I’ll confess that I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about post reach. So much so that I’ve done a lot of things to get that number up–adding my link in the comments, uploading a FB-friendly image rather than letting the image pull from the post, and avoiding the image entirely. I’ve had varying level of success with these methods, but the other day I realized that by focusing on reach, I’m letting FB point me right where it wants to.
I’ve been suckered.
A couple of years ago you could post something on FB and depend on it to stay in the news feed for a good long while–those times have changed. There are more people on Facebook and more businesses, and events, and groups, and who knows what else and all of these things are vying for a piece of the newsfeed. It’s a crowded landscape and more people are jumping in every day.
So reach is going to go down. And it’s going to keep going down. The truth is that as more people join any social network, the more the reach of an individual post will go down. In fact, the real problem isn’t that reach is going down–it’s that we’ve gotten lazy. When talking to businesses I would always advise them to start with Facebook because it’s easier. Posts on Facebook used to hang for a good long while and if you get good interaction, they’ll stay up even longer. The problem with networks like Twitter and Instagram is that new things quickly bump old things out of the way. You have to post multiple times a day to keep up with people. You need to interact and comment–you can’t just leave something up and wait for other people to see it. Do you have any idea what the “reach” of your Twitter posts are? I’m guessing not terribly high. Twitter doesn’t bother telling us that, though. Facebook does. Why? So we can freak out and start buying boosts to make sure we’re getting enough “reach.”
Reach is pointless though. Well, the reach of individual posts is pointless. You need to focus on Talking About (or TAB).
TAB is a count of all the people who have interacted with your page in the last 7 days–a much more meaningful number than the people that saw an individual post. Looking is great, but interaction is what drives a page’s community and what helps get your posts in front of more people. There are added benefits to focusing on interaction as well. For example, I can ask a discussion question on Facebook with no links and I WILL see an uptick in traffic at the same time. Being in people’s minds in enough. People will also come over to your page and like other things that they missed before. Interaction is key.
You should still share links. You might need to share them more than once, though. You also want to ask questions and share photos and do things that drive interaction. Talking About is the only metric about your page that’s public–other people can see it. And most importantly, it gives you a much larger picture than staring at one metric for one post. If you want to know how effective an individual post is, take the number of people that it “reached” and divide it by the number of times the direct page was viewed. That lets you know if you have something people want to read and Facebook doesn’t share that metric at all (or seem to care about it).
As I focus on TAB I find that my reach on individual has improved as well. TAB is more work, but that’s where social is heading–best get on board now.