Surviving the death of Facebook's organic reach

Agents can still build their business despite recent changes to the platform

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You probably have already heard the grim news (or you’ve experienced it firsthand): The days of organic Facebook reach are coming to a close. It’s not a rumor — it’s fact.

Is this something you should worry about? A little. Is it time to run around shouting about the sky falling? Not quite yet. Right now is an interesting time for brands and businesses on Facebook. As organic reach dwindles over the next six months to a year, those left standing after the battle will have an advantage over those who have surrendered and walked away.

If we had our way, we’d be able to reach 100 percent of our audience every time we put something up on our Facebook pages. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. The best strategy for a business professional in a time of transition like this is to make the most of an unfavorable situation. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Check your content: If you find yourself posting only to update the content on your page or because you want to push your newest listing, you may need a content overhaul. It’s important to balance the content themes in order to keep your audience engaged — our rule is usually 60/40 or 70/30. That means roughly 60 to 70 percent of your posts should be nonpromotional (no sales) and the other 30 to 40 percent can be self-serving.

It’s easy to choose the content that most benefits you, but it can be more challenging to produce interesting, selfless content. To overcome that obstacle, ask yourself what your audience would value most. Is it do-it-yourself tricks, inspection and safety tips, qualities to look for when you’re seeking an agent, or easy and inexpensive ideas to increase equity? Test out a variety of avenues and see how your audience responds, then tailor your future content based on their reactions.

Pay to play: No one wants to do this, but chances are Facebook won’t change its reach restrictions in the near future. Set aside whatever you can afford for your Facebook marketing budget in order to extend your reach. An extension in reach means greater visibility for you.

Studies have shown that successive “mini-boosts,” boosted posts promoted for a mere $5-$20 each, can have a lingering effect on your page’s overall reach. Set a budget for yourself to boost a few meaningful posts, promote your page, and run a set of ads for your harder-hitting content (such as listings, e-books, blog content or free consultations). Your reach will steadily improve, and you may even score a few solid leads!

Take a step back: With over 1 billion active users each month, it’s not smart to abandon a platform entirely — regardless of the competition involved. The bottom line is that Facebook is where the people are — the newlyweds looking for their first home, the expecting family looking to trade their house for a bigger domain, and the retirees finally ready to purchase that dream vacation cottage. You won’t see that wide of a demographic span on any other platform.

You may not see the same value in using the platform as you once did, but holding a presence is still important to your brand and your business. If after several valiant attempts to grow your page you feel that your efforts are futile, don’t shut down shop, but do limit your time spent. It’s perfectly OK to focus your efforts on another platform that works best for you and simply to maintain your Facebook voice and pages in a minimal way.

To keep your pages current, I recommend a minimum of two posts per week, which you can easily schedule ahead of time using the Facebook scheduling tool.

Wherever you may find yourself on the spectrum of opinions about Facebook, it’s important to understand that this platform doesn’t owe us anything as users. It does, however, have something we want: the audience. So if we want our slice of the 1 billion-plus user pie, we have to figure out ways to make it work for us.

Bill Fishkin is the CEO of Neighbrhds, which creates custom curated, Realtor­-sponsored mobile apps aimed at neighborhoods, communities and municipalities across the U.S. and Canada. He is also the founder and CEO of SynMedia, a full-service social media, marketing and design agency based in California.