Facebook and the story of decreasing page reach

Organic. Generally seen as something good. Often healthy. And generally to be encouraged. Unless, perhaps, you're Facebook. Organic reach of brand pages is a hot topic in social and marketing circles. Whereas once a post on Facebook would reach thousands now it'll reach a fraction of that, unless you pay to boost. That all elusive organic reach is getting harder.

Generally there are two camps here. The first is accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth as they realise those hard (or not so hard) earned fans won't see any of their beautiful (or hastily photoshopped) posts.

The second falls somewhere between the smug and schoolteacher-like attitude of "Facebook is still brilliant, there's nothing wrong with my page and you're a bad marketer and need to produce better content."

I paraphrase.

Then there's the message that Facebook is pushing and is slowly seeping in. Very slowly: "It's not about your brand, it's about the people."

All of Facebook's formal and informal communication points to enhancing the news feed for the user, to give them more useful, relevant posts and fewer inane brand messages.

Put bluntly, it's a reminder Facebook was built for people not mid-level marketing managers. Those brands that do well on Facebook recognise that. You want to put your unengaging campaign in front of eyeballs? Pay for it like everyone else.

Does this mean Facebook is the wrong platform for brand now ? Not necessarily.

The main questions they're encouraging brands to ask is "Is it useful to a Facebook user? Will it complement what they already see in their newsfeed?" Just because you publish something that works as a message for your brand doesn't mean it'll be of any interest to the average Facebook user.

It's why content marketing (although it's a rather horrible generic catch-all term) is becoming more important to align with the social strategy (not that it wasn't already). It's why news organisations are doing rather well out of Facebook - often it's content people want to share. It's something a lot of companies and agencies perhaps haven't quite got yet.

And with the Facebook cracking down on the like-baiting posts, there may be quite a few brands doing an abrupt shift in strategy over the coming months, assuming they have one.