It’s something you’ll often hear whispered in corners when it comes to social media management and scheduling: “Don’t use a third party app – your reach will be dire!”.
But is this really true?
Should we all be clambering to only use Facebook’s native scheduling tool or are 3rd party tools just as effective when it comes to Facebook publishing?
How Did The Rumours Start?
It was certainly true pre-2011: Facebook did actively admit that they prioritised posts scheduled and published on their own platform over those who used 3rd party tools to publish posts. Some publishers were reporting drops in engagement of up to 80% – no wonder they were spreading the news not to use 3rd party posting tools.
Then in late 2011, Facebook’s developer consultant Matt Trainer announced that they:
“…recently made a fix that added more signals to detect good quality posting behavior. This should improve the situation with the distribution of posts coming from third-party apps in the News Feed.”
Brands and social media managers worldwide breathed a huge sigh of relief. Yet people continued to debate whether this really was the case. Several high profile brands and experts like Jon Loomer have conducted their own studies into whether using a 3rd party tool really did still affect your reach.
In December 2012, Facebook shared the news that they would be rolling out removal of the 3rd party post attribution for pages, where it clearly said under the post which 3rd party tool was responsible for posting the content.
However, the news didn’t seem to reach far enough and it’s now become a myth believed by many a digital marketer still today. So we’re here to tell you that using a 3rd party tool to schedule your Facebook posts WON’T harm your reach.
In fact there are many benefits to using a 3rd party tool to plan your social media posts on Facebook and other platforms. You can save a heap of time by collating all your content in one place, and as a social media manager that can pay dividends.
Tools like Hootsuite, CoSchedule and Meet Edgar all offer their own features such as clear reporting and data comparison so you can get a holistic picture of what’s working and what isn’t. This can be much quicker than looking at individual insights on each social media platform individually, again saving you more time.
But My Reach Is Worse Than Ever?
Instead, if you’re worried about your declining reach, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Facebook’s algorithm, just like the Google one, is designed to show users the content they will engage with the most. So if you are always checking into a particular group and commenting, or you always like, comment or share content from a particular page or friend, you’ll start seeing posts from these groups, pages and people more often than the ones you don’t engage with.
Go through your content, pretend you are completely new to your brand and ask yourself the following questions:
Is my content relevant to my business?
There’s no point posting funny cat pictures, just because people like them. Make sure the content you are posting is related to your business. Even tenuous links can work; just make sure there is a point and a connection to your business somewhere in there!
Does each post have a clear call to action?
Look at your posts and see how many ask the audience to do something. It could be asking them to leave a comment, choose a reaction, share the post, visit your website, find out more or even get in touch. People love direction and will often respond well if you ask them to do something specific.
Are my images high quality?
There is nothing worse than blurry images on any social media feed. Use the highest quality images you can. Always!
Am I being too salesy?
No one likes too much sales-speak. There’s a general rule that you should only post promotional content 20% of the time and the other 80% should be informational, inspirational, humourous, and sharing other content.
Am I providing value?
If you can’t see the value in the kind of posts you’re creating, why would someone else? Dive into your content and see how much value each posts provides to your audience. Are you sharing tips and advice or are you just selling to them?
Do you use Facebook’s native scheduler or a 3rd party tool to post to Facebook? Let us know in the comments.