January 29, 2014

Chances are you know how I feel about Facebook reach. In fact, you probably have the same feelings. There’s been endless talk lately about algorithms and a pay-to-play structure. Hypotheses abound about what works each week and we’ve all driven ourselves crazy trying to get our posts in front of more people. So, when my Facebook post reached over 10,000 people last week, I about fell out of my chair.

Let me give you some quick background. I have a fairly active Facebook page with great fans. Just prior to this magical post, I surpassed the 1000 fan milestone. My average reach on any given post ranges from 50 – 300 people. But most of the time it seems to hover around 100 or so.

So, as I mentioned, I hit the 1000 fan milestone on Facebook and I wanted to reward my fans. I decided to give away free downloads to my new ebook, “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram,” for one day. I did some minor promotion on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the day leading up to the promo day.

On the morning of the promo day I shared this post:

This post was shared to my business page only. I pinned it to the top of my page. I did not boost the post nor use a promoted post. I literally left and went to work and didn’t check in again until a couple hours after the post went live.

By the afternoon, the post had reached 7000 people and had surpassed 10,000 people by dinner. The post was shared over 50 times.

This is WAY more than any other post I’ve seen shared from my page. Here is a screen shot of the actual analytics from the night the post was shared on Facebook.

Having never had a post on my page reach anywhere near this many people, I had to dig in and find out why this one did.

Disclaimer: This post is not going to talk about the ratio of clicks, likes, comments, and shares to the overall reach. I am only talking about the aspect of overall reach. I talk plenty about these other aspects in other posts.

Here’s my conclusion as to how I reached over 10,000 people on one Facebook post:

Give Something Away for Free

It sounds stupid, even to me, but it works. People like getting things for free. In all reality, the full price of the book is $3.49 – not exactly a bank-breaking cost. But the word “Free” gets people motivated like nothing else.

I understand, you can’t constantly give things away for free just to get more views. I’ve never offered something for free prior to this post. It’s not practical. But the strategy seems to work. So find things you can give away for free. Convert a few of your blog posts into a whitepaper or short ebook. Offer a free consultation. Find things you can give away for free but that don’t actually cost you anything – and may bring big rewards in the long run!

Make It Exclusive

I made sure that it was obvious that this book was only free on this one day. This motivated people to act. It encouraged people to share it on their pages and with their friends.

Had I just said, “hey, I’ve got a free ebook,” the reach likely wouldn’t have been as high. Give people a reason to act immediately to your posts. Whether it’s a limited time offer, a one-time promotion, a clearance item, or other time-sensitive situation, include this information in your posts.

Make It Valuable

Instagram is obviously a hot topic right now. People are starting out on the platform or at least considering it. A free book that tells them everything they need to get started is therefore valuable to them. And they knew other people would find it valuable so they shared it to their pages too.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Very nice work! You had the perfect storm of a great offer, hot topic and a great use of the platform. I guess we can still go “organic” on Facebook from time to time!

    1. Thanks Steve! It is nice to know that organic traffic can still work on Facebook, even if only occassionally.

  2. Hi Jenn, impressed by this “Reach” and whilst understanding the caveats I’m defo using a couple of those tips !! Can you help…..I’m confused…is there something new about organising who sees your posts in their timeline / newsfeed ? I think I’ve missed something !!!

    1. Thanks Mark! I’m glad you found it useful.
      There is no way to determine who sees your posts in their newsfeed. If someone really wants to get your updates, they can add you to their notifications list to be notified every time you post. But most “fans” aren’t going to do that. Other than that, it’s up to Facebook’s algorithm to determine who sees what. And with this algorithm changing weekly, it’s hard to keep up with what works better. This is why I recommend using your best judgement, creating high-quality posts, and being highly engaged with your audience (respond and/or like every comment made on your posts and page) to ensure you create a valuable community around your page. Your reach still won’t be great and you can’t guarantee that your fans will see your posts. But the more reason you give them to engage and interact, the better off you will be.

