— February 18, 2018
It’s been about a month since Facebook announced it was drastically changing its algorithm to weigh friends and family’s updates over brand pages’ content. While there are ways to continue to stay relevant on the platform, it begs the question, is organic or unpaid social media still worth the time and resources a business needs to invest? The answer is a resounding yes!
7 Reasons Your Brand Needs to Invest in Organic Social Media
1. Organic Social Media is Cost-Effective
Even though it takes time and energy to create social media updates, they’re still extremely cost-effective. You can post as many updates as you want across your social channels and every single update is free to share, making it a realistic option to combine with other marketing tactics for a comprehensive content strategy.
2. Social Media Provides Authenticity
As Top Rank Blog explains, “The importance of authenticity cannot be overstated. Social media gives brands the opportunity to show their target audience who they are, not just what they sell.” Social media users know when they see an ad, someone is trying to sell them something. However, through non-paid updates, brands can provide a genuine look into what defines the organization.
3. Organic Social Media Compliments Advertising
If you see a Facebook ad in your feed and click on the brand’s profile, you expect to see more relevant content on their page, right?
Keep this in mind if you invest in advertising. While running ads, you also want to update your page with interesting, quality non-paid content. Research shows 81 percent of consumers research a business on the internet – including on their social media profiles – before buying. You want to make sure you’re making a positive impression on any potential customers that may be evaluating your company.
I love how Daniela Otero explains it. “Only a balanced approach – one that uses paid intelligently along with organic content – will get you great results.”
4. Social Media Fosters Your Creative Voice
Organic social media updates are a fantastic forum for exploring your brand’s voice and creativity. Before you invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in an ad campaign, use your non-paid channels to build a solid foundation. Consider these questions:
- What types of content are relevant to your brand?
- Are there particular words you want to use to evoke certain emotions in your target consumer?
- How will you creatively connect with social media users?
- What updates are receiving the most interaction?
While there is a lot of helpful information you can glean from a little bit of ad testing, there’s also plenty you can learn from your organic approach. It takes time, but it’s worth it!
In addition, you’ll need to be creative to drive engagement on non-paid social media, which can help you build content marketing muscles you may not have developed yet. The Native explains that it’s better to post fewer updates that are higher quality. “Make it brilliant. Don’t just add to the noise, make such good content that your profiles are the conversation starters.”
5. Social Media Provides a Forum for Customer Care
As this infographic explains, 63 percent of consumers expect companies to provide customer service via social media. Research shows, “Nine out of 10 social media users have used social platforms to contact brands directly, and more than one out of every three people turn to social media to voice customer service concerns before seeking help via websites, live chat or email.”
Despite the shift in Facebook’s algorithm, it’s important your brand maintains at least a minimal presence. If they go to your page for help but see you haven’t posted an update in months – or even years! – they may assume the page is abandoned. By posting at least one update a week, you show consumers you’re active an engaged, and much more likely to provide the help they need.
6. Social Media Builds Engaged Communities More Effectively
While a social media ad may catch a user’s eye, it’s not going to turn that person into a brand advocate. By seeing a variety of your business’ updates on a regular basis, they’ll begin to learn more about your company and slowly become loyal to your organization.
In addition, when one of your followers interacts with your brand and their social media contacts see it, they’ve endorsed your company. A smaller community of users that interact with your business’ social channels is so much more important than hundreds of disengaged followers. Over time, engaged community builds on itself in ways that ads simply can’t.
7. Social Media Helps Search Engine Optimization
What does your organic social media presence have to do with search engine optimization, or SEO? Updating your profiles regularly can help you show up in relevant search results.
Gill Solutions shares a fantastic example. “If a user searches ‘Best bistros in Connecticut,’ a website with an active social media page providing backlinks with the words ‘Bistro’ and ‘Connecticut’ in its profile information will rank higher in search results than one without these backlinks.”
How to Build a Strong Organic Social Media Presence in 2018
1. Develop a Social Strategy
Before you go on a trip, you know where you’re going right? The same is true for your business’ social media pages. Don’t just start sharing random updates. Take the time to develop a plan. Consider:
- How frequently will you post?
- How often will you sit down to write new updates? I recommend once a week, as that lets you sit down and do it all at once, but still keeps the content timely.
- How will you showcase your business’ human side? Will you show behind-the-scenes photos, Live videos or upcoming projects?
- How often will you promote your brand within your updates? I always recommend the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your updates shouldn’t tout your business, services and/or products, and the other 20 percent can be promotional.
- How often will you share articles vs. videos vs. images?
- Are there specific hashtags you plan to use?
- Are there holidays or seasonal promotions coming up you want to promote?
As you can tell, there’s a LOT to think about. Be as specific as possible in your plan, print it out and put it somewhere you can refer to it frequently so you stay on track.
2. Share Your Story
As I wrote above, brands can provide a genuine look into what defines the organization. So give your followers an authentic look!
Strategy Lab shares a fantastic way to do this – remember the three Ps: People, Projects and Passions.
- People: “Sharing about your people creates trust.” Write updates about the people behind your organization. Show off their beautiful faces. Share why they do what they do and how they got involved with your business. Show them investing in their community through service opportunities. Let your followers see who is behind your brand.
- Projects: “It’s your chance to show your the world what you do and how you do it.” In addition to showcasing what you do best, providing a behind-the-scenes look of your projects – including challenges – can make your brand more relatable.
- Passions: “If projects are showing what you do and how you do it, passion is showing the world why you do it.” What do you love about your job or your industry? Share it on your social media channels!
3. Include Your Fans
The simplest way to encourage your followers to engage with you is to engage with them! Share updates about a valued customer, retweet them, or give a shout-out to your fans. They will appreciate the extra love and it will help you be more accessible and encourage brand loyalty.
4. Use Photos and Videos
Visuals can significantly increase your content’s chances of getting viewed and shared. Research shows 40 percent of people are more likely to respond to visuals than text. If you’re spreading information via social media, be sure to include images and videos your audience will be interested in for maximum fan engagement. A great way to encourage comments is to hold a caption contest for images or ask followers what questions they want you to answer in your next video.
5. Interact Often
Interacting on social media is one of the best ways to encourage fan engagement. That means it’s important to post regularly. Ask users questions or hold polls on your next promotions. As I explained above, social media channels can also be a great way to branch out your customer service by offering to solve complaints or field questions via your profiles.
6. Join the Conversation
Knowing what people are talking about and joining in on the conversation is a great way to build a following. React quickly to current events, join in on a hashtag or hold a poll on hot issues to get involved.
MDG Advertising explains, “There are all sorts of things happening on social media that cannot be responded to with advertising. These range from debates about news topics to riffs on fresh memes…of course, you should only do what’s natural for your brand. Don’t be sassy or take stands on issues if that’s not what you—or your customers—want. Also, if a trending topic fits your brand, and your voice will add to the conversation, then go ahead and post. But if your brand will be seen as being inauthentic or appropriating something for profit, then don’t jump on the bandwagon.”
7. Integrate SEO Best Practices
As I explained above, social media can help boost your brand’s SEO. Keep best practices in mind when you write your updates:
- Think about which words potential customers might search for and include them in your posts when they make sense.
- Share links to your website – the easiest way to do this is to share helpful blog posts you’ve written!
- Update your profiles with relevant, compelling updates often.
As you can tell, despite Facebook’s algorithm change, organic or non-paid social media is still worth the investment.
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