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Increasing Reach Without Spend: A Community Radio Case Study

With Facebook consistently changing the News Feed algorithm to reduce organic reach, many page owners are, justifiably, concerned about the future of their page’s ability to generate impressions. While most brands will be fine by supplementing the decrease in organic reach with paid support, pages that rely on organic reach face a big challenge. In this blog post. I’m going to highlight an aspect of this struggle from a user perspective as well as a personal case study on how I’ve been attempting to increase reach by beating the algorithm with an organic page I manage outside of my role here at Ignite Social Media.

Increase Reach on Facebook

How to See More of the Content You Really Want

One of the reasons I use Facebook is to keep up with bands that I like. I want to know when they have a new album coming out or when they might be going on tour. I’ll get excited when I see a band I like is going to play a show soon in… oh… that was three days ago… never mind. It’s frustrating. From a fan perspective, something you can do moving forward is select “See first” under the following settings for a band’s page. When you like hundreds of bands, it’s a pain to retroactively implement these settings but it’s one strategy to see the content you want to see. As a band page, it might be worth encouraging your fans to update their settings so they can see your posts in a more-timely fashion.

The Challenge of an Organic-Only Strategy

Buying ads might not be an issue for established bands with a steady income; however, if you’re an independent local band, Facebook was once a great way to affordably build an audience. Now, that is becoming more of a challenge. It’s unfortunate that bands, and similar pages, are being left behind.

On Sundays, I trade in my data analyst hat for my radio DJ hat. I volunteer at fantastic community radio station, WHUP, hosting a show called Global Garage. Considering WHUP is a community radio station run by volunteers and funded by donations, there isn’t really a budget for promoting individual radio show posts. We have just over 100 fans, though on average we’re only reaching 19% of them (high compared to the benchmark we’ve seen around 3%, but that still translates to 19 people per post).

Even though are posts are still reaching nearly 20% of fans, it seems unfair that a non-profit, volunteer-run radio show is unable to reach everyone who effectively opted in to receive content from us. So, knowing the uphill battle we faced, we developed a strategy to increase reach to more than just our fans. Now our average post reach for the last year is 110 without any paid spend.

A Facebook Reach Success Story

Our strategy to increase reach is simple: when promoting a show recording or blog post, we tag a handful of featured bands and/or record labels. The tagged bands will then — most of the time — like the post and, in the best cases, share the post. This strategy isn’t a guarantee that we’re going to see increased reach and more-or-less puts us at the mercy of these bands that we tag. For now, though, this is the best we can do without spending a cent on advertising. There are a lot of posts that fall flat. We might not be tagging the right mix of bands, or they just aren’t interested. However, once our “hooks” get a “bite” from the band “fish” (not to be confused with the band Phish) they can snowball into some significant reach. In one instance, we reached over three-thousand people (though only 27 of which were our fans).

I’m not citing this example as something that you should go out and try to recreate. We certainly have an advantage that allows us to benefit from a shared interest of exposure, making bands more eager and willing to engage. Instead, I want to simply prove that it is possible to increase reach beyond your following organically. It’s hard, but it’s possible. This strategy certainly won’t work for every page but the moral of the story is make sure you’re creating valuable, engaging content and, when it makes sense, leverage other pages that might have a shared interest in that content to make the most of your organic efforts.

If your brand needs help with a social strategy and/or you’re looking for ways to make the most of your ad budget, be sure to drop us a line!

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