing: It doesn’t just exist on Fanpages. It happens everywhere on Facebook.

Let me give you an example of what I mean: Maybe you decide to share this post on Facebook. A couple of your friends will click on the post and read it. That is organic reach how I see it.

When we are complaining about declining organic reach on Facebook we assume that the primary goal of Fanpages for companies is to drive traffic. But we drive a lot of traffic through Facebook already.

For Me This Changes Everything!

When you look at it this way, you might view Facebook Fanpages in a slightly different light.

Facebook already is a place where people can talk about your content. If someone does like this article, the fanpage of The Social Ms doesn’t simply provide us a way to fire a constant stream of more content at him. Instead, it gives him a way to stay in touch with us.

A Facebook Fanpage is the digital equivalent of the cafe inside a shopping mall: If people like the shops in the mall, a nice and cosy cafe will give them another reason to go there. If you don’t need or want to go to the shops you won’t go to the cafe either.

When you look at the performance of your Facebook Fanpage you should keep that in mind. When your Facebook Fanpage isn’t driving traffic to your site, maybe what you should look at first is whether you are getting traffic to your page from Facebook at all?

Because when you are not getting traffic from Facebook anyway, why should you get more traffic from your Fanpage. When your Facebook audience doesn’t like your content why should they see it?

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Facebook isn’t a one-stop-solution for all your traffic and conversion problems. It was never intended to be. Facebook doesn’t owe you traffic – but they are pretty damn willing to give you traffic when your content interacts with your audience.

Who Needs a Facebook Fanpage Anyway?

Does every business need a Facebook presence? Maybe not.

When you decide to go the Facebook route you need to optimize your content for Facebook and even more important for your audience on Facebook. And by optimization, I don’t mean a simple optimization like posting images.

What you need is content that relates to your target audience.

And actually I don’t think that the form of the content matters as much as people like to believe: When your article works well with your target audience, you will drive traffic from Facebook – whether you post the link next to an image or not. Of course, the amount of traffic will vary – and I won’t claim the form of the post doesn’t matter at all. But it doesn’t matter as much as you think.

That also means that real optimization on Facebook is a lot harder to achieve than many people claim. Because creating quality content that really relates to your audience is a lot harder to achieve.

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So whether you decide to go the Facebook route or not is entirely up to you. But when you want to achieve success on Facebook you also need to go the optimization route.

Facebook Fanpages are not the fast way to success. But they can be worth it.

So, What’s the Takeaway from this Post?

Ok, maybe this post didn’t have that much actionable insight until now. Sorry. But let me try to turn this into advice you can use – here is what I hope you will learn from this post:

  • Facebook Fanpages are not the only source of traffic from Facebook
  • When your content doesn’t drive traffic from Facebook at all, why should it drive traffic from a Fanpage?
  • You should measure your content performance on Facebook in general, not Fanpage specific
  • Your Facebook Fanpage is not equivalent to a newsletter
  • Not every business absolutely needs a Fanpage – but when you want a Fanpage to perform well – you need your content to relate to your audience on Facebook!

What do you think? Does this make sense – or do you believe that Facebook owes you to reach all your fans with every post on your Fanpage?

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When we are complaining about declining organic reach on Facebook Fanpages we misunderstand the concept of organic reach. facebook marketing

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