(This article originally appeared on smallbizblog.com, which has since folded.)

If you’ve tended a Facebook business page for any length of time, it’s a fact that you’re probably quite aware of: organic reach on Facebook, to be blunt, sucks, and has been doing so for a while now. There are a number of things you can do to try and turn this around, but first  (for the uninitiated):

What Is Organic Reach?

Organic reach is defined as the number of users who see your content when they check out their newsfeed or your page. Think of organic reach as non-paid exposure, as opposed to paid reach, such as with advertising. It used to be that when people liked your page, a significant percentage of them, via their newsfeed, would see much of what you posted. This free exposure has been getting more and more scarce for a number of reasons (*cough* Facebook makes money off ads *cough*), to the point where it may seem that the only way to get exposure for your posts these days is to throw money at the problem in the form of post boosts (we’ll take a look at Facebook advertising in a future post).

So The Only Solution Is To Buy Ads?

Not at all. There are actually a great many things you can do to increase your posts’ reach without spending a dime, such as:

Post Quality Material Regularly

What do we mean by the rather wishy-washy “regularly”? This will depend a lot on your site, your audience, and any number of other factors, but we can say this: there is a Facebook algorithm (insert ominous .wav) that largely determines any given post’s organic reach, and this algorithm likes quality over quantity. A lot of experts will tell you that the ideal number of posts is one to three a day, but again, a lot of factors will go into determining what is right for your specific page. You’re looking for the sweet spot between annoying the hell out of your audience and having them forget about you. And always with the quality!

Mix Up Your Post Types

Videos, images, text… you can present your material in a number of ways on Facebook, and you should take advantage of this if it suits your page. Different people like different things, and you’ll appeal to a larger audience if you use a lot of varied post types. That said…

Videos Are Your Best Bet For Organic Reach

When it comes to organic reach, video rules. Videos get 1200% more Facebook shares than text and image posts combined, and the longer the video, the better; one of the things the Facebook algorithm likes is time users spend watching a video.

When you do use videos, you should also do so natively by uploading them directly to Facebook instead of hosting them on YouTube. Native Facebook videos not only get 10x the reach of YouTube videos, but they also automatically start (silently), which is definitely a plus for your high-quality video engagement.

Adhere To Facebook Image Guidelines

You’ll get better reach with images if you adhere to Facebook’s recommended image dimension guidelines. Complete images should be 1200×1200 pixels, while images in a post with a link should be 1200×627 pixels.

Post in Off-Peak Times

I’ve seen this described as “posting when your competitors are asleep,” and it makes a lot of sense. Again, a lot of this is going to depend on your site and audience, but peak time is generally considered between the hours of one and four PM. This is when your competitors are probably doing a lot of their posting. Definitely target this time as well, but you should also think about the few hours before and after peak time, when you’ll be competing with a lot fewer posts for your audience’s eyes (and shares).

And how about in the middle of the night, when your competitors really are asleep? So is your audience, so try to avoid posting in “dead” times. This is a great time to Repost stuff though (more on this in a bit).

Post Evergreen Material

Evergreen, or timeless, content will stay fresh for a much longer period of time than more topical or “newsy” material. You’ll get better organic reach with material that has a longer shelf life, basically.

Verify Your Business

Depending on the size of your business, you can (and should!) get either blue check mark verified (large businesses) or gray check mark verified (local businesses). This not only makes you look more authoritative – which people like – but also gives you better placement in search results. You can get more information on this at the Facebook Help Center.

Stay Away From Blues and Grays

Forgot your competition for a minute… if you want to stand out and not blend into the PAGE ITSELF, avoid the colors blue and gray when you post images, etc. These are Facebook’s dominant colors, and people just won’t even see your post if you’re blending into the woodwork, so to speak. Lean more towards reds, yellows, and oranges.

Tag Other Businesses/Organizations

If you mention or promote another business or organization in your post, tag them. When you tag a business or organization, the post will appear on their wall, likely resulting in added reach for the post.

Plug Facebook Posts On Other Platforms

Send visitors to your posts who would not ordinarily see them by plugging them on your website/blog or linking to specific posts in your email signature.

Repost Popular Posts

Any post that received a lot of views, likes, and shares the first time around is ripe for reposting. You’ll not only be pulling in visitors who didn’t see the post the first time around, but also those who saw it once and want to revisit the wonder that is Your Popular Post again.

Add Calls To Action To Your Posts

While not every post needs to have a “call to action” attached to it, this is an excellent way to get your audience to engage. Posting interesting questions that readers are eager to answer is a great call to action. Tagging users and including a challenge are also great ways to boost audience engagement.

Engage With Your Audience

Since you’re already doing this anyways (right?), it should go without saying: engage with your audience to improve your organic reach. The Facebook algorithm loves engagement! The best way to engage: when people leave comments, they are in essence starting a conversation with you. Don’t leave them hanging! You should also acknowledge people who share your posts.

Spend Some Time With Facebook’s Audience Optimization Tool

What is this? Facebook describes it as: “…an organic targeting tool to help publishers reach and engage their audiences on Facebook and better understand the interests of people clicking on their posts.” Basically, with this tool you can see how your audience is engaging with your page. You can also use it to target specific slices of your audience based on gender, age, education, location, interests, etc. This is a super valuable tool if you put some time into it. You can get more information on Meta’s Introducing Audience Optimization for Publishers page.

Buy Ads

Yeah, I know, not really organic, but hear me out. If you’re adhering to everything else in this article and want to cover all the bases, paid ads can definitely help to boost your organic reach as well. Your ads help to draw people in, where they will then engage with your wonderful content and share it. This will help to spread your post… How? Class? Organically!

Are you doing something specific to increase your organic reach? Share what it is in the comments!