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Annalese Sharrock

Annalese Sharrock Strategic Director

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    Why Facebook is no longer working for businesses like it was … and how to fix it

    You’ve got to be on Facebook, they said. It’s free advertising, they said. Every time I post I boost my sales by another 10%, they said. That sort of organic success may have been the case for some businesses back in the gold rush early days of Facebook, but now organic reach is an uphill struggle for most businesses where your credit card seems to be the only way to cut through the noise.

    Never fear, however, because there is a way to get the infamous Facebook algorithm working for you. But, first, a graph …

    This graph outlines the organic reach (in terms of percentage of a page’s audience reached) of brands measured by digital agency Bonsey Jaden (in Asia/Pacific). It makes for sad reading.

    Essentially it shows a 78% decline in organic reach over four years … and we were only sitting at 5.4% to begin with! So, on average, when a business posted in 2018 only 1.2% of their audience saw the post. That is ludicrously low. And the bad news is that stats this year so far are showing a further drop in organic reach.

    So, what’s gone wrong with Facebook?

    With 1.59 billion people checking Facebook daily (June 2019) there are plenty of eyeballs on there. But remember that each of those users are also creating content, meaning you’re competing with 1.59 billion other voices, let alone all the other businesses and advertisers on there.

    In early 2018, Facebook responded to this cluttering of the news feed with a commitment to prioritise posts from friends and family, saying that they will “prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people”. Unfortunately, this means that your post about a new product launch or a half-price sale are getting pushed to the bottom of the feed, being seen by fewer and fewer people.

    What can we do?

    Firstly, we need to listen to Facebook’s advice. 

    Take note of the wording in that quote above: “spark conversations and meaningful interactions”.

    This is the secret sauce to maintaining successful reach on Facebook. Instead of talking at people, in a broadcast mode, we need to become the conduit for meaningful interactions by asking the right questions and sharing engaging content. Success on social media needs starts with being social.

    To create meaningful interactions we need to know our audience incredibly well. We need to know their likes and dislikes, we need to know how they speak and what content they respond to (some prefer stories, some videos, some long form live content, others photos). And we need to adopt the sort of language that says “I’m here to spark conversation” and not just here to shout, “You should buy my product!”

    Secondly, we need to get strategic. 

    Facebook loves consistency. Think of your favourite pages that you follow, most likely they have a consistent quality to their posts that you consistently like and engage with. Facebook listens to your appreciation of these posts and responds by favouring that page in your feed for their future posts.

    This cycle of engagement-leading-to-preferrential-position-leading-to-engagement is the holy grail for gaining ongoing organic reach. But it all falls down when a businesses posts a poor quality post (meaning one that doesn’t spark conversations)—Facebook will punish the business for this post. So, it’s important that you have a solid strategy and game plan in place to make sure you keep generating content that ticks the boxes as far as Facebook’s algorithm is concerned. Every time you do so, Facebook notices and props up your future posts.

    Our social media training is specifically designed to help businesses understand their audiences and create a strategic game plan that is designed to work with the Facebook algorithm, not against it.

    Contact Hayden Shearman for more info about 1:1 social media coaching and click here for our next Social Media Training Workshop.  


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