Let’s start with a frightening statistic you simply cannot ignore: only 4 percent of your Facebook followers see your new posts. And, if you find that hard to believe, here’s another one: organic reach for Facebook pages fell 52 percent in 2016. These are just two statistics that show how social media is changing. Yes, it’s almost a cliché, everything on the internet is constantly evolving and changing. We would like to imagine that this change always goes where we want it, but that’s not always the case.
There’s only one obvious conclusion, and every digital marketer tends to agree on it: social media organic reach is going down. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, were trusted “knowledge spreaders” just a few years ago. You simply had to post your content, even though not really interesting or exciting, and it was sure to reach thousands or tens of thousands of followers. It was digital marketing’s safest bet. You simply couldn’t go wrong with, but that’s changing as we speak.
In a separate study done by Forrester (a major market research company based in Cambridge, MA), analysts found that, if your business has 100,000 Facebook followers, a new organic post will be seen by only 2,600 people. Of these 2,600 people, only 130 will actually click on the link and read it. That’s a reach ratio of just 2.6 percent — a disastrous percentage even for optimists.
The obvious questions arise… Why is this happening? Why is organic social media failing? And, more importantly, is there anything we can do about it?
Let’s start by answering the first two questions:
Firstly, there’s a profound change in how we use social media on the whole. Social media is now filled with too many voices, too many influencers and participants. The social media environment is cluttered with reposts and unoriginal material, as marketing agencies, but also individuals, have literally flooded Facebook, Twitter and other platforms with content. This means users are overwhelmed with new information constantly popping up on their feeds. There’s just too much noise to get noticed.
Secondly, social media platforms simply had enough of this massive influx of content shared by individuals and agencies. And their solution was quite simple and straightforward. As businesses, they make money through sponsored posts and that’s exactly what they did: they pushed sponsored posts. What you get is obvious: sponsored posts pop up on feeds, while organic posts lag far behind.
So what can you do?
In a nutshell: use both. Go for organic and paid social media. Combine them together, but pay attention to each strategy and make them work together. After all, that’s what 86 percent of companies do, according to a study done by Clutch.
For organic social media, focus on GREAT content. Whether it’s text, photo or video, it should be awesome and make people interact with it immediately. Respond to customer comments, questions or complaints. Keep an eye out on everything that goes on your profile. Share, post and interact several times a day to make sure you expand your reach.
When it comes to paid social media, you’ll have to master the metrics, as it’s all a numbers’ game. Track the right metrics, understand response rates, clickthrough rates, conversion rates, impressions, engagement and the other various statistics most social media platforms provide. Mastering the metrics means improved results, excellent ROIs and good conversions.
Organic social media is on life support and businesses who fail to understand this will suffer. Incorporating paid tactics, along organic ones, is crucial for success, especially in the years to come. Relying only on organic social media is detrimental for your organization: there’s a lot of content to produce and most of it will go unnoticed. Using paid tactics means your excellent content will be seen… and after all, that’s what the marketing game is all about. Isn’t it?