  3. A great case study and very impressive numbers 10: (reach to fan count). I really think you may be on to something with this;

    …”algorithm is more than a little ego-centric to their own platform”

  4. What a great strategy. My assistant suggested something similar this week. Great minds think alike. I’ve also found sharing a picture with my personal Facebook profile can boost reach on my Facebook page.

    1. Thanks Gloria! It sounds like you have a very savvy assistant 😉 That’s great too, if the image strategy works for you. As I say frequently, if something is working for you, keep doing it! Not everything will work for everyone so know what works for you, your audience, and your page. And it sounds like you’re doing well with this.

  5. Jenn,

    Great job. Did you dig into who actually shared the post? This should give you a solid indicator on the path your post took towards achieving a reach of 10,000.

    I suspect you had a few major accounts share your post, which contributed to the majority of the total reach.


    1. Thanks Christian! I did do some analysis of the shares, however, Facebook only showed me a small percentage of those who actually shared it. It actually looks like a lot of my shares were on people’s personal profiles so I can’t track many of those. However, there were a number of pages who shared it on their pages and generated significant interest in the post.

  6. Congrats on your achievement, Jenn!

    It’s almost like writing an incredible (in your opinion) post, but never really knowing if the readers would agree with your estimate of its virality. lol

    In your case, it worked.

    I have close to 6K fans, but my reach is miserable as well, so this was encouraging.

    1. Thanks Ana! I’m so glad this gave you some encouragement. Facebook is definitely frustrating from a marketer perspective so I understand how you feel. Keep on focusing on your audience and giving them what they respond to. Any engagement and traffic is better than none…

  7. Hey Jenn,
    This shows how people love the word ‘free’. Everyone wants to save.
    I love the piece on pinning the post. I never tried this feature before. I’ll see what it gives on my page

    Thanks for sharing something really useful and do have a wonderful weekend

    1. Thanks Enstine! I’m so glad you found this useful.
      People really do love the word “free”. I definitely recommend you try pinning posts to the top of your page. Especially if you’re adding new fans regularly since they are most likely to come directly to your page and see those pinned posts.
      Have a wonderful weekend as well!

  8. A needle in haystack. 🙂 Congrats Jenn, now can you do it again? Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s refreshing to see that you can still garner some reach without paying the man.

    I still think the audience is best on Facebook, so we’ve been paying for reach. I think once one learns the nuances of the FB Ads platform, it can be a positive with a successful ROI.


    1. Thanks Steve! That is the ultimate test, if I can recreate it again. I won’t “try” right away but I am hoping to do something similar again which will allow me to test this process again.
      I think it’s great that you’re doing well on Facebook and benefiting from the ads platform. Keep doing what works for you!

    1. Thanks John! It was an exciting day, that’s for sure 🙂 I’m glad you learned some things from it too!

  9. That’s way cool Jenn. I actually posted an article on my site a while back about how three wineries use Instagram to grow their brands. It was by far the most well-received post I wrote in a long time and I think there’s a lot of buzz surrounding this social network in particular.

    Nice work.

  10. I know this post is about creating effective Facebook post to increase Facebook reach. But I somehow find the same tips very useful for blogging as well. Keep it exclusive and keep it simple. These are my two key takeaways as I’ve always struggle with keeping it simple. I always take too long to get to my point. I enjoy reading your blog because you don’t beat around the bush. Also, your choice of words are simple and straightforward. Thanks.

    1. Hi Jacqueline! This post is about Facebook but can easily be applied to other platforms, and even blogging, for sure.
      It can be a struggle to keep it simple. I find it great that you think I get right to the point… brevity has never been my strong point and I often feel like I get off on tangents 😉 While that is something to work on, stay true to who you are too. If you’re a story teller, tell your stories. If you digress in a post, that’s ok! The right readers will find you for who you are and what you have to offer.
      I’m so glad you found the blog and look forward to getting to know you better here and on social media.

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