By John Rampton
The debate over whether organic social reach is dead or not has continued for the last few years, and the answer continues to be a resounding yes and no. That’s because while certain aspects of organic social reach may not work as effectively as they once had, it doesn’t mean you should give up using the strategy entirely. Instead, it’s about having a hybrid social reach strategy that incorporates organic and non-organic tactics through a single view of your customers.
A Shift in Reach Power
Organic reach is not working as well on social media, and that’s because social media sites have discovered the profitability attached to sponsored content programs. With money on the line, these social media platforms are giving those companies and brands that want to pay to get in front of their target audience priority over those that continue to put content up on their business pages and hope that it continues to attract prospects plus retain existing fans and followers.
What it means is that you have to work harder and smarter at any type of engagement you try to develop on any and all social media platforms. You will also need to continually assess any new social media channels or platforms because there will be new ones that pop up and that start to take some of your audience from their preferred site to a new one. That’s what happened when companies just relied on Twitter and Facebook only to discover that many followers were no longer going on these sites and were now sticking to Snapchat and Instagram.
Those using social media are inundated with content and demands for their attention, but very few companies regardless of using organic or paid approaches on social media actually work on developing relationships with their audiences. Unfortunately, the idea that being on social media in the form of posts as a primary strategy is what so many brands use. If that’s your strategy, then it’s dead and was never actually alive because it lacked any redeeming quality for building real relationships with audience members.
Dual Strategies for Maximum Social Reach
You can continue your organic approach alongside thoughtful and strategic investments in paid social reach across those social channels where you have identified what the majority of your audience prefers. Here are some tactics that you will need to incorporate in both your organic and paid social reach strategies:
- Establish your social media goals and what you want to accomplish through this channel. While some companies think a goal is to gain likes and follows, you may want to delve deeper with your goals tied to leads, traffic, and conversions. While the likes and follows can be accomplished to a certain degree through organic efforts, the deeper engagement may now require leveraging paid social advertising.
- Define your audience and understand what they want, what social platforms they spend the most time on, and what type of content do they most engage with. Once you have this intelligence collected, you can determine where organic and paid social strategies will work for your goals with that particular audience. Facebook, Twitter, and Google offer analytics that can help you get to know your audience better in relation to their social media behavior and overall needs.
- Leverage the targeting and segmentation features that social media sites like Facebook offer for organic social postings as well as deeper targeting capabilities in conjunction with paid reach programs on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Develop more meaningful content for both organic and paid. You may be able to still get good results from organic as long as you are supplying the type of content your audience really wants. Create inspirational stories and leverage real-world visual examples of how your products and services are being used. Ask your audience for content and drive greater high-quality video content based on findings that delineate content theme and video length.
- Deliver value-oriented offers and incentives in both organic and paid strategies. You need to give your audience a reason to keep looking and reading as well as a reason to even click on a link and visit your website. This could be a promotion or some type of educational content that builds on what you have previously offered them on your social media channels.
- Take advantage of Facebook’s A/B testing to see what works and what doesn’t. If you are going to invest in paid advertising on social media sites like Facebook, it’s good to use all the tools and analytics they include to continue improving your social reach no matter what approach you are taking.
Why You Should Consider Paid Social Reach
While you may have hoped to avoid paying for any type of social media marketing effort, the reality is that it does help, especially given all the additional value you get in the form of analytics that show you how and why certain content, timing, and targeting works. The price to advertise on sites like Facebook is cost-effective given the results it has been proven to deliver for all types of businesses. You can also get flexibility on the cost by regularly scaling up or down your budget for paid social placements.
Part of this return is in the form of more targeted followers at a faster rate than it would take you to do it organically. Some of the positive results can even come within hours of your first paid placement. That speed can help you ramp up leads and conversions more quickly, speeding the entire revenue generation machine. Not only can this build profits faster, but it also can put greater distance between you and your competition that may not have tried paid social placement yet.
Other Potential Tactics
While it may also cost you some marketing dollars, you can also consider influencer marketing. Influencers are on social media channels talking about how they use various brands and getting paid to influence others that trust their opinions. You may opt for this strategy or consider doing a little bit of each and gauging the return before fine-tuning how much you put into each strategy. What may work for one brand may be different for another. The important part is that you do your research and test all the options so that you improve your own understanding of how social media should be used effectively and in conjunction with other marketing channels.
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