Does Facebook Limit Reach Of Posts Using Buffer?
When you depend on social media marketing to grow your business, you depend on reach. The thought of Facebook limiting your reach for any reason is scary. The idea they might neuter your posts just because you use scheduling software, is even worse.
That’s probably why I see people talk about this often. Usually, someone Like you is looking for social media scheduling software In a group or forum. They ask for recommendations on which one to choose.
Like clockwork, someone always chimes in and says that you have to schedule natively in the Facebook Scheduler, or FB will limit your reach. Everyone thanks them for their supposed wisdom.
But, is that true? Does Facebook stop people from seeing your content as a penalty for using Buffer, Hootsuite, or any other outside software? Whether yes or no, it deserves some serious thought. Let’s break this down to an actionable conclusion.
Why Should You Freak Out
About Facebook Reach Limiting?
If Facebook limits your reach because you are using a software tool, you might leave money on the table with each post by using one. If all else is constant, fewer eyeballs on your content will translate to less interaction, even less reach, and less traffic.
Over time, a drop in reach and traffic can seriously hurt your sales. And, since you’ll be paying for the software, it could sting even worse. Who wants to pay for software that reduces their revenue? Nobody.
I think that’s why this is such a big deal for people. At least, that’s why I take it so seriously.
What We Know About Facebook Reach and Scheduling
From the Horse's (Facebook's) Mouth
Nothing. No info. Nothing to see here.
Facebook has never officially said anything about this. You could just take their silence as acceptance, but let’s look at this objectively.
Facebook makes their money from advertising. More specifically, they make their money from as many businesses spending as much money as possible (especially big brands).
Most big brands use scheduling tools. It would be nearly impossible for them to schedule natively all the time. Can you imagine, a 20,000 person company having one person whose job it is to make all the facebook posts? Can you just picture Tom in marketing, hovering over his computer, holding up everything to schedule posts one by one in business manager? Not gonna happen.
Therefore, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Facebook to punish these big brands for being efficient with their posting. This doesn’t completely rule it out, but it begs the question...why?
What would be their reward for doing this, at the risk of angering customers who spend tens of millions each month?
Well, potentially, it could mean fewer posts from businesses. For Facebook and their ad revenue, that has benefits and drawbacks.It would free up space in the feed, which could be a good thing for Facebook. But, it would also cost them ad revenue, since many ad campaigns are simply boosted posts, boosted because they performed well organically.
It’s hard to see them doing something that could cost them ad dollars without much gained.
Can We Test To See if Facebook Limits Reach For Scheduling Software?
The TL;DR version of the answer is "no way in hell." I've elaborated on this, in case you want to know more.
You have to understand, it is impossible to compare apples to apples for this. Facebook doesn’t offer a way to A/B test native vs scheduled. Even if they did, you probably couldn't put much weight in those results. Why? Because of algorithms, human psychology, human behavior, and the one-time “in the moment” nature of such a test.
What’s another way you could test it?
Well, you could make a native post and then post the same content at the same time using a scheduler. But, if you did, the posts would affect each other in ways you couldn’t possibly know. You would also get limited reach for posting duplicate content. And, Facebook algorithms would randomly choose which post gets favored over the other. No way to draw any conclusions.
You could also try posting the same test a week apart. But each post’s reach depends on a crazy number of variables. The number of possible sets of changes to those variables boggle the mind. From one week to the next, or even one hour to the next, each post is entering a very different environment. To draw a conclusion from that test would be anti-science at best.
A few examples of variables that affect post reach:
- How many of your followers are online? Which ones? Is it the ones who like to engage?
- Who is online that was online last week, also? Did they already see the post before? Do they get angry when they see the same thing twice (the struggle is real)?
- What mood are they in? Worse or better than last time?
- What other posts are in their feed from businesses?
- What are their friends posting? How does it compare to before?
- Are they really engaged with some discussion?
- How much time did they have to scroll?
That’s a handful out of about 10,000 possible factors, and that’s not even considering the algorithm!
I think it’s clear we can’t test it.
Since we can’t test it, measure it, or get an answer from Zuck, what can we do? Let’s consider my observations over a long history of Facebook marketing and advertising work.
