When you’re working on a social media strategy you’ll want to make sure your content is seen by as many people as possible. The number of people who actually see your post is what’s called ‘reach’. It’s a metric to indicate just how many users on your channel have seen your post.
Now you’d be forgiven in thinking well that’s easy to work out: reach is the number of people who follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page, but actually it’s not that simple.
Your content could be battling against two different kind of ‘reach barriers’:
- Algorithms implemented by the various social media channels to decide what is shown in the ‘timeline’ of their users – this varies by platform
- Information overload – a kind of ‘virtual’ reach – your post might make it into the timeline of a user, but they won’t necessarily have seen it
Your reach on Facebook
Your post’s organic reach on Facebook is notoriously becoming harder due mainly by the algorithms Facebook is using (recent research suggests reach on Facebook is about 2.6% of your following) to determine the most relevant posts to show in a users news feed which will be made up of their friends posts as well as pages and groups and other things within the Facebook ecosystem they’re following or have liked.
Sceptics also suggest that the issue is made worst by Facebook wanting to drive profits from advertising either by encouraging businesses to take up Facebook advertising or by selling page or post boosts, although Facebook denies this.
If you’re after a comprehensive guide and tips on how to boost your organic reach on Facebook, check out Neil Patel’s article.
Your reach on Twitter
Reach on Twitter is more about the information overload issue. If you’ve ever sat on Twitter waiting for post updates and you follow lots of people you’ll see hundreds or updates every minute – that’s just too much to take in, which is why your reach on Twitter is going to be determined more about when someone is looking at their Twitter timeline than actually how much you post – of course if you post lots and your followers don’t follow many other users then your reach will be higher than if they follow hundreds or thousands of other accounts.
And whilst Twitter has introduced an alternative timeline feature which enables users to see more of the recent tweets by people they’re interested in, the only hope you have of being seen is if someone has added you to a list they read more than their timeline, if they don’t follow many people or if you tweet often (increasing the chances your tweets will appear in their timeline).
So what can you do to extend your reach?
Ultimately you need to be pumping out content on your social media channels regularly, but more than that, what you write has to be interesting. If you start posting material which lots of people are liking and sharing then your reach will organically grow because as people share your content it begins to appear in other people’s timelines or news feeds resulting in more exposure for your content.
You’ll need to play around with what kind of content works and what doesn’t and focus on the types that seem to work better than others (e.g. when you post with a photo it out performs when you don’t) but you also need to be consistent. Consistency and persistence are key to growing an audience of followers and in time they will help your reach grow. But, above all you need to be writing and sharing content that is of interest to your followers – if people aren’t bothered by what you say, then they won’t be sharing it for you – and if you talk about someone else, make sure you mention them in your post as they will share purely on the basis you bothered to reference them.
So play around with your content, keep pushing it out and measure the results and then adapt, and you should see your organic reach grow particularly on networks like Facebook. For services like Twitter it’s consistency that will see your content more often be spotted in timelines.