Does Facebook restrict organic reach?

In recent years, Facebook has made major changes to offer people a platform to enjoy a meaningful digital experience. Facebook quite rightly predicted this would lead to people spending less time on social media. Interestingly, the behaviour of users (when online) has changed rapidly. Users are making more value-driven decisions through social (such as making purchases) which is great news for Facebook, but bad news for organic reach.

As a Social Media Agency, businesses regularly ask us about Facebook Marketing, with a common question being “does Facebook restrict organic reach on particular words?” The short and simple answer to that is no. We’ll explain our reasons for this below which we hope you’ll find useful.

Where are we now?

Facebook has implemented new processes which can reduce a page’s organic reach. However, there are ethical tactics readily available that businesses can use to increase organic reach despite the changes to increase engagement and sales.

The approach to use on Facebook is simple but can be challenging to initially master. The steps businesses should consider taking before embarking on Facebook Marketing is to:

  • Create a solid Social Media Strategy with measurable KPIs that works alongside a multifaceted communications plan
  • Deliver meaningful and authentic content which resonates with your audience
  • Understand your customers well and build and nurture sustainable relationships with them (both online and offline)

Generating results through organic posts is possible, however, a well-researched plan, being reactive and having a commitment to social media marketing is the key to success. Not forgetting to invest in paid-for content when the time is right.

Why would Facebook reduce the organic reach of particular words?

It’s unlikely Facebook will reduce the organic reach if certain words are used. The only exceptions would be:

  • If the words/content in question violated Facebook policies
  • The page has known low authority from circulating fake news and/or using spam tactics to increase vanity metrics, for example, “like for like” chains and host “like, tag and share” giveaways

We put this question to an approved Facebook Partner to get their feedback and this was their response:

“I’ve brought this up a few times with Facebook as I have been asked several times myself. Facebook informed me that they use spam filters and a profanity filter, like what you will find in the back office of a Facebook Business Page. Posts that use words that are against Facebook rules are flagged and brought to Facebook’s attention where they look to take action. Organic words which do not violate their policies are fine. I would question the quality of the content and page if the posts weren’t performing well.”

However, if the question posed was “does Facebook restrict particular words in paid-for posts?” then the answer to this would be vastly different. Facebook has openly admitted to restricting the use of words with negative connotations even if the paid-for content in question is positive.

Experimentation with organic posts

Having been given several words which have been speculated to reduce the organic reach of a post, we decided to put them to the test by creating a post using the three-step method (discussed in the “where are we now?” section).

Here’s a glimpse of the results we received:

As you can see, the organic post was a huge success. This result was achieved by planning, creating meaningful content and understanding customer behaviour. The stats demonstrate that the five organic keywords that we were told would reduce organic reach did not affect the performance of the post.

We decided to do another post for good luck. We take great pride in crafting highly engaging content which raises awareness, engagement levels and more importantly drives traffic. This time, however, we opted to go in half-hearted with our three-step approach by putting little to no thought into the post, including publishing the content at the wrong time of day and these are the results we got:

As you can see, the figures are significantly lower than those in the first screenshot. The difference between the posts is that the first was value-driven, whilst the second wasn’t.

To conclude our experiment, we decided to do one more test by doing another value-driven post using the same five words that supposedly reduces your organic reach. Here are the results we received:

Conclusion

Despite using the five supposed words that hinder organic reach, the figures suggest that this isn’t the case when it comes to publishing organic content. The difference between the first and third posts compared to the second is the quality and action used to deliver authentic content. We conclude from the research that posts that perform well are those that offer a “meaningful digital experience”. Creating engaging content is difficult but can offer plenty of benefits.

What’s next?

If you’ve found this blog post useful and you’re looking to improve your Facebook Marketing efforts, we would recommend:

  • Devising a Social Media Marketing Strategy which will work alongside your master communications plan
  • Researching and really get to know your audience. You can find out more about them in your Facebook Insights
  • Setting yourself measurable KPIs and regularly evaluate
  • Creating meaningful content which will resonate with your audience. If you are unsure, then don’t be afraid to experiment
  • Finally, taking advantage of all the functionality which Facebook has to offer

If youre in a pickle with your social media marketing then we offer full social media packages as well as training and consultancy. Get in touch to book a 20 minute complimentary appointment.

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