How a Facebook Page Grew Their Organic Reach 219% in 30 Days

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If you’re a business on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve been fighting the organic reach battle.

In the last year-and-a-half, Facebook organic reach has gone from around 16 percent per post to as little as 1 percent per post. To give you an example of the effect on businesses, my company’s Facebook Page has 74,000 fans. About a month ago, my Facebook manager, Sara, reported to me that we were averaging around 200 reach per post.

There are some companies who give up and delete their pages, but I think that’s a mistake. Facebook is still a huge referral source for my company. It continues to be the top referrer of traffic to my company’s blog and within the top five referrers of traffic to my company’s website. When something isn’t working, I think it’s up to the business to go back to the drawing board and re-strategize.

This is exactly what I did with Sara. We sat down and decided to run some tests and change our posting strategy. The changes we made resulted in a 219 percent increase in our organic reach and a 171 percent increase in engagement in just 30 days.

Our strategy for increasing our reach and engagement was twofold, we were going to narrow down the best times to post for reach and engagement, and take a look at the type of content we were posting and then make adjustments as needed.

Here’s how we made small shifts that resulted in exponential organic growth on our Facebook Page.

We Tested Different Posting Strategies

The battle of post frequency is ongoing. Some people say that too much will drive your audience away and others say that too little may cause that one post to be shown more.

Awhile back, we tested what would happen if we quit Facebook for a week. Needless to say, the test was a small disaster that lowered our overall reach and engagement and it took us weeks to get back to where we were previously.

This time around we decided to do the exact opposite and increase our posting frequency. Before this study we were posting around 3-4 times per day. We were posting mostly during the peak hours that our fans were online. We decided to increase our frequency to every two hours. It was a lot of content and we were worried that our fans might get annoyed so we informed them that we were going to post much more frequently and let them know that we were open to their feedback if they felt they were seeing too much or too little from us.

ShortStack Post Example

We decided to increase our posting frequency because we figured if three posts a day reached 200 people, we were reaching 600 people a day. If 12 posts a day reached 200 people, we’d reach 2,400 people a day.

Here’s a look at our posting frequency for the month of September.

September Posting Frequency

The second thing we did was add some variety to the type of posts we were posting. Up until this point we prided ourselves on not being one of those pages that posted silly memes or quotes all day long. We had focused on posting links to our blog articles and educational and valuable articles from other influencers. However, when Sara looked at our analytics she noticed that the occasional funny post or photo did bring in a wave of engagement and reach, so we decided to mix more business related quotes and humorous social media photos into our schedule along with our educational articles.

Our goal was to still keep the posts relevant to social media and business but to alternate between an article and a photo on each status update.

We Studied Our Facebook Insights

After testing our new Facebook strategy for about two weeks, we were ready to look at our Insights and determine which times of day saw the most reach and engagement on our page.

To do this, Sara headed to our Facebook Insights and exported our “Post Data” for our testing period, which was the month of September.

She then looked at our Lifetime Engaged Users and sorted it from the most engaged users to the least engaged. She wrote down the top 12 times that users engaged the most with our posts. You can see the spreadsheet below.

Facebook Insights

After that, she did the same thing with Lifetime Post organic reach.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 9.31.41 AM

After looking at the top times for reach and engagement, we noticed there were quite a few similarities. This makes sense because the more engagement a post gets the better reach it gets. If a few different posts fell into the same hour or hour-and-a-half we combined them. For example, three of the posts with the best reach were posted at the following times, 2:24 pm, 2:22 pm and 3:14 pm, so we categorized all of those into the timeframe of 2:15-3:15 pm.

From our insights we were able to determine that the best times for us to post on our Facebook Page were:  6:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00-1:00 pm, 2:15-3:15 pm, 9 pm and 2:00 am.

In Conclusion: We Used Our Own Data

Once we’d learned the ideal times to post on our Facebook Page for maximum reach and engagement, it was time to continue testing. We adjusted our posting strategy, again, and made sure to post at these seven key times every day. We also posted 1-2 additional times a day where there were some gaps, like between 3:15 pm and 9 pm and between 9 pm and 2 am. We decided to do this because we have an international audience. Posting throughout the day and night may not be the best practice for every business.

As I write this, it’s been about two weeks since we’ve been posting at our seven key times on Facebook and our reach and engagement continues to go up.

When we compared our reach in the last 30 days to our reach in the 30 days before that, we saw a 219 percent increase. Likewise, we also saw an increase in our engagement by 171 percent.

We also learned that a balanced mix between educational and fun posts keeps our fans engaged and interactive. If posting a great quote brings in 25 likes and 30 shares, those people are more likely to see the next post that your business puts up.

