If you manage a Facebook business page or pages, you may remember the “good ‘ole days” when your brand’s content could organically reach huge chunks of the people who “liked” your page. This free ride wasn’t long ago: in April 2012, a brand could expect its content to be shown to about 16 percent of the people who liked the page.

Speed up to the last half of 2014, and it’s quite a different story. These days, less than seven percent of your page’s fans will have your lovingly-created content delivered to their feeds. It doesn’t matter whether you paid thousands of dollars for your likes; Facebook is rapidly heading toward a day when likes aren’t that important.

Facebook explains this downward trend in organic reach as a result of News Feed competition. With more and more content being created, Facebook says their product is designed to choose what content is most relevant in the deluge—not to show every post in a real-time feed. That means your posts (as awesome as they are!) are competing against a sea of other content.

What can a regular local business do to remain relevant on Facebook with almost zero organic reach? It’s tempting to think, “Why even create new content? Who will see it?”

We understand your frustration. We do! But Facebook remains a powerful marketing platform and it’s important to stay in the game. Here are a few things you can do to make the most of your Facebook reach.

  1. Create informative and interesting content. But who will see it, right? Good question. See below.
  2. Ask your valuable likes to select “Get Notifications” on your page. (Find it under the arrow under the “Like” button.) You can email this request, post flyers in store and include the request in newsletters, on the bottom of receipts…anywhere!
  3. Post coupons, sales, freebies and other incentives on your Facebook page. Train customers to check out your page when they think of your business.
  4. Consider Facebook advertising or Facebook Offers. As Facebook has reduced the organic reach of business pages, they have improved their ad targeting. For a fairly low entry point, local business owners can launch ads targeting a certain group of people. You can’t do that with organic reach. Paying for ads allows you to be a part of the News Feed game in a way organic results do not. As Facebook’s Brian Boland posted earlier in the year, “Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space.” Facebook’s News Feed is no different.
  5. Finally, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Your 5,000 or 50,000 likes aren’t the only connection to your customers. Many customers and potential customers have never bothered to “like” your page, and that’s fine. Pursue your customer base with emails, mobile strategies, loyalty cards and traditional advertising, among other marketing tactics. And good luck!

Ready to learn more? Get our Guide to Social Media for Local Business

Olga is a Senior Manager in Sales and Marketing Operations at Connectivity.