My Experience in Nine Years of Marketing Through Facebook Business Pages
Brief history - At one point in the past, it seemed that Facebook did limit post reach for the early scheduling programs like hootsuite and buffer.
Around 2011-2013, the Facebook feed seemed to favor native content. This was when their ad platform was still relatively young. They never denied or confirmed, but they could have been doing it.
Back then, they could have done that to encourage people to get familiar with posting through the business page platform, which was also new. They wanted people to use it, so they could get familiar with the ad platform - which took off quickly.
Now, they have more advertisers than they need, and are deep into the life of that service. It’s no longer a newly launched product, so the need to incentivize users is gone. That’s all in theory, mind you.
Native vs Scheduled Reach in The Last Three Years
I’ve published several thousand posts since 2015, alone. I’ve made native Facebook posts, and I’ve posted using several different scheduling tools.
For the life of me, I haven’t been able to spot a pattern of difference - and I have tried.
I post primarily through scheduling software. My clients sometimes make their own native posts in the midst of my scheduled posts.
I’ve had one, one-time post this month that organically reached 880% beyond the page audience. i.e., 500 page likes, and organic post reach of 4,400. In the same timeframe, that client made native posts on the same page, that only reached 20% of the page audience. i.e., 100 people reached out of 500 page likes.
For me, that proves to me, schedulers do not affect reach. That example and many others would be impossible otherwise. At the least, they don’t affect performance in a way that I should worry about.
GET UP TO 25X MORE REACH WITH EACH POST
As easy as re-heating leftovers in the microwave, leverage your content using this technique.
Why Do Some People Still Preach That You Have to Post Natively If You Want Your Posts Seen?
I think they mean well. Perhaps they really believe it. Usually, I find they’re just repeating what someone else said - and that person probably hasn't really thought about it either.
That’s usually because they haven’t had enough experience with the other factors that affect reach. I will cover those in another post, but people constantly overlook the factors that heavily affect reach.
You Should Be Aware of a Caveat - The One Likely Advantage of Native Posting (sometimes)
You should pay attention to this if you have a very diverse audience on your page. The native posting tool allows you to organically target certain groups, interests, and demographics within your page audience. The scope is limited, but you can help people see more of what they want to see. You can also help them see less of things that they don’t like.
Like I said, this matters most if you have a polarized audience. i.e., one segment dislikes something that the other segment loves.
This way, the people who see a post are more likely to engage, and that will increase your reach with that post. In addition, it will prevent people from seeing things they aren’t interested in, ignoring them (or worse, hiding the post), and lowering post reach that way.
If you have a dedicated Facebook posting employee, that may be a reasonable thing to have them do. The other 99.99% of us can’t do that sustainably for each post. Fortunately, most businesses don’t need to.
A Good Compromise For Most Marketing Teams
Use a scheduler for the majority of your posts. Especially for posts that should appeal to the majority of your page following. Then, if you have a post that you know will only appeal to a specific segment of your audience, make it a native post. But, only if you take the time to use post targeting to push it out to the right people.
That brings me to another important factor for most business owners: Time.
You’ve probably heard the expression “time is money”. It’s cliché, but it’s so damn true.
Entrepreneurs who leverage their time will save money and make more money in the long term. And that is the single biggest benefit of using a scheduler.
- Using a good scheduler saves you time that allows you to focus on other business building activities.
- Using a powerful scheduler also does that. AND allows you to leverage the content you’ve created or paid for, dozens of times over. That way you save time, AND you reach up to 2500% more people with each piece of content.
Leveraging your content is like turning each piece into a salesperson. You send that salesperson on the sales trail once, but they keep selling for weeks, months, and years to come.
Put your content to work for you repeatedly, without spending anymore time on it. You'll save time and money, since you don't have to churn out content for the sake of it. You'll get more traffic and sales out of each piece. Spend your extra money and time building your business and improving the quality of everything you produce.
Maximizing reach and revenue for each post is as easy as reheating leftovers in the microwave. To see how I increase reach by up to 2500% on each piece of content, watch this video.