Just about every time that I meet with a client, they end up asking one question. How, by the beard of Zeus, do I get more out of my social media? Almost to a word, it’s the same sentence, although usually without the Zeus bit. My answer is simple:
“I’d suggest spending $10,000 a week on paid campaigns and making sure Zuckerberg catches Bezos for net worth.”
That usually gets the client to spit-up their smoothie, because just about every time that I meet with a client, it’s at a healthy spot. Of course, I’m kidding them. Being able to throw money at every social media platform all the time would, of course, be a pretty effective way to increase views, clicks, likes, and traffic. But I’ve learned a lot over the past few years, and one of those lessons is that not every business can splash cash at their marketing on a scale that suits their goals.
Instead, go organic. Produce great social media content that gets people talking, keeps people engaged, and helps you learn what your audience is looking for.
First, paid campaigns should be a part of your marketing strategy. It’s even more important for companies that offer online transactions, even if you don’t ship a physical product to customers. From yoga studios to barber shops to automotive service centers, the best marketing you can offer customers is the ability to pay and commit when they’re clicking; don’t count on them coming back to you later on.
That said, there are some things that every business can do that doesn’t require an ad budget. In fact, building a strong organic social media presence helps you learn more about your customers and your content before you spend money, which means a better rate of return and less wasted time guessing-and-checking what works best. Organic content is a conversational, personal way to conduct A/B testing without your audience even realizing it.
(Organic) Social Is Social
Organic content is anything a brand posts without pushing it with an ad budget. Social media platforms use infamous, closely-guarded algorithms to determine what to show their users. That algorithm restricts what gets seen on the Facebook Newsfeed, for example, or the Twitter Timelines. Users that ‘Like’ your page won’t necessarily see it, and even if they do, it’s simply another pile jostling for their attention in an endless stream of food photos, cat videos, and political rants.
Organic doesn’t often generate huge numbers, but by taking your top-performing posts and applying the images, copy, or topics of organic posts, you can improve the effectiveness of paid campaigns when you decide to run them. The best organic content rises through the congested social world to be relevant and engaging. When you see posts that get great Reach and Engagement numbers, consider boosting that post to get more out of it, or repacking the content for a specific ad that runs across platforms on your own schedule.
Since organic isn’t the best vehicle for reaching the masses, it’s shifting to become more useful in communicating with a smaller community. Use organic posts to feature on-the-spot topics and conversations, like featuring customers, flash sales, memic trends online or even the latest news in your community. Use it to start and continue a conversation that builds a sense of loyalty and connection with your most tuned-in customers.
Budget for paid campaigns. Putting some oomph into the right stuff can help support specific opportunities. Maybe it’s an important annual sale, peak tourist season, or to support an event. As a good rule, spend money on the things you know will make money. Decide what result is a success (clicks, lead generation, or conversions) and don’t be afraid to invest more when you see something really take off.
Be consistent. The key to organic social media is to be a consistent, informative, and entertaining voice. Use your presence to become a resource, a commentator, or the other end of a conversation that your customers are trying to have.
Watch and learn (and adjust), too. What works? Use analytics on a weekly or monthly basis to see what posts people are seeing and engaging with. Invest more time and energy into producing content that works. Remember, what saw a lot of eyes six months ago may not have the same appeal later on. Repackage, reimagine, and rework great content to keep the conversation going.