If you are frustrated that your social media plan is not going as you anticipated, you are not alone. All marketers managing Facebook and Instagram pages have noticed a sharp decline in reach in 2018.
Free social posts on Facebook will not reach to more than 2% of your followers, around 5% in Instagram. With the amount of money to be spent on digital marketing services to do those posts, we are encouraging customers to stop acquiring this service and re-direct those funds to other channels (ex: paid advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, Local platforms, etc).
In August 2018, Storat.com discontinued offering free social media posts services with the following internal memo that we are sharing publicly now.
"We will discontinue social media services post in all future contracts. We will honor our commitment for existing contracts until the renewal dates, then we will advise the customer on the new policy. This company is about innovation, making technology accessible, and driving genuine leads to our customers. With the adjustment that Facebook made in 2018 to newsfeed algorithm in Instagram and Facebook, organic and free reach on social media is near impossible now. We will focus our effort on paid advertisements on social media. That is the only way we can guarantee reach in 2018 and beyond as well as converting this reach to genuine leads for our customers.
We have a duty to educate our customers and the market about what works and what doesn’t. Some customers may disagree and it is less profitable for us, but we would have done our job and done it right!"
While we knew this since early 2017, customers still demanded free social media posts, thinking that it will generate leads and business for them. We included it as a service in our digital marketing offering, but we effectively drove leads and business to them through our platform, Google organic search, Google Adwords, and paid advertisement on Facebook and Instagram.
The decline in free and organic Facebook & Instagram reach began in 2014. At the time, Brian Boland, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, said Facebook is simply managing more ad content than it used it, and News Feed space is thus more competitive among marketers. There’s simply too much content being published on Facebook and Instagram, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive.
Knowing that, for Storat.com own digital marketing, we nearly abandoned free social media posts in early 2017. If you see our facebook or Instagram business pages, we rarely share any posts. Without free social media posts, we were still able to reach to 120,000 registered users and contacts and more than 2000 paying customers. That is in less than 2 years!
In 2018, we have noticed a greater dip in the organic reach of Facebook & Instagram content because of a major change to their newsfeed algorithm.
In January 2018, according to Facebook's Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri,Facebook began to "shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation." As a result, marketing content is showing less and less in comparison to content by friends and family -- a value that Facebook says it originally had, and that it's trying to return to.
The best digital channels to focus on is the ones you entirely own and control, that is your website and your blog. Spend the time and effort in creating content in your product pages in your website and blog articles in your news pages. It is likely a matter of time before organic reach in Facebook reaches zero.
If you are serious about reaching new customers online, you can’t avoid paid advertisements on digital channels. Facebook and Instagram are not a charity for businesses to promote for free. But even while doing paid advertisement on social media, do it smartly. Use the features of Facebook Ad Manager to do things like:
To learn more about digital marketing, check our simple guide to digital marketing for business