[caption id="attachment_3616" align="aligncenter" width="457"]Your organic reach is one of your most vital metrics. Your organic reach is one of your most vital metrics.[/caption]

If you’re not getting the kind of engagement you’d like with your Facebook page, it’s possible that not many of your followers are seeing it.

It’s more than possible, in fact—it’s probable. The reach of your Facebook page has most likely been decreasing no matter what you do. That’s by design. As Facebook relies more and more on the advertising you’re willing to pay for, the amount of ‘free’ services are dwindling. That doesn’t change the fact that your Facebook page’s reach is one of the most important metrics for you to measure and pay attention to. Obviously, the higher it is, the more of your audience you can reach with your content—and a larger audience with more engagement tends to translate into higher sales.

Currently, the average page has an organic reach of about 6 percent of your followers. If you have 5,000–and lucky you, if you do—that means only 300 of your audience base will see any content you post if you don’t pay to boost it or spread it to a larger group of followers. Maybe you can make it by on that, but if you have fewer numbers, you can easily see how important it is to have as high an organic reach as possible.

That’s right: there are things you can do to increase your organic reach. The key word in the above paragraph is “average.” Some pages will get more, some less. Some content generates more, others less. Some time frames generate more, others less. The key is knowing how to work the system.

First of all, the reason for the “system” is fairly simple. Facebook can make more money by decreasing the organic reach of your page by causing you to spend more to promote it through Facebook ads. Facebook claims that the reason for this is to benefit the user—and it’s a pretty nifty piece of spin doctoring—by creating the best experience for everyone using the network. Less spam, fewer advertisements, more “authentic” content. In theory, they’re trying to ensure that everyone gets the right amount and right kind of new content in their news feeds.

At first, the formula was relatively simple. It’s now based on hundreds of different factors, each of which applies a certain weight to your page and its content. In general, they weigh:

  • How users interact with your page; if they like or comment or click on every link, every time you post, they assume the content is likeable. If they don’t or, worse, report it, then the reverse is true.
  • How users interact with the type of content; whether they like videos more than photos, photos more than text, or infographics most of all
  • How the initial group receives your content; at first only about 25-100 people will see your post, no matter what your organic reach is. If they like it, then your reach will increase and your audience will expand. Chances are, if you post boring content, you’ll get poor results.
  • Complaints or requests to see fewer posts like the one you just scheduled; you’ve seen the button in your own feed: “show me fewer posts like this.” There’s a reason for it; it doesn’t just placate users. It will effect your overall organic reach.
  • Timing; Facebook uses a term called Time Decay for this. Essentially, what it means is that the newer something is, the more relevant it is. Think of a newspaper that posts last week’s council meeting several days after their competitor. You have to be creative with ways to make it more relevant.

So, what can you do?

If Facebook is allowing more people to see authentic, personal content, then be authentic and personal.

Post personal content that will be interesting and engaging. Even from a business point of view, it will generate more likes, comments and shares. Post some behind-the-scenes pictures or your auto shop: the teamwork involved on a particularly tricky repair, or odd car parts and ask your customers to guess what it is. Post pictures of your staff and yourself—nothing creates a friendly atmosphere like smiling photos. Show pictures of your new stock—not just the products themselves, but of you and your staff putting them away or creating a new display with them.

Pay attention to your Facebook analytics and determine when the best time of the day to post content is. It may not be when your customers are online—those may be peak hours and your content may get lost in all the noise.

Reply to all comments and likes, even if it’s just to say ‘thanks for reading.’

Reveal something exclusive and informative. That will gather more shares and increase your audience.

It’s a gradual process, but posting this type of comment will contribute to the scores of future posts and increase your organic reach in the future.  Have any other ideas? Let us know in the comments!