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You can get free marketing on Facebook. It may be a challenge to effectively advertise to your customers on Facebook, but it certainly is not impossible.
With some hard work and determination, you can learn a lot about the way your Facebook audience reacts to the things your company has to say. This information will reveal the trends that you can use to expand your customer base and get more from your social media marketing.
Introducing Facebook Reach
On Facebook, your company’s ability to get a message to an audience is called Reach. There are two main type of Facebook reach: page reach and post reach. Post reach has to do with how many people saw a particular post, how many likes and shares the post got, and how many people responded to the post.
Page reach, also referred to as total reach, is something different. A person who finds your company’s Facebook page through an Internet or Facebook search, but does not interact with any of your posts, would only count towards your total reach. If a person reads 10 of your posts, then that person would only show up as one view on your total reach.
For your post reach, a view is logged for each unique person who looks at your posts. If the same person looks at one post 10 times, then that person is considered to be one view. However, if that person looked at 10 of your posts in one day, then that person would count as one view on each of those posts.
There are three types of post reach: organic, viral, and paid. When you look at the statistics on your Page Insights, you will only see statistics for organic and paid reach. That is because Facebook groups organic and viral reach together. However, there is also a summary chart that shows likes, shares, and comments for each day or each post. That is your viral reach. You want to separate viral and organic reach for reasons I will soon explain.
By keeping track of the posts you put up on each day, you can get a good idea as to which information is going viral, and which information is not.
What Is Organic Reach?
Organic reach is defined as the number of unique people who see your post on their feeds without you having to pay for that exposure. Facebook has complete control over this, and as expected, organic reaches are rapidly declining. Your organic reach is only going to be around 16 percent of your total number of fans, and Facebook constantly changes the way those 16 percent are distributed.
It can be soul-crushing for a business owner to learn that only 16 percent of their fan base is getting the company’s marketing message, but it really is not as bad as you may think. It only takes a handful of people to get your post more free exposure. How? With viral reach, of course.
Viral Reach Is Effective And Free
Viral reach is the kind of reach you get when your posts get liked or shared. Facebook has started to group viral and organic reach together, which is fine. Except that they really are two different things. You have no way of expanding your organic reach because it is completely up to Facebook. But you can affect the viral reach of your posts by getting more likes or shares.
When Facebook reports viral reach numbers, it is telling you how many people inside and outside of your fan base have interacted with your posts. If you have a fan base of 300 people and you post a picture that gets 1,000 likes, then your viral reach was strong on that picture.
Facebook makes it a no-no to get extra likes or shares by offering incentives for them. In other words, you cannot get a ton of shares on your post because you offered a free gift to everyone who shared it. But that should not stop you from using organic and viral reach to your advantage.
It’s Nice To Be Engaged
Facebook also has a statistic called “Engagement” for your posts. Engagement is the number of people who shared, liked, commented, or clicked a link on your page. When people share a post, that is when it can go viral. You want to do everything you can, within the Facebook guidelines, to encourage sharing.
The best way to separate engagement and viral reach is to remember that engagement is the total number of likes, shares, and comments each post gets in your organic reach. Viral reach is the activity your posts get as a result of being shared or liked by someone that is not part of your fan base. So when you post something and it gets shared, then that is engagement. When that share gets a like from someone not in your fan base, then that is viral reach.
Your engagement rate is a good number to use to determine which posts are getting traction and which are not. Between organic reach, viral reach, and engagement, you have the combination you need to get your message out to a huge audience on Facebook.
Organic & Viral Reach: A Winning Combination
When you want to reach a large audience with your Facebook posts without paying a fee, you have to pay close attention to how your posts perform. Since you have no control over organic reach, except for adding more fans, it’s best to focus on your viral reach and your engagement rates.
Since it doesn’t cost you anything to post content, you can start experimenting to see what kinds of content gets the most engagemnet. Is your fan base reacting more to pictures or words? Are your videos being shared? What kinds of posts are getting shared and liked most often? Remember that when a post is shared, it has a good chance of reaching someone who is not part of your fan base. This gets you exposure to an entirely new audience that you didn’t have to pay for.
Keep track of what kinds of content have the highest engagement rates and then use that information to create powerful marketing posts. Remember to follow the Facebook page guidelines to make sure you aren’t putting content out there that will get your page shut down.
Is Paid Reach Necessary?
Paid reach is when you pay to boost a post. You will see the “boost post” button on the bottom right corner of the dialogue box after you publish your post. When you press that button, Facebook will tell you how much you can pay to have your post seen by a huge audience.
As you can see from the image, you can either have your post boosted to your existing fan base, or you can expand your target audience to include people within a certain demographic. If you do not have a large fan base, then boosting outside your fan base would be a great way to increase the number of people who like your page. If people from that boosted audience like your page, then this would help to increase your organic reach as more likes for your page means more people who would see your posts for free.
It can be expensive to boost even a single post, so you should limit your use of paid reach. You can put up free posts all day long that are designed to get great viral reach and expand your marketing efforts, but you can use paid reach to enhance the exposure of really big announcements. When you combine viral and paid reach together in one post, you could be reaching an enormous Facebook audience.
Plan Your Facebook Marketing Accordingly
It is possible to get expanded marketing exposure on Facebook without paying for it. By studying your viral reach, you can create posts that will be seen by more than just 16 percent of your fan base. You can choose to use viral reach exclusively, or you can combine viral reach with paid reach and really expand your exposure. The choice is yours.
Now that you know how to use viral reach to expand your marketing exposure, do you think paying to boost your Facebook post is worth it?