Understanding The Myth Around Organic Reach

With algorithms, new legislation, data privacy and paid advertising constantly remodelling the social media landscape, is Organic Reach a thing of the past?

Becky Poynton
August 12, 2021
The myth around organic "reach"

In a nutshell, many of us are familiar that organic reach refers to the number of people who see your content without paid distribution. It refers to the interactions that people have with a brand once they see their posts in their own feed, and conversely, paid reach is the number of people who see and interact with paid promotions. 

The myth that organic reach is dead and why that’s true 
The myth is that organic reach is dying, and has been for some time, and many attribute it to the way social media platforms lean towards a pay-to-play business model, favouring paid promotions heavily over organic efforts. It’s well known that for the last several years, Facebook organic reach alone has been dwindling, with citations of many brands seeing their business pages with huge followings seeing a fraction of interactions on their posts. Facebook has also been accused of purposefully ‘hiding’ non-paid posts from followers, with algorithm updates continuing to contribute to the notable decline in organic reach effectiveness and engagement for Facebook Pages. Understandably, this has been a long stretch of frustration for marketers across many industries, not just real estate agents who have built up a decent business page, but the decline of organic reach effectiveness has seeped beyond Facebook and across digital presence altogether. 

The conundrum: 
If we continue on with our lens on Facebook organic reach, (because Facebook has long been such a powerful way to reach current and new audiences and still is today), it was noticeable a few years ago that click-baity titles were reeling in huge views numbers, (‘You won’t believe what this suburban mother of three did to buy this six-bedroom mansion!’ etc). The introduction of surveys and revamping of comments sections were also new ways of letting users steer what kind of content (and ads) would be suggested on their feed. It’s important to remember that everything is ranked on Facebook, even video content, and over time, comments or posts that received more interaction took over the space, meaning posts that were truly organic may not be purposely hidden by Facebook, but simply didn’t stand a chance in the already limited digital content space. 

That still stands today. But it’s the reason why many businesses, marketers and even realtors have adopted the power of paid advertising and promotions to promote and increase the reach of their posts. It’s a way for their content to be targeted towards people who haven’t yet been introduced to their page but have similar interests or are part of the target demographic.

Does organic reach still matter? 
It’s harder than paid efforts and takes more time to craft well, but yes, organic reach still matters in 2021; here are a few reasons why. 

  • It’s an answer to agents with limited spend on ad campaigns, because across most social media platforms, you can still publish posts for free
  • Social media platforms now demote and sometimes penalize click-bait posts, which means big brand businesses and individual professionals alike are now (roughly) on the same page when it comes to figuring out new content. 
  • Paid promotions work, of course, but there is no prerequisite for content having to be backed by dollars to make it visible and accessible to audiences. 
  • Organic content also has the upper hand on paid alternatives on one important issue: many marketers prefer organic marketing because it attracts new audiences naturally rather than foists itself upon them.
  • Organic marketing usually comes across as more natural and effortless when it comes to tone and approach, without the constant reminder that the reader is missing out on the next great deal.  

It’s true that social media platforms operate on a pay-to-play business model that has changed the face of digital marketing in recent years. However, even agents who conduct paid marketing, (and have seen success in boosting distribution and direct sales), can access the many advantages that organic reach still wields. Organic campaigns take time and energy and forethought to strategize, but when done well, they have the capacity to grow truly engaged, long-term audiences.

For more marketing ideas to help build your brand, see our recent blog post: 

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