Over the past year Facebook has dramatically changed the way it distributes content. Gone are the days when you could hit “post” and expect 30-50% of your audience to see your posts. Instead we are seeing 5-10% organic reach, even on the most active pages.

But why? Well unlike other social media outlets, Facebook does not distribute a page’s post to its entire audience. It doesn’t even do this for personal accounts, meaning your Facebook “friends” don’t see everything you post, and vice-versa. If you send a Tweet, realistically all your followers could see what your wrote. Same thing for Google+. On Facebook however, they initially show your post to a small fraction of your audience. If people engage with it, then more people see it.

Facebook does this for two primary reasons. One is to avoid information overload. There are so many Facebook users/pages that showing 100% of the content from all friends and pages would be too much. And second, they want people to advertise.

Outside of having a viral post, the only guaranteed way to increase organic reach is to promote your post. This means paying Facebook to make your post appear in your fans’ newsfeed. That way more people (and their friends) will see your posts and hopefully engage with them.

That means whoever handles your company’s social media needs to be aware of your metrics. When are your fans online, where do they live, what types of posts do they interact with the most, etc. And if you need to push an important post out, promoting it may be the most guaranteed way.

In our next post, I’ll talk about why Facebook’s changes also means its very important how you advertise your page, and whether or not it’s a good idea to pay for “likes”.