We’ve all heard the question:
“How do I reach my Facebook fans without paying to do it?”
Here’s how the story goes:
1) Marketers built up their Facebook pages by obsessing over Likes, only to realize they don’t have fans.
2) Now they’re fed up, in some cases leaving altogether because of Facebook’s assault on organic reach.
Because ultimately, people come to Facebook for entertainment and escape, not to be constantly sold.
Fans will “leave the party” not by unliking a page, but by repeatedly scrolling right on by your content.
You see, Facebook’s algorithm is like an aggressively weird bouncer who decides for you and your guests who will remain at your party.
If Fans don’t interact (Comments, Shares, Link Clicks, etc.), pretty soon they don’t see your posts anymore.
Understanding The Guests
First, every Facebook party includes three types of guests:
- The Hardcore Fan (“Besties”) – Your besties will come to the party and stay there no matter what. Think of your worst performing posts that reach and engage the smallest number of fans — that’s your core.
- Fan Only If Content Is Good (“Acquaintances”) – These people might stop by and stay if they are having fun. They could be your new best friends if the content gets them repeatedly interacting again. They see only your average performing posts.
- Fan That Stopped Caring Because Content Isn’t Engaging (“Castoffs”) – These are people you used to know, and sadly, most pages have the most fans in this bucket. These days, your Castoffs only see a post when it’s highly proven through the interactions of the first two types of fans.
Now that we’re all in the party mood (pass the bacon-wrapped cocktail weiners), I’ll tell you about the blowout every business wants to throw. This is the party that creates what we call The Gatsby Effect.
As you likely know, in The Great Gatsby a rich man throws lavish parties… but doesn’t need to invite anyone. Over time, the rumors of his soirees get out and eventually everyone is showing up.
Now for the nerdy part
The key to creating The Gatsby Effect and driving more reach in Facebook is getting fans interacting at a high rate (shoot for an average of 8% per post).
If you’re consistently engaging fans at that rate, your content will begin to reach more fans more regularly, which will extend more frequently into their networks (Think “Ryan commented on a story…”).
All of those interactions create a data trail, which can be analyzed and used to optimize your content to drive more fans and their connections to have what the weird bouncer calls a stronger “Affinity” with your page.
At a minimum, you’ll want to measure Average Engagement Rate Per Post and Average Fans Reached Per Post. Do this at least monthly (weekly is better).
Then identify the types of posts with a higher engagement rate and higher organic reach.
Start testing more posts like those.
Part of this will mean pivoting to content where fans give your page the heavier weighted interactions (Shares, Link Clicks, Comments, Video Views) that help drive “Affinity” with fans, and ultimately produce greater lift in your organic fan reach.
Your fans with the highest “Affinity” with your page are your Besties. We want to create as many of them as possible.
UPDATE: When you know a post will only be interesting to a subset of your fans, Facebook now has a desktop feature to allow you to target fans by their interests.
Now that you have a rager going…
Once your party is in full swing, only then should you consider paying to invite The Neighbors.
The Neighbors (Paid Likes) – This is where you target ideal fans, who would love to join in if they only got an invitation.
Through regular posts that create high-value interactions at a higher rate, you can reconnect with Castoffs, turn Acquaintances into Besties, and The Gatsby Effect will bring more people in all the time. When everyone’s having fun, if it makes sense for your business, then pay to invite the Neighbors.
If you think of your page as a party, and you take care to make it a good one each time you post, you will be well on your way to more Besties and Gatsbies before you know it.
Want a visual assessment of your Facebook party using GoKart Labs’ proprietary tool, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.