Bike Industry: Your Facebook fan page is about to take a massive kick in the nuts.

Facebook has announced that it will massively cut the ‘reach’ of its fan pages, making it harder for you to communicate with your fans in the way you can right now.

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Jacob Gibbins photo.

The announcement states that Facebook will reduce organic reach right down to zero – meaning that your messages won’t reach your fans and you’ll be forced to pay for advertising if you want your content to be easily seen.

Maybe you’re an athlete, or a bike manufacturer or a local bike shop and you have your own fanpage?

Imagine you are Brendan Fairclough and you have 90,000 Facebook fans. You use your Fan Page to post cool videos, share your adventures and promote your sponsors. Let’s imagine Old Brendog posts up on his page to show off his latest sick edit. Will all 90,000 fans see that content? No. Some won’t because they’re not online. Others won’t because Facebook will restrict Bren’s post to only be seen by a small % of his fans. This has traditionally been around 16% of a page’s fans. For Bren’s page that would be just 14,000 fans. Still lots of fans, but a lot less than 90,000. If you want more than you need to pay to ‘boost’ your post. Facebook is a business, it makes money by selling advertising.

The latest announcement says Facebook will go even further. January 2015 will see Facebook take action so users see much less promotional content on their news feeds. Facebook haven’t explicitly said how far the restrictions will go … but we’re betting it’ll be a lot closer to 0% of your fans than 16%. As a rider, a local bike shop or a rider-run mountain bike website that’s quite a big deal. That 14,000 is starting to look a lot smaller.

So what can you do? Suck it up and work around it basically.

1. Encourage your fans to share your content.

Facebook LOVES it when your fans hit share, they comment or they like. The more people share your content, the more people see it. Encourage your fans to talk to you, to ask questions, to have conversations and most importantly to share your posts. Sharing is the #1 way to get your content seen without you having to pay.

2. Build a team and a network to share your posts

You can try and encourage your fans to share your content … better still you can invest in people who’s job it is to share your content. Team riders, brand ambassadors, ‘champions’, street-teams, what ever. Build a team of trusted guys for your organisation that work to share, promote and push your posts. That way, you’re not leaving the sharing of your posts to chance. Reward them for their hard work and help them to work for you.

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Similarly, reach out to your networks. Does your post effect other people with Fanpages that might like to share your content? Make sure they see your posts and are able to hit share.

3. Invest time in other social networks

Don’t put all your eggs in one social media basket. Get stuck in to Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Find which works for you and do some reading online about which are most useful for you. We’re loving Instagram at the moment.

4. Advertise

You could, god forbid, actually pay to boost posts on Facebook. We’ve had success with it in the past and prices vary from as little as £3 to promote a post. It doesn’t feel like the best way (in our opinion) for athletes or small brands to necessarily invest, but for larger businesses with a bit of budget it can be pretty effective. You can also advertise on Facebook to promote your page. Whatever you do, just do a bit of research online and spend some time getting your target audience right. Aim to get your adverts and boosted posts to the right people, not the most people.

5. Pay attention to the numbers.

When you post to your fanpage you’ll see “people reached” underneath the post. This is the number of people that have had your content appear on their news feed. This tells you how well read your post has been and will increase gradually over time. You can click on this figure to see more advanced stats about your post – how many times it has been clicked, how many people have hidden your post, how many times it has been shared, liked or commented. Use these stats to understand what your audience likes, what they don’t like and what Facebook is doing with your content. It’s geeky, I know, but it’ll pay off.


6. And most importantly …  post good quality, interesting, non-spammy content that people want to read.

Facebook is changing its rules so you see more good quality stuff and less crap. It understands people don’t log in to see spam.  If you post good, unique, interesting content people will click like, share, they’ll click links or they’ll comment. Facebook loves all of that stuff and gives your Fanpage a gold star. Pages that get lots of likes, comments, clicks and shares do well and get seen. Pages that post crap about stuff you don’t care about don’t do well. Keep your fans interested and entertained and Facebook will (up to a point) look after you.

Good luck! Do some reading online, look at what other people are doing and experiment with it!

Social Media is a bit of a dark art and a bit of time spent learning how it works will bring big rewards later. With a bit of knowledge, next January’s Facebook changes won’t be Reachageddon.