You can guarantee that when a company gets as big as Facebook that there will be a tonne of misinformation about the way they do things and what their rules and regulations are. But there are some commonly held ideas about Facebook for Business that just simply don’t stack up – and never really did.
Where do these myths come from? It’s usually from disgruntled business users who remember a time when they used to get tonnes of impressions, reach and clicks from Facebook Ads – back around 2015 – when the world was a very different place and marketing on social media was an entirely different beast.
So what are these big myths?
- MYTH: Facebook is holding back posts from my page from reaching people so I’ll be forced to pay to boost them
- MYTH: You need to niche down all your ads on Facebook to a super specific target audience to get results
- MYTH: You will get much less reach when you use third-party scheduler (like Buffer, Hootsuite, etc)
Myth #1: Facebook holds back my posts to make me pay for ads
This myth appeared because of the fact that reach on organic posts has plummeted over the last 10 years. That can make a lot of marketers a bit salty. Especially given the proliferation of ad spaces across the Facebook family of apps. The trouble is that it isn’t true.
The reason why organic reach on business posts has plummeted is for a few reasons – and none of them have to do with paying for ads.
First, the number of businesses on Facebook has skyrocketed over the last 10 years. In 2011, there were perhaps 1 million business pages on Facebook. There is now over 200 MILLION small businesses using the tools on Facebook. That’s a massive 19,900% increase over 10 years. Safe to say that this is a pretty big reason why your posts aren’t getting in front of so many people anymore. The competition for what appears on the feed is fierce!
And this brings us to reason number 2 – business page posts are typically pretty terrible. I mean, how many ways can you yell at people to buy your stuff? Ask a small business on Facebook, because they are doing it all the time. Constantly pushing price, promotion and product to people who simply don’t care. Facebook itself, through the Boost with Facebook program and Facebook Blueprint, likes the idea of multiple kinds of content to put on your pages. It involves content that is Engaging (gets attention because it’s interesting), Educational (teaches someone something useful) and Exciting (that inspires someone to take action.) This combination also fits well with the customer journey of Awareness, Consideration and Conversion, so you can ensure that you have the right kind of posts to fit where your potential customers are at.
The reality is that Facebook is a busy place these days – and businesses tend to be really bad at posting on it.
Myth #2: You always need to tightly target your audience on Facebook Ads
This is one is also something that gets dragged out by amateur marketers who think that just because something is an option, then it must be used.
The Facebook Ads platform has, at its core, the ability for you to really drill down and target people with ads based on Core Audiences such as Age, Location Gender and Interests. There are also Baheviours, Employment and more advanced features such as Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. All these options excite marketers because we have the ability to really focus in on the people most likely to want our stuff.
But the Facebook Ads platform is based on big numbers being available in a core audience. If you’re attempting to target people who like WWE Wrestling in the Logan region of the Brisbane metropolitan area then you’ll probably find a lot of them. Logan is a big area with over 300,000 people in it. But if you’re looking for similar kinds of people in, say, Karratha in Western Australia (a town of just under 23,000 people) then getting super-specific isn’t going to be helpful, as Facebook needs at least 1500 people in an audience to make it worth your while advertising to them. If there aren’t at least 1500 people in Karratha who like WWE wrestling, then you need a different strategy to reach people – and that isn’t being niched or targeted. It means you have to go wider. You may need to target all males in Karratha, or perhaps even the whole population of the town. Sure, you are advertising to a whole lot of people who aren’t interested in what you’re advertising, but at least your message is likely to also reach those who are. Which is kind of like what television and radio advertising is like.
Niche isn’t always effective, particularly in limited geographical areas with limited populations.
Myth #3: You will get much lower reach on organic posts from third-party scheduling tools
This old chestnut has been going around since 2012. And to be fair, it was true back then. When Facebook was really new and third-party tools used dodgy methods to get around common tasks like posting to business pages or “fan pages” as they were called then, Facebook had to limit what third-party tools could do. Because they used old OAUTH login processes that weren’t very secure, the reach of posts from non-native sources was limited to contain any hacked accounts from posting unauthorised content to too many people on the social network. It was basically a security feature. But when API-based connections became the norm sometime around 2014, this stopped. Basically, Facebook regarded a post that was made by you in Hootsuite or other similar tools, to be the same as a post you made natively on the Facebook website.
And the same is true today.
That said, there is a lot of data to suggest that organic reach is lower from posts that are delivered via scheduling systems. These include Buffer, SocialPilot, AgoraPulse, Later, etc. But this isn’t because of the source of the posts being third-party systems. It’s because we tend to get lazy when we post in advance. The average social media manager or small business owner usually sets aside a specific time to do their week or month worth of posts. So instead of being careful, researching their audience insights and crafting a specific post for a specific day, they do a mass of, usually, very generic posts in one or two hours. And these posts are as generic as you could get. Basic image from Canva that looks like an ad. Tonnes of poorly thought-through text. Usually very promotional in nature. We’re talking posts that are being made just to tick a box. And that means these posts are about as interesting or engaging as watching wet paint dry.
You’re not being held back because you used a scheduler. You’re being held back because your content is uninteresting.
Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Facebook Australia, a digital advisor with Treeti Business Consulting, an accredited ASBAS Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.