In a pay-to-play world, it’s easy to let your organic social media strategy take the back seat. After all, the return on investment (ROI) isn’t as black and white as any paid media is. But that doesn’t mean it’s not there, or not worth it. Organic social is a representation of the values your brand stands for. These include:
- The people it employs.
- The culture it fosters.
- The relationships, community and memories it creates.
- The types of products and services it sells.
- The innovations it makes.
- And so much more.
Organic social is limitless, and its ever-changing potential is certainly something to invest in—especially in 2022.
Your brand is unattractive without organic.
Organic social is where brand awareness and, eventually, loyalty are built. In fact, your organic channel’s hygiene content—posts designed to be published on a frequent cadence—should strategically include relevant organic search keywords. This is often a user’s first touchpoint with your brand—sometimes even before they’re exposed to your website.
First impressions can go a long way—regardless of your brand’s goals. Whether you care about recruiting, cataloguing your product, demonstrating your service or fundraising for a nonprofit, here’s why your organic social strategy matters and should be integrated with the rest of your marketing efforts to deliver a high-quality experience for users to drive results.
Build your brand presence.
Unlike websites, social media is a tool people spend a substantial amount of concentrated time on – and they can do it wherever, whenever. According to a study by USwitch, Americans, on average, spend a whopping four hours a day scrolling through social media. While this might not be something to brag about, it does demonstrate how important it is for competitive brands to stay active on social platforms. What it doesn’t mean is that you must boil the ocean by strategizing for all platforms at once. Start by picking the one or two channels where you’re most likely to reach your primary target audience and get really good at building relationships with them there.
In order to show customers and clients that you’re an open, credible and easy-to-reach business, there needs to be a structure in place to represent the brand and all of its operations. That structure comes from developing a strategy, giving you the blueprint for different content buckets and repeatable ideas that you can post daily, weekly and monthly to continuously build and brightly exude your brand’s presence.
How often do you find yourself searching social media for solutions, inspiration, entertainment or information? If your answer is anything besides “never” and your brand isn’t currently on social media, you need to reconsider. Because if you’re not getting your metaphorical hands dirty promoting your brand’s offerings or interacting with the community in an authentic and convenient way, your competitor likely is
Tap into feeling like a friend.
At Mower, we live by Brand as Friend®, a fundamental that’s injected into everything we do. Brand as Friend® helps us to build brand strategies on the three pillars of friendship: affection, relevance and trust. Why? Because we know that people are more likely to listen to a friend. In fact, 58% of people are more inclined to recommend a brand or purchase a product/service repeatedly when they consider a brand a friend.
When social media first came about, there wasn’t a whole lot of noise to fight through. But now we’ve all figured out ways to ignore the ignorable and unfollow the boring and inconsistent while finding a sense of connection and loyalty with brands we find authentic and trustworthy.
Organic social has become an always-on approach with customer-service and listening tools allowing us to solve issues and answer questions for inquisitive minds, just like a good and reliable friend would. Having a one-stop-shop that’s consistently populated with the most up-to-date business information, event details, job openings, tips, trends and answers helps build a friendship. All the FAQs in the world are no match for being able to chat with a representative or start a conversation within the community.
Brands showing support through community engagement can build stronger friendships and user bases. It’s a place where the most loyal friends of your brand will gather and share their love for it based on the positive impact it has had on their lives. There’s nothing more frustrating than a brand blowing you off, and it’s a surefire way to say, “Peace out!” to a business opportunity or what could’ve been a beautiful friendship.
Organic social is the perfect starting point for finding optimizations in business processes, starting conversations, answering questions and facilitating offline interactions. Being in control of your brand’s page also helps to assuage any inevitable bad reviews, negative comments or misinformation. Be sure to take control of your page and take care of your people.
Organic meets paid.
Nothing in life is free. Unfortunately, quickly growing your engagement numbers or leveraging targeting capabilities to find the right audience on social media is no exception. While organic takes care of the day-to-day communications and serves as the face of your brand, it can only reach so far with so many resources.
Enter paid social.
Paid advertising targets people through a wide variety of filters, so you can be sure the most qualified audiences are being exposed to your content in the right place at the right time. It gives you more tools to find leads quicker, sell products more efficiently, blast out brand awareness or informally share an event invite. That’s not to say we can’t make the same efforts on organic social, but a targeted boost never hurts.
It’s also worth mentioning what a huge turnoff it is to be driven from a beautiful paid promotion to an empty organic channel stripped of all personality. How am I supposed to believe your recruiting ad about being the best place to work when I can’t even visualize the feng shui of the office space?
“Wait, this is about why my brand’s organic social strategy is important. Why so much talk about paid?”
Organic and paid media strategies are different tactics that work symbiotically to achieve business goals. Organic cuts out most of the promotion mumbo-jumbo to focus on relationship building and brand perception, while paid has a more concrete goal and call-to-action. Without paid media it’s hard to attract large numbers of people to your page. Without organic it’s hard to keep them there.
There are super-inexpensive options, too. With as little as $20 a day, you can boost your top-performing organic content on Facebook and Instagram or run a campaign that works toward specific goals such as increasing organic page visits. This avoids inundating your organic feed with promotions (grounds for an unfollow, which we *dislike*). On the other hand, if you’re running a paid campaign and a person clicks to “learn more” but your organic channel is barren, it’s likely people will find your ad “scammy” and won’t complete the action you’re asking of them.
How to measure impact and optimize.
You may be saying, “Okay, that’s all great, but there are business pressures to perform against. How can we identify the ROI or know when we’ve achieved our goals?”
To start, your organic social media strategy is a long-term plan that must evolve with the trends and new features of the platforms. A paid strategy is a shorter-term approach that runs in-market from a few weeks to a couple of months.
There are many different metrics to look at when calculating organic social performance. The goal is to seek improvements over time as your audience grows and you gain perspective on what types of content are engaging the most people. The largest and most impactful metrics that lend insight into the effectiveness of your organic social content are impressions and engagements.
- Impressions: The number of times a piece of content is viewed.
- Engagements: Active measures taken toward a piece of content. For example, likes, comments, shares, link clicks, etc. You should pay attention to your engagements per post and track them over time to determine how much your audience is engaging.
Put it all together and you have an engagement rate, or the percentage of engagements made on a given post in comparison to how many people could potentially see it (the sum of your follower base). Engagement rates are always relative to your audience size, and the goal is to exceed industry benchmarks and overperform against previous business goals.
- Example: I have 100 followers and 20 of them engaged with my post. My engagement rate equals 20 engagements divided by 100 followers multiplied by 100, or 20%.
Each platform has a different benchmark engagement rate, and they change by industry, so be sure to do research to find out whether you’re meeting or exceeding your goals each reporting period.
Time to grow.
So, as we warned, calculating ROI on organic social media isn’t all that simple. Like most things, it takes doing, experimenting, learning and optimizing to grow, and is an extremely necessary part of your marketing tactics. With the implementation of a strong organic social media strategy and monthly metrics report, you’ll be able to compare content across the board and realize the growth your channel is making month over month. You could always enlist us for help in strategizing and measuring impact too—we’re experts.
There’s always an opportunity for improvement. The good thing about organic social media is the ease with which you can evolve by making simple tweaks to repeatable content. You just have to find your audience’s sweet spot.