You can hack Facebook’s reach — Gary, Simon, Tim, and O’Neill do it

Or — how almost all my colleagues in social media have the Facebook reach challenge completely wrong

No disrespect to all the folks I know who have been working in social for decades.

Even with all that experience, they are missing the impact and opportunity with the Facebook algorithm changes.

I take a scrappy and contrarian perspective.

When Jae Baer, Chris Penn, and others write about the rising cost for businesses to get their word out on Facebook, I immediately wonder about people who aren’t spending and are getting their word out.

Who are companies that I’ve never seen a boosted post for and whose content I see regularly in my newsfeed.

I went looking for examples and found a few.

O’Neill — maker of wetsuits, winter gear, and clothing.

I had the opportunity to interview one of their social media managers and to learn about their strategy.

From day one, they’ve focused on posting entertaining content.

Entertaining content which is not an ad.

This strategy organically earned them over a million global followers on Facebook, with every post receiving comments, shares, and brand engagement.

It also put all their content — lots of fun and the occasional ad — organically in my feed.

Simon Sinek — the ubiquitous king of “why”.

Like O’Neill, Simon posts photos and videos which I’ve liked, commented on, and shared.

His recent post on working with Millennials has raised a lot of commentary and a follow-on video.

And his posts keep showing up in my newsfeed without boosting.

I also see Gary Vaynerchuk, Mt Rose Ski Resort, Tyrese Gibson, TechCrunch, Jamie Foxx, Tim Ferris, and the Inertia’s posts — none of which are boosted.

The common strategy for this diverse bunch — entertaining or educational content.

That’s it — they aren’t trying to sell me anything.

The brand name — that is still front, center, unmistakable, unforgettable.

3 core ideas

  • slash your posts that are ads. Your customers will (are) tired of seeing daily ads — they know who you are and don’t need a reminder that you want their business.
  • provide entertaining or educational content. Your brand name on content is as much as anyone needs to remember it. Have you noticed all the brands on NASCAR racers?
  • we like to share content. We want to learn and laugh. We want to impress our friends with new finds. Your audience gets kudos and ultimately you get more visibility when they share your posts.
  • bonus points — engaging with your audience helps also. This helps in multiple ways — first, people know you care; second, it drives more visibility in fans news feeds; third, fans friends see it and now you are building brand credibility and perception.

Your content has much more power when your audience shares it ( word of mouth still rules ).

This is an organic boost in validation — which you can’t purchase.

It’s only earned for you by your audience.

I’m 99% convinced that Facebook hasn’t changed their algorithm but that brands poor content and lack of response is what has driven their crash in organic reach.

People I’ve friended drop off my feed for the exact same reason — they don’t respond, Facebook downgrades their relationship to me.

All my examples respond. It’s part of why they do so well with organic reach.

If you want to be unforgettable, audience promoted, and save on advertising — provide entertainment.

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