It’s no secret. Brands’ ability to reach fans and followers through organic social media posts on both Facebook and Twitter is continuing to dwindle. There have been numerous POV’s and studies released that talk about the trends in organic reach, and none of them allude to a change in direction that favors brands, big or small.
While organic reach is continuing to decline, there are smart and strategic things that businesses can do to combat the impact that this issue has on their social community. It is important for marketing professionals to understand why this phenomenon is occurring in addition to formulating a plan to strengthen community growth while most brands are experiencing trends in the opposite direction.
What is causing the organic decline?
Consider your own activity in your social media over the past few years. Have you stopped connecting with new friends, family members, or colleagues in social networks? Probably not. Your social network has probably grown to include more people, and even more brands and businesses. Has the way you consume social content changed drastically? You probably access Facebook and Twitter on your desktop and your mobile device, but you probably did both of those things two years ago if you had a smartphone. Have you made more time to review news feed updates so that you can make sure that you see all of your new connections social updates? Probably not. At least not at the same rate you are adding new connections.
People haven’t stopped connecting with new friends or businesses. And nothing suggests that they are going to stop making new connections. This means that businesses will continue to see more competition when trying to connect organically with consumers.
This plight is compounded by the growing presence of paid advertising on both Facebook and Twitter. Not only is there more competition organically, but paid competition is growing. The presence of more paid content in Facebook and Twitter directly impacts the inventory available for organic posts. The combination of more connections and more paid advertisements means there is drastically more competition in the news feed.
What should my business do about it?
Essentially, you have two choices. Socially savvy businesses are choosing to go with a combination of the two options below, because implementing one of the strategies alone simply isn’t enough to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.
1. Build a better, and more genuine social communication strategy.
Not only will a more genuine communication strategy resonate more with your consumers, but Facebook rewards brands for content that receives a higher level of engagement. Facebook has an algorithm just like Google, which helps it make personalized, real-time decisions about what posts to show a specific user. TechCrunch attempts to simplify the algorithm with this infographic:
Nothing about this strategy is easy, and results won’t happen overnight. It takes discipline, smart analytics, and the willingness of a brand to move outside of their comfort zone. But the brands who are focused on getting it right and constantly challenging themselves to build a deeper relationship with their community are the only ones winning against the harsh Facebook reality.
2. Select highly important and impactful content, and promote it.
Even businesses who excel at communicating with their social network will say that doing so exclusively isn’t enough to regain the amount of impressions lost over the last four years. It is becoming commonplace for marketers to set aside budget to dedicate to social media initiatives. According to a study conducted by SalesForce, 57% of global marketers planned to increase their social media spending in 2014.
If you are simply trying to make up for lost impressions, boosting posts or promoting tweets is usually the way to go. But you can get so much more sophisticated than that if you have initiatives beyond generating impressions for your brand. For instance, both Facebook and Twitter now allow you to target individuals based on their email address. So paring your email strategy with a paid social strategy can allow you to target your opted-in subscribers outside of their inbox.
For more information about how your brand can get the most out of your social networks, feel free to contact DEG!