Since September there has been on-going debate about the declining reach of Facebook posts.
The more sceptical of us would say that Facebook is forcing businesses to ‘pay to play’ (i.e. push companies to advertise), others might say that it’s the inevitable result of too many Pages posting too often, and a few chirpy characters say they haven’t noticed any change and don’t know what all the fuss is about.
A recent joint study conducted by We Are Social and Socialbakers showed an average drop in reach of 40% (see graph above), but others are bucking this trend. Alex Pearmain, the out-going Head of Social Media at O2, says that their reach is flat, but not declining.
Interesting the fuss about declining Facebook reach for brand pages. Not seen it @o2 . Flat, not down.
— Alex Pearmain (@AlexPearmain) November 20, 2012
So why are some Pages being so badly affected whilst others aren’t? According to Social Fresh, a major factor could be that edgerank is placing more emphasis on negative feedback such as hides and unlikes.
This brings us back to ‘engagement strategies’. Earlier this year, our own Luke Brynley-Jones took to Econsultancy’s blog to argue that all too often social media engagement strategies are “condescending and crass”. Brands are inundating newsfeeds with unashamed and pushy calls to action with (at best) a loose connection to the brand or product.
The reason this type of content is so popular is that it actually does drive ‘engagement’ – or likes anyway. However, it is probably also the type of content that is most likely to produce negative feedback. From now on, the impact of this negative feedback should be seen as being at least as important as that of a like or a comment.
One would assume that Pages that aren’t losing reach are delivering the type of content their fans expect. We can only hope this is the case and that Facebook is genuine in trying to improve the quality of posts. The bottom line? Companies shouldn’t expect their content to be seen regardless of its quality and they should expect to be punished if they aren’t living up to fans expectations.