Working with Facebook’s algorithm is an ongoing battle for Facebook page admins. It’s not easy to discover what does and doesn’t work for your Facebook Page, but it is worth it. The key things to focus on are determining what your fans like seeing and interacting with and then focusing on those types of posts at key times determined through your analytics.

Has anyone else out there amended their Facebook tactics in a way that seems to be increasing organic reach? I’m all ears if you have any tips to share with me!

 

Image Credits

Featured Image via ShortStack
All screenshots taken November 2014

Jim Belosic
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages, websites and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines and more.
Jim Belosic
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  • Dragana

    Hi Jim,

    Really a nice one! I agree with: 1) having a strategy and 2) testing different posting options, especially on Facebook. Besides the text, I have only one question: ShortStack also delivers custom apps for Facebook pages. What’s your experience on this one – does an active campaign (using apps) contributes to page engagement and how?
    Thanks a lot!
    Dragana

  • Facebook posting is like any other marketing tactic. You should really have a plan that’s based on data. Ongoing testing and tweaking is necessary.

  • DONT FORGET THE HASHTAG! Hash tagging works on Facebook, Twitter, and Google plus and this can be one of the best things to increase your post reach. If you hashtag you will gain all the potential search traffic of someone else using the same hashtag. Also on Twitter using the @ can help you a lot as well. But just because you are on Facebook doesn’t mean that you should neglect the faithful hashtag.

    • Absolutely. I was going to mention that here. A lot of people still think that Hashtags don’t work on Facebook. But I managed to raise my page’s engagement 50% by inserting some less popular Hashtags on my posts.

  • Lauren Hemighaus

    Thanks for sharing- I really liked the specifics you gave in this article about how many comments per day you guys were trying. Also, definitely gave me a little validity in posting so much on our company facebook- same concern of worrying I would annoy them but glad to see it worked in your favor!

  • Hey Jim,

    Thanks for the awesome transparency into your posting strategy! Based on our research, there is actually only a moderate correlation between the number of posts and the reach. We analyzed almost 3 years worth of post and % reached data (reach/fans on date of publishing). There is actually a stronger correlation between engagement (we use a custom engagement formula) and % reached. This seems like common sense to me, in that when you actually produce content that your audience cares about they interact with that content, which in turn bolsters reach for that post and posts published in the near future.

    Cheers,
    Eric

  • Rose

    Key Takeaway: “the more engagement a post gets the better reach it gets.”

    Time to create posts that are likeable and share-worthy then!

  • Hi Jim,
    After reading your post, I exactly did the same thing with my Facebook Page. Now the only thing i have to do is, post regularly.

    thanks for Sharing your experience.
    karan

  • Hi Jim, Thanks for the Tips. It’s really important to know the right time when to posts. In my case I got a lot of reach during 6pm till midnight. But i’m still optimizing my posts once in a while to get more reach.

  • Hi Jim, have kind of abandoned my Facebook fan page. Since have seen little to no engagement. Will meme do the trick?

    Have got to test it out. I think #tags on Facebook does increase engagement though as have seen an increase on my personal Facebook account.

    Thanks for your awesome share.

  • What’s really interesting, is once you know the times that are good to post at. Schedule all the posts up for the following day (if you already know them) and let it work all by itself.

    And yea – viral content is pretty key these days. 🙂

  • Okay, I’ll also start using the data from my Page Insights and try to find out which time is best for me to post (here in my place).

  • Naveen

    Hi, we should post mix kind of posts (emotional, devotional or personal)? or only related to our business?

    • Hi Naveen, I would say a mix is good, but it really depends on the already established culture of your company and your industry.

  • Does that mean from an average organic reach of 0.3%, it went up to around 1% in 30 days? That’s awesome improvement but still too little.

    My experience with a few brand pages, there’s no best day, no best time, and no best frequency to post. This is due to Facebook’s algorithm such as Story Bumping wherein a post will continue to be displayed at the top of users’ newsfeed as long as it continues to get engagement including clicks. A 3am post might be engaged by someone at 8am that can trigger a lot more engagement onwards. If you analyze your post on a weekly basis, you will notice there’s no consistent best time or best day of the week for organic reach as well as there’s no consistency of when your fans are most active on Facebook each day. Having said that, there’s also no correlation between organic reach and the times your fans are on Facebook, again because of the algorithm.

    The key takeaway here is: it doesn’t matter when you post or how many times in a day as long as your content are what most of your audience care to see.

    Hope I can find the time to publish some examples of my findings sometime.