Remember a time when you could put a post up in your newsfeed, and hundreds – thousands – of people would see it?
Those were the good old days, when social media was still brand new. Once people figured out the power of social media platforms, they joined in droves.
Then these platforms figured out how to monetize, and organic social media became a thing of the past. No more “talking” online without a boost or a paid campaign.
Those days are over.
Or are they?
What social media platforms really want
Have you ever complained when your favorite social media platform makes a change? We’ve all done it.
But here’s the thing; these platforms are following their own agenda. They care about their business model, not your interests.
Of course, the two have to marry up in the middle somewhat; you won’t keep using it if it’s horrible. But they’re in it for profits, and they’ll make changes to their programs to maximize whenever possible.
This isn’t a new thing. Here’s an article talking about the demise of marketing using organic social media. It’s from 2014.
What comes around, goes around. Marketing as a whole is a difficult task at best. John Wanamaker’s famous quote will always say it best:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
If a system exists, there are ways to make money with it. And organic social media platforms aren’t an exception to that rule. You just have to know how to play the game.
Know Your Audience
People use social media to be entertained. They use it to learn something new. They use it to stay engaged with their social network. They want to feel like they’re part of a group.
Social media allows people to connect based on interests, not geography. If you love elephants and want to support their plight even though you’re living in rural Montana, you can engage via your favorite social media site.
Your audience is there waiting. And if you say what they want to hear, they’ll be there waiting. But you have to know your audience better than they know themselves.
Think about your audience for a moment. How would you describe them?
“Anyone who is a mom” isn’t the right answer.
Instead, think this way.
“Moms between 25 and 35 who have small children under the age of seven. They often juggle school, work, playdates, family chores, and caregiving all at the same time. They have their kids in several activities, and try to fit in a day or two at the gym per week. They are looking for work at home opportunities they can do while the kids are sleeping.”
See the difference?
See the possibilities?
The more structure you give your audience profile, the more opportunity you can feed into your organic social media campaigns. It’ll give you insight into what she does and what she’s thinking.
When does she check her newsfeeds? Is she looking at it while fixing school lunches in the morning? Or maybe sneaking a peek at lunch between meetings at work? Or how about sitting at soccer practice waiting to pick up the kids before hauling them to the next function?
Does she read? Does she like short videos? Does she engage with beautiful photography?
Now you can give her what she wants, when she’s there to read it. You can give tips about making dinner. Ideas to make her a better parent. Or simply entertain and take away some of her stress.
Don’t lose your branding or your message in this process. Instead, figure out a way to combine it all. This will help make your audience more highly engaged.
Invest In The Right Content
Once you have your audience defined, it’s important to give them what they want consistently. An organic social media plan takes a look at all things: when your audience is there, what they want, what they’ll engage with, and what they’re most likely to share.
Once they start engaging, you don’t want to fade from the scene almost as fast as you entered. You want to be able to create a schedule and stick with it.
You also want consistency in everything you do. This can include things like:
- Colors – if you switch through the color palette, it can be noticeable on some platforms like Instagram
- Fonts – think your font isn’t noticeable? Think Disney. Or Apple. Does your mind instantly go to their recognizable fonts? You bet.
- Photography – it doesn’t have to be professional, but it does have to be consistent. Some well-known brands do well with selfies or point and shoot content. But if image matters, don’t be afraid to invest in a professional.
- Copy – what you say can show off personality. What tone do you take with everything you have to say?
- Video – do you shoot with your phone, or do you take it to the professional level? Make sure it’s consistent.
Whatever you choose to use, make sure you commit to the process. Don’t go big in the beginning. No one will be successful “all in.” Instead, focus on what matters most and what you’ll commit to using. Ask for help. Buy specific equipment if necessary.
Some brands do well by producing some of it in-house. But that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on others to help you with both creation and production. The key is being able to deliver.
A word of caution. When using other peoples’ content, be sure to give credit where credit is due. While using photos and videos can be great for complimenting an article and making content look less busy, it’s important to use stock images from high-quality free image sites. Many exist, such as Unsplash or Pexels. Or try paid stock sites like Shutterstock or Dreamstime for inexpensive photos, videos, and graphics that make perfect additions to any site.
Shift Away From Selling
One of the most common mistakes brands make is to take an old-school marketing approach with their organic social media platforms. Social media is used to engage, not to sell. Nobody wants to talk to the person who screams, “BUY.” They’re avoided like the plague.
That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about what you do. Talk about your products and your services. Chat about features and benefits. Share your promotions. Just do so with other engaging content, so it doesn’t come off as a sales pitch, but rather a way to engage with who you are.
Think of your organic social media as a way to “date” your customers. You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, would you? You’d spend time getting to know someone. Doing different things. Seeing them in different places. Learning who they are. Spending lots of time understanding what they’re all about.
You’re in business for the long haul. If you want to be in business one – five – ten years from now, organic social media is the perfect way to build relationships. It’s a perfect way to share what you’re all about in a transparent way.
Organic social media isn’t going away. Like any form of marketing, you just have to know how to play.
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