A Growing Problem with Facebook Reach
By Michael Stahl
I ran tests this week and found that if one posts statuses that are text only, the reach jumps, as high as ten-fold in some of my findings. I figured this out accidentally—I am the village idiot after all. Generally, Facebook posting strategies by businesses call for photos to be used just about all the time. In many cases, links back to the business’ home website might be in order as well, like with a journalism site I work for that tries to get people to read their articles, or my restaurant client that’s hopeful users will discover more menu items. A small (exceptionally small, I swear) handful of hiccups on my end, or technological failures via Hootsuite, led to past posts unwittingly going up on my clients’ pages without photos and/or links attached. As unsatisfying as they were to look at and as inconvenient as they were without links, they performed better in terms of Reach than virtually all other posts. I do have some clients who are very reluctant to go the route of paid ads, and understandably so. Therefore, I thought I’d try to use this knowledge to my advantage, thus the testing.
There are, of course, tremendously obvious downsides to using the tactic of mixing in Facebook posts consisting of strictly text. The posts are not very aesthetically pleasing without photos that, hopefully, would stand out in peoples’ feeds. Plus, a link to the clients’ website is not immediately present to the user in a text only status update, so one would have to instruct their followers to go to the main website to see other desired content. What makes this pill extra hard to swallow is that at the top of a Facebook business homepage, in the “About” section on the lower left hand corner below the cover photo, there is no Facebook-designated space for a company’s website. That link only shows up after a user clicks on “About.” This means that the social media manager has to take a leap of faith that users will actually open a new tab on their browser and type in the web address to the business themselves (so much work!), instead of simply clicking on a readily available, conspicuously blue link.
With all that said, it is possible that the website traffic a business might normally get from Facebook could still rise if text only posts are utilized sporadically. Unfortunately for the social media manager, the data to support that point would not be present, as there would be no existing direct link between Facebook and the business’ main page. The social media manager would then be telling their client, in essence: “Well, the reach is huge, so I’d suppose users are going to the site…” But if one posts pictures with links that score a Reach of, say, 100, with 30 clicks, how many users could conceivably venture over to the site if a well-written text post gets a reach of 1,000?
Michael Stahl is a journalist, social media manager & strategist. Hailing from Astoria, New York, his articles and essays have appeared in several online and print publications. He is currently accepting new social media clients, so if you’d like to procure his services, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter too @MichaelRStahl.