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How to Reach Your Facebook Fans Without Paying (Too Much)

How to Reach Your Facebook Fans Without Paying (Too Much)

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Most of your Facebook fans don’t receive ANY of your posts…at all.

You would presume, of course, that if someone likes your page, they would see all your updates—but this just isn’t the case.

According to a 2011 comScore report, brands that post an average of five to seven times per week only reach about 16 percent of the fan base they have worked so hard to establish.

Facebook is only sharing your posts with fans that repeatedly return to your page, post on your page, comment on your page, or otherwise engage on your page.

Facebook’s solution to boosting your fan reach: pay to post.

PAY for the rest of your Facebook fans to see your Facebook posts.

Since the Go Be Social Media team handles all the social media marketing chores for our clients, we thought we’d take a look at this issue and suggest some ways to deal with it.

New ‘Promoted-Posts-for-Users’ Feature

By Facebook’s own admission, the free option for posting your content will never extend your reach beyond 20 percent of your fans.

On Oct. 3, 2012, Facebook began letting users in the U.S. pay a fee to boost the visibility of their postings The promoted-posts-for-users feature, which Facebook began offering as a test to a limited number of its U.S. users, ensures that a comment or photo shared by a Facebook member gets prominent billing in their friends’ newsfeeds.

“When you promote a post – whether it’s wedding photos, a garage sale, or big news – you bump it higher in your news feed so your friends and subscribers are more likely to notice it,” Facebook said in an announcement on its official blog.

Facebook’s pay-to-post format is obviously intended to increase revenue.acebook is considering a variety of prices. The current U.S. test price is $7, according to a Facebook spokesman.

Despite all this, there do exist ways to circumvent the giant social network’s cash register.

The News Feed

Your Facebook news feed (the updates in the main panel on the homepage) appear based on Facebook’s own algorithm. This is where good content will be prioritized, according to a number of factors such as:

  • How many of your friends have engaged with content
  • How popular a particular update is overall
  • Whether you have posted multimedia content such as a photo or video.

The best advice: ensure that you’re always posting good content with which people can and will interact.

Understanding the EdgeRank Algorithm

“EdgeRank” is the algorithm used by Facebook to determine the most screen-worthy content. Three factors, multiplied together, determine your content’s value:

  • Affinity
  • Weight
  • Time

The affinity score is based on how often a fan has engaged with your brand content in the past, including page visits.

Weight, or popularity, is determined by the type and quantity of engagement your post receives (e.g., Likes, comments, etc.).

Lastly, time and the decay of your post matters. As your content ages and engagement wanes, it becomes less relevant and therefore less likely to appear in a user’s news feed.

Understanding the EdgeRank algorithm is the first step for brands to improve their content strategy. In May, Mashable’s Stacey Politi wrote an article titled “5 Tips to Maximize Your Brand’s Facebook Reach.” Here are five free ways to help you expand your brand’s reach on Facebook.

  1. Know Your Audience — Study your fans to know what content they want, when they want it and the form in which they want it.
  2. Practice Brevity, Be Topical and Don’t Play Hard to Get — Studies show that lengthy Facebook content goes unread and discourages action on the part of the user. Brief, easily digestible posts make it easier for users to consume and interact.
  3. Mind Your Content — It’s still true that no matter what you try, quality content is the most important factor to expand Facebook reach. Provide your fans with valuable content to properly enable your posts to go further.
  4. Engage the Engagement — Fans love to know their favorite brands are listening, and many social media managers often overlook this. Answer questions asked in the comments section or simply say, “Thanks!” Be sure to tag the fan in your response so he’s notified of the special attention.
  5. Turn Your Fans’ Friends into Fans — Facebook Insights provides administrators with the “Friends of Fans” metric, telling admins just how many people they can potentially reach organically. Friends of fans are extremely important — they are more likely to visit a brand’s Facebook Page or website, purchase a brand’s products and become fans themselves.