If you’re responsible for your non-profit’s social media, you probably know about how many Facebook fans you have. Your fan count is the simplest way to know how many people see the messages, calls to action, photos, invitations, appeals, and news you post. Or it would be, if that number weren’t hugely misleading.
As you know, Facebook’s ever-mysterious algorithms limit your posts from reaching everyone that likes your page. In fact, most people who like your page don’t see any given post. In the 2017 M+R Benchmarks Study, it was found that on average, a non-profit will reach just 8% of its fans with a post that isn’t promoted.
We know. It hurts.
You can pay to increase that reach, of course, and that kind of paid promotion can be an effective part of your social media and digital advertising strategy. But the truth is, resources are limited and non-profits do not pay to boost the vast majority of their posts.
But there’s good news, too! A lot folks—45% to be exact—who do see your posts aren’t your fans (yet). As your social media influencers engage with your content (especially when they click “Share”) it pops up in their friends’ news feeds.
So most of the people who follow you don’t see your Facebook posts, and about half the people who do see your posts don’t follow you on Facebook. Non-profits need a better metric than number of fans that more accurately reflects how many users you can expect to reach. Enter the Earned Reach Average, or ERA.
Earned Reach Average (ERA) is the average number of people who see a given post for every Facebook fan you have.
In the Benchmarks study, the average non-profit had an ERA of .225, meaning for every 1,000 Facebook fans a nonprofit has, their next post will reach about 225 people. So if you’re a completely average organization (though… we know you’re not) with 60,000 fans, a given post will be seen by about 13,500 people (60 x .225=13.5).
It’s good to have fans, the more the merrier. But so much of your Facebook reach comes down to engagement, shares, and being seen by audiences beyond your existing fanbase. If you want to be seen on Facebook, the nature and quality of your content are just as important as the number of Likes you have.