Have you ever been part of a marketing strategy meeting where the main conversation is whether to take an organic approach or a paid approach? Next time, it might be a good idea to jump in before the conversation deteriorates into fisticuffs and explain that the best strategy might be a combination of both. Of course, like with every other nuance in a marketing strategy, it depends on the brand, the product, the intended audience and last, but not least, the goal of the campaign.
Let’s take a look at these two facets of Social Media Marketing before we make a decision on which way to go. Like I said, this might be one of those unique circumstances where putting your feet in two boats might be a good idea!
You know what comes to mind when I hear the term – Organic? Wildflowers amidst a manicured garden. Nature having its way.
In an organic strategy you essentially depend on the natural growth or reach of your post without any monetary push. The key here is to create relevant content that resonates with your audience. This then results in likes and shares (comments, even) which pushes your post to grow like wildflowers. or rather that’s what we all wish for.
The reality is a bit more disappointing. Organic reach in all the SM platforms are plummeting. While one of the reasons for this dip could be the natural avarice of these platforms, it’s not the only one. Reddit user Brian Cristiano explains that in the case of FB, this dip in organic reach is because the platform heavily weighs content based on engagement. This is in line with their main goal to keep users engaged on the platform.
So, this is how FB does it…
When your page posts a piece of content on FB, the platform immediately places the content in the newsfeed of a very small pool of your followers (approx 1% of your followers). If your audience engages well with your post, then the platform opens your content up to 2-4% of your followers. If the engagement is high for even this group, then the platform will loosen its reigns and allow your content on to a larger audience. Facebook calls it their Newsfeed Algorithm.
I think you get it, right? Social media platforms are adopting their own form of SEO. As a user, this makes perfect sense because who wants to be bombarded with mediocre content? However, as a marketer this makes it harder to make an impact, unless of course your content is consistently out of the stratosphere.
Here are 3 tips to harness the power of organic reach
Quality over quantity
Ever been disappointed because that fabulous content you’d posted did not get the reach you’d expected? It could be because the SM platform’s algorithm is rolling. i.e., it does not weigh each piece of content in isolation. If you’ve been consistently putting out low engagement content, then your “fabulous content” would also be weighed accordingly. The key is consistency. It does not matter if you post only once a week, you just need to ensure that what you post is highly engaging.
Know when to post
Contrary to popular belief, it is better to post content during non-peak hours. This way your content won’t get drowned in all the noise. According to Adweek, these are the best times to post.
Facebook – (Thursdays/Fridays) between 1pm and 3pm
Twitter – (weekdays) between 12pm and 6pm
LinkedIn – (Tuesday – Thursday) between 7am/8am and 5pm/6pm
You’ll figure out what’s best for your brand once you get started and look at your own analytics.
While the purpose of your page is to promote your service or product let’s not forget that your audience will stay with you only if your posts look useful to them. The standard rule of thumb is 80/20. 80% of your content should be useful and helpful while 20% should promote your product or service.
As the term goes, this is when you pay a platform to show your content to its users. Paid posts can be the obvious ones like the ads you can easily make out on Facebook and Instagram. They could also be disguised or indirect. Did you know that every 10th post on Facebook is an ad? On Instagram, sponsored content is in the guise of posts. In fact, you can hire an Instagram influencer to post a social shout-out with your brand highlighted. The major drawback of this strategy is, of course, the cost. Ads could cost you from $5 a day, while Instagram shout-outs can easily cost over $10,000 for a series of posts. However, if you’ve got content that’s helping conversion like crazy, a paid strategy could take it more effectively to your target audience. Use your paid campaigns to reinforce the values and messaging that you release through your organic campaigns.
Social media marketing is evolving and transforming as we speak. As marketers we need to keep abreast of new trends and experiment on a regular basis. However, at the end of the day, the story is the same. Organic or Paid, your content needs to speak to your audience.