Over the past several years, organic reach on social media has been noticeably declining. This is primarily because social media platforms are pushing companies towards paid ads and promotions.
While increasing your marketing budget may be the simplest approach to increase distribution and drive sales, it’s not always an option for many small businesses.
WHAT IS ORGANIC REACH?
Organic reach refers to the potential audience visibility of your posts on social media. Essentially, it’s a way to measure how many people are seeing your content without you having to pay to promote it.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA’S ALGORITHMS AFFECT REACH
In an effort to support a positive user experience – and ostensibly to pressure businesses to “pay to play” – Facebook and other prominent social media platforms have implemented complicated algorithms.
These algorithms work by placing your posts in a pool as small as 1% of your followers. If those people engage with your posts, then they get pushed to a larger audience. Slowly but surely, more and more people will see your content – but only if it’s engaging. But this enlightening tidbit doesn’t help you if you don’t know what each social media platform considers engaging.
Facebook’s algorithm, for example, looks at hundreds of thousands of factors when determining whether a post will make it into a particular person’s newsfeed. While many of these factors aren’t public knowledge, some of them have been identified:
- High-quality content is rated more highly
- Anything regarded as spam will be limited or removed
- The more engaged users are, the higher the post is rated
- Negative feedback from users will minimize reach
- Greater priority is given to videos and photos
- The user’s past interaction with the page or post type affects visibility
On the surface, it may seem unfair that social media platforms are limiting your reach so dramatically. But it’s important to understand that these algorithms have to be selective. There’s far too much content on social media to digest, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to see it all.
In this article, we’ll explore a series of steps you can take to help boost your organic reach on social media.
10 TIPS FOR INCREASING YOUR ORGANIC REACH ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Develop a Social Media Content Strategy
If you want your content to engage customers and perform well organically, you have to invest time and thought into its development. Start by reviewing your business’s goals for using social media in the first place. Find out who your target audience is and identify their wants, needs, and pain points.
Blatant promotions won’t grow your reach or engage your audience. Instead, communicate your business’s unique story and vision through personalized, entertaining, and thoughtful content.
Choose the Right Platforms for Your Brand
Many businesses think they need to have a presence on all the major social media platforms, but that’s not necessarily true. Why waste your time and energy promoting your business on a particular social media site if your target audience isn’t using it?
A little research goes a long way in determining which platforms to choose to get your desired results on social media.
Take a look at where your direct competitors are posting on social media. If they’re nowhere to be found on a particular platform, chances are, you shouldn’t be there, either.
If you have a blog on your website, take advantage of its built-in analytics tools to see who’s sharing your content – and more importantly, where they’re sharing it.
Finally, if you want to get the most accurate info about your audience, just ask them. Conduct a survey, send out an email, or even pick up the phone and call them.
Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
Every aspect of your social media profile can be tweaked and optimized for increased visibility, which in turn will help increase your overall reach.
Key tactics for profile optimization include:
- Easy-to-remember username (the closer it is to your brand name, the better)
- Recognizable photo or brand logo
- Keyword-rich descriptions that still sound natural
- Trackable link back to your website
When posting your content on social media, you can use these same criteria to select/decide which images you use, what keywords to include, and how to phrase your calls-to-action. This rule of thumb applies across any and all social networking sites.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
The average Facebook user is exposed to over 1,500 stories each day. To keep the user engaged, the newsfeed only displays about 300 of these – the stories it deems most relevant. With this knowledge in hand, clearly posting more often isn’t the answer.
Instead, focus on producing high-quality, relevant content that your audience will be interested in and want to engage with. Posting valuable content less frequently will enhance your organic reach better than inundating your page with everything you can think of.
There’s no exact science as to how often you should post on social media. Since each platform is different and every business is unique, experiment with different frequencies to see what works best for you.
Get to know your audience by researching similar pages, paying attention to your analytics, and gaining a better understanding of what your followers like and respond to. Post frequently enough to stay relevant to your followers, but not so much that you become a nuisance.
Target Content to Reach Your Ideal Users
This strategy varies by platform, but tweaking the settings on your posts to target specific members of your audience can also help boost your organic reach.
On Facebook, for example, you can use organic post targeting to have your post only show up to particular demographics, based on things such as gender, relationship status, education level, age, location, language, and interests.
Of course, you want to make sure that you’re targeting the right audience in the first place. You don’t want to waste time and resources on sharing content with people outside your target personas.
Social media analytics tools can help provide insights into your audience so you can develop and implement your strategies effectively. Create content with your specific audience in mind – after all, these are the people most likely to see and “like” your posts and potentially share them with their friends.
