You want to know what’s hard? Reaching people organically on a Facebook Page!

Facebook, in an attempt to steer pages towards utilizing paid “boosts” and advertisement options, has consistently lowered the organic reach of all posts on Facebook Pages. Facebook has created a pay-to-play environment. This pay-to-play environment places and even larger importance on creating quality content that will maximize organic reach. Though organic reach is down, you can still reach a portion of your audience without spending money if you don’t shoot yourself in the foot with bad content or counterproductive tactics.

***Note: These 4 tactics are practices that I have found, through managing 14 different pages and doing a lot of my own testing, that hurt your organic reach. There are ways you can use each of these tactics to your benefit, but overall, if you avoid these tactics you will experience a larger organic reach. Also note the date of this post and that this is relevant today but the Facebook Algorithm will change again and some of this advice may become out-dated.

Don’t shoot your organic reach in the foot by avoiding these 4 practices:
1.) Using Hashtags:
You may find articles that say that hashtags will help your Facebook Fan Page. That is not entirely untrue. There are certain circumstances, for some pages, where they can help. However, for most pages, using hashtags will drastically decrease your organic reach. Don’t use hashtags.

2.) Sharing Links to Third-Party Sites and Articles:
Links and articles SHOULD be part of your social media marketing strategy. This gives you the opportunity to provide value to your audience. However, posts with links with the auto-fill link content will have a lower organic reach. Share links, but keep it to less than 25% of your overall content.

*PRO TIP – Alternate how you share links. Let the link auto-fill 1/3 of the time. The rest of the time, attach a photo first, then add the link. This increases your organic reach because Facebook categorizes it as a photo and not a third-party link.

3.) Sharing Your Photos and Videos With Third-Party Links:
Facebook wants you to upload your photos and videos directly to Facebook. If you do so, they’ll give favor to those posts and your organic reach will be substantially higher than any of your other posts, especially with videos. If you share your video through YouTube or your photo through another site or application, Facebook will penalize the organic reach. I believe strongly that photos and videos should comprise over 50% of your Facebook content, but you have to upload them directly to Facebook.

*PRO TIP – Run an ad and boost for your videos. Even if your advertising budget is small, there are few if any other forms of advertising out there that you’ll get a better ROI from than you will on Facebook videos.

4.) Liking Your Post Immediately After Posting It, and Getting Friends To Like It:
This is a bit of a controversial one. Previously, there was some merit to liking your own pages post from your personal account and/or as the page. It would show in the news feed that you liked the post and, in theory, people would see that and click on the post. That is rarely the case now. In fact, liking your post immediately after posting it will almost always decrease the organic reach. Furthermore, Facebook is too smart now to try and trick. If you attempt to rig the reach of the post by having friends like the post or by using dummy accounts to like the post, it will backfire. Let organic be organic. The truth is, Facebook knows who will like your post better than you know who will like your post. If you try to game the system, you’ll end up having the algorithm work against you and Facebook will serve up the post into the feeds of people who have little to no interest, which kills the organic reach. Create a high quality post and then let Facebook do its thing. If you have the budget, boost the posts to targeted audiences.

I get it; Facebook can be frustrating. We miss the days where we did not have to spend a dime and the posts of our page were viewed by everyone who liked the page. Those days are gone and every social network, once they grow large enough, has to utilize some type of algorithm. Don’t fight it. Don’t complain about it. Learn to work within the algorithm. Avoid the tactics that will limit the organic reach of your posts and let your quality content and the Facebook algorithm work for you.