A Case for Organic Social Media Marketing
It’s no secret that managing social media is time-consuming. And with the ever-changing algorithms prioritizing the placement of paid content, it can be hard to break through the noise and make it into newsfeeds in the first place.
So why bother with organic (non-paid) social media? Why not take the ads-only approach?
Establishing an organic social media presence is important for several reasons:
- It boosts the validity and authenticity of your brand
- Strengthens brand identity and establishes brand your voice
- Provides an opportunity to establish your brand as a thought leader or industry expert
- Creates a forum to nurture your relationship with your customers or audience
- Allows you to gather insight into customer sentiment about your brand
- Boosts your SEO (search engine optimization) and overall visibility
- Compliments your paid social media advertising efforts, and more!
But before you dive head first into establishing a presence for your business on social media, it is absolutely essential that you create a focused and intentional social media strategy. Otherwise, you will wind up investing far more time to reap far fewer results.
So what does it take to create such a strategy? Here are a few pointers to make the most of your efforts:
Set Specific Goals
First things first – what do you want to accomplish through social media? Every aspect of your social media strategy should be thoughtfully designed to support this goal. When answering this question, consider where organic social media fits into your overall marketing funnel and how it can support your overarching business goals.
Examples of common goals for social media include:
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Generate Qualified Leads and Sales
- Grow Brand Audience
- Boost Community Engagement
- Drive Relevant Traffic
Determine the Best KPIs to Measure Success
Identifying what content is driving progress toward your specific goals (and what content is not…) will allow you to continuously adapt and improve your strategy. So, how will you measure success? This is where KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) come into play.
The metrics that you use to monitor your progress will depend on the specific goal that you set.
For instance, if your primary goal is to increase brand awareness, tracking post reach and impressions will help you understand how many people saw your content.
However, if you are focused on driving relevant traffic to your website, it will be important to keep a watchful eye on link clicks as well as the sessions on your site that have originated from social media to determine whether your content is serving the intended purpose.
Understand your Target Audience
Defining and analyzing your target audience is critical to your success on social media. You simply can not build a relevant following or create valuable content without understanding the needs and interests of those you are trying to engage.
Some key questions to ask yourself:
Who are my customers/clients?
Where do they spend their time online?
What do they care about?
What challenges or pain points do they experience?
Do they already know my brand?
What motivates them?
Use available customer data (from sales, Google Analytics, social networks, industry research, etc.) to direct and support your analysis.
Once you have explored these questions, make sure to document your findings and share them across your team to ensure everyone is creating content with the same individuals in mind.
Pick Your Platforms
Don’t spread yourself too thin – you do not need to be on every social media platform.
First and foremost, you need to understand which platforms your audience uses. Each social media platform tends to attract different demographics. If your target demographic is male accountants ages 45-55, Pinterest is probably a waste of time. Be intentional and selective.
Similarly, each social platform is used for different purposes across different contexts. Be sure to consider whether the purpose of a platform aligns with your brand, what your target audience uses the platform for, and whether you have the bandwidth to generate relevant content for the platform.
Pro Tip: Snag your account names and handles on all social media platforms even if you don’t use them (or ever intend to use them). It is important to maintain control of your brand image, and that is much more difficult to do if someone else takes ownership of your account.
Create Valuable Content
Social media is not just a bulletin board on which to promote your products or services. Designing content that will provide real value to your audience is important. The more value you are able to offer, the larger your audience will grow (and the longer they will stick around). It is also an excellent way to build credibility and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Generating consistent content can be a time-consuming endeavor, so remember to work smarter not harder.
- Create a calendar that you can use to plan your content on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual basis to avoid the last-minute scramble.
- Repurpose and repost content! Not all content needs to be new. A single blog post or case study can be broken down into several posts and teased from different angles to resonate with different people.
- Use a social media scheduling tool (there are tons available) to pre-schedule your posts in bulk and manage all of your accounts from a single place.
- Join (and actively participate in) social communities such as LinkedIn Groups or Facebook Groups. Doing so will help get your content in front of people with relevant interests and improve opportunities for engagement.
- Keep an eye on your competition. Take note of the type of content they post and what sparks engagement, then use examples of effective content for inspiration.
- Communication on social media should be a two-way street – set aside specific times during the day to respond to comments, answer questions, and interact with your audience.
To sum things up… organic social media is an integral part of a well-rounded marketing plan. However, without a well-thought-out strategy to direct and refine your efforts, it is all too easy to get lost in the metaphorical social media black hole.
By setting specific goals, determining the right metrics to measure success, understanding your audience, focusing on the right platforms, and creating valuable content tailored to your audience, you can amplify the fruits of your labor and leverage social media to it’s full marketing potential.