Recently we’ve been looking at whether we really still need websites in the age of mobile. We also then looked at whether we really need content amid a culture of ephemeral, disposable communication? Now we reveal 3 steps to increasing organic social media reach.
In our last blog, reflecting our consumerist society, we saw Sue and Nigel next door, throwing away their perfectly good garden furniture as the live-light, disposable generation. But we also saw the fatigue of this approach, humans are not designed to live so fast; science says we can’t keep up saying your brain can only cope with 5 friends, so no wonder social media gets a bad press for causing stress and adding to mental health issues amid the social media maelstrom, where we are buffeted every day with 100s of messages.
None of this is concerns Sue and Nigel though, they have a house full of new stuff and what better way to tell everyone about it than spread the word on social media. They have paid an Influencer to come in and arrange the house and take some shots, so it all looks great. The thing they can’t get grips with though, is that they haven’t gone viral on social – even with their expensive help. I mean, why? Doesn’t everyone just love carefully crafted shots of perfection? They might not be Country Living, but they are at least Surrey Smart – a house in that lives in ‘the now’, packed with the very latest DIY store trends. Yet they only have 136 followers and most of those were press-ganged from the Round Table committee and the tennis club.
Social media white noise is everywhere
So, shocking as it is for Sue and Nigel to discover that absolutely nobody is interested in seeing social media posts of their Surrey Smart semi, they shouldn’t really be surprised. The problem is that these days, social noise is everywhere – so when you look or sound like everyone else it’s hard to be heard.
Anyone can post on free to access social media tools – the ‘just get stuff out, don’t sweat it, just post it’ attitude prevails over quality, because quality takes skill and time. We reminded you that writing original content is difficult – just try writing something original and witty on a birthday card. “Suddenly a few minutes feels like an hour and you end up scribbling: ‘you don’t look a day over 21 – ha ha’ – and hating yourself for it”.
More and more social media competition
What’s the result of all this? More competition for a crowded space. More noise, more chatter. It also goes without saying that the social media giants want to make more money and if you can reach everyone for free, it lessens the incentive for paid post promotions or ads. No surprise then that organic reach is down across all platforms, which in turn makes the market even more competitive.
So what is the answer? Produce some great content.
Digital Information World recently reminded us that: “content makes their audience view their organisation as a credible and trusted source.”
That’s great – but even with fantastic content, how do we penetrate the white noise of social media?
Penetrate the wall of social media white noise – 3 steps to increasing organic social media reach.
- Understand the rules of the competition.
Who makes the rules of this competition? The platform owners.
How do they implement the rules? Through their proprietary algorithms.
Although the precise details of these algorithms are closely guarded secrets, their evidence trails are tracked fastidiously by industry commentators and users.
There are three key indicators that you will embrace if you want to overcome the industry white noise:
a. Timing – when you posted and how long ago that was.
b. Content – did the post include relevant content that your audience could relate to?
c. Engagement – did your audience react to your post with clicks and shares?
Each algorithm is different and each one gets updated and changed on a regular basis, so you have to be alert to changes and adapt your behaviour accordingly.
- Produce authentic content
It’s easy just to presume, if you listen to Sue and Nigel and look at their favourite Instagram sites, that consumers want to see beautifully crafted, professionally shot images that sell an image of perfection.
But, remember, that the most popular clicks on Google are not actually the first three sites as you might expect. Why not? They carry the small ‘Ad’ moniker, meaning that people skip them by and large: around 94% of all search traffic goes to organic results over paid ads.
In a recent survey published by Social Media Today, highlights the importance of authentic content.
“Ad-exhausted audiences are increasingly looking for authenticity”, and that “user-generated content is also the most influential content consumers reference when making purchasing decisions.”
Furthermore: “a whopping 90% of consumers said that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.”
So, listen to the statistics that evidence the voice of the people! Creating user-generated content in your social media strategy will help fight the decline in organic reach.
Agencies time and time again report that user-generated pieces produce more engagement than original brand photography – customers take the word of other customers much more than the potentially spurious assurances of paid content.
Agencies time and time again report that user-generated pieces produce more engagement than original brand photography – customers take the word of other customers much more than the word of
- Jump into live streaming
A brilliant way of combining video with user generated content is to produce live streaming content – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all offer the facility – which is a great way to encourage interaction with customers.
Interaction is part of building a relationship – building relationships is what building your brand is all about. Through live streaming, you can introduce your followers to your team, let customers know about upcoming events and even open up some Q & A sessions, where you let customers put you and your team on the spot!
The more interaction you have, the more customers feel invested in your products or brand. You can also record the live videos and post them to build your content base.
How do we best achieve these 3 steps? Invest some time in your content
The very reason we might be advising putting time into content, is that you don’t have endless piles of cash to throw at paid social media marketing.
It’s a much easier game to play, if you can get someone else to do it. Pay per click campaigns and social media influencers are all very well if you have a pot of cash to throw at it without worrying about the consequences. Most SMEs do not have that luxury, but most have a member of staff who produces content for posting on social media.
Don’t just assume that some slick professional imagery without any resonance or story will produce results – artsy shots of Nigel and Sue’s scatter cushion Surry Smart living room? We’ve seen it all before. You need some creativity to write a story, come up with some ideas that resonate.
To achieve this, invest on your staff and give them the time to do their job properly. In the days of increasing competition, social media noise and shrinking organic reach, the only thing left is to raise the quality of your output above the mediocrity of social media white noise.
If you’ve taken the 3 steps to increasing organic social media reach and maybe feel that you still some help with creating some better content – get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!