Identify the Best Times to Post
Every second of every day, social media platforms get bombarded with content from millions of different users. In order to get the maximum impact from your social media marketing, timing your posts well is critical.
If you post when the majority of users are online, your content may get lost in a sea of posts that everyone else is seeing. If you post during non-peak hours, you’re less likely to get drowned out by all the noise on social media.
On Twitter, where content is displayed in chronological order, timing is especially important. If the majority of your audience is logging on to Twitter in the evening, but you’ve posted in the morning, only users who tirelessly scroll through all the posts, or make a special effort to look at your feed, will see your content.
Post a Variety of Different Content Types
Certain content types have proven to generate a huge boost in organic reach. On Facebook, video content has the highest organic reach by a margin of almost 3%. This is huge, considering that the average organic reach on the platform has dropped to 1% or less. Videos also tend to get shared more often than other types of content, which also contributes to greater reach.
Since people are attracted to visuals over text alone, adding images or GIFs to your posts also helps get more eyes on your content.
Promote Your Social Media Profiles Everywhere
Every place your business has a presence – your website, storefront, business cards, email signatures, etc. – should steer users towards your social media platforms.
Add “follow” buttons on your website so that users can instantly follow or “like” your page without having to leave your site. The idea is to make your presence known everywhere, which will ultimately lead to tremendous growth for your organic reach.
Strike a Balance Between Promotional and Useful Content
Along with promotional content about your business’s products or services, users want to see content that’s useful to them. Sharing valuable content – such as articles, blog posts, how-to guides, etc. – builds users’ trust in your brand. In short order, people will come to recognize you as an authority in the industry and take you at your word when you recommend a particular product or service.
The key here is mastering the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule – in other words, 80% of your content should be informative and useful, while the remaining 20% should be used to promote your business and its products or services. The 80% will draw in new followers and foster brand trust, which will lead to them seeing the other 20% and hopefully purchasing what you’re offering. Remember to include a mixture of videos, images, and other engaging content types to keep things interesting.
Interact and Engage with Your Followers
One of the simplest ways to get your audience to engage with your content is by directly interacting with them. Asking questions in your posts encourages followers to personally respond to your content and hopefully spark a conversation in the comments section.
When someone comments on one of your posts – whether in the form of feedback, complaints, or compliments – try to keep the conversation going by replying publicly. The more engagement the post has, the higher it will rank in the social platform’s algorithm, thus growing your organic reach exponentially.
By effectively communicating with your audience and replying to their comments, you’ll build a great reputation that will spread. People will seek out your posts because they’re truly interested in what you’re doing.
Encourage and Curate User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content – whether it be text, images, videos, reviews, etc. – created by individual people, rather than brands.
Often, this content will include or mention a brand and its products or services. Businesses may choose to share this UGC on their own social media pages, website, or other marketing channels.
User-generated content is an effective form of engagement because it’s essentially a win-win for both parties – brands get to connect with fans that are proud to show off their products or services, and in return, those fans get the chance to be featured by the brand and even potentially grow their own following.
Outstanding UGC can not only lead to increased engagement for your business, but also higher conversion rates, improved brand trust, and a great deal of time saved on content creation as well.
If you’re wondering how to get UGC for your brand, one idea to consider is to start a hashtag campaign. Create a customized hashtag for your campaign, then ask your audience to post content featuring your brand or products. Encourage them to use the campaign hashtag in their captions. Turn it into a contest, with the chance to win a prize or be featured in an upcoming social media post, and you’ll see even more valuable engagement from your followers.
Social media platforms are continually updating their algorithms to benefit their users. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. But this only makes things more difficult for businesses that rely on these platforms as integral components of their overall marketing strategy.
As is often the case with social media marketing, there’s no universal strategy to help boost your organic reach. But implementing the tips outlined here is certainly a good place to start.
It’s going to require a great deal of planning, as well as consistent work and commitment. But it really boils down to creating sensational content that your users will want to share.
The key is to work smarter, not harder. Concentrate on improving your content as well as your social media approach, and the desired results will follow. If you don’t instantly see an increase in organic reach, don’t lose heart. Remember, it’s a long-term process that demands that you maintain your focus.
When you partner with HighClick Media for your social media marketing, we can help elevate your business by increasing traffic to your website, boosting brand awareness, and improving relationships with your customers and prospects.
Are you ready to maximize your marketing efforts and reach a bigger audience with your messaging? Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.