I recently deleted the Facebook app from my mobile. I still check in now and then when I’m around a desktop and I’ll occasionally use my phone’s browser to have a peek as well. But for the most part, Facebook was taking up a huge amount of my mobile’s memory and was just generally getting a bit disappointing. I don’t have the most active newsfeed in the world and what was there wasn’t interesting enough to keep me engaged. My closest friends rarely post and those with whom I have the most tenuous of relationships post just a little too much. It’s no wonder I disconnected (somewhat).
My experience isn’t unique. Bad content isn’t interesting. Bad content doesn’t keep people engaged. Bad content makes people put down their phones, close the browser, turn away from the screen, and (most importantly) not come back. Organic social media is often just a steaming pile of bad content – but not always. We can still fix this.
The organic reach apocalypse
Questioning the life expectancy of social media has become a much more common trope as of late. Whether it’s obsessing over a newer platform’s ability to survive amongst competitors or predicting the death of Twitter (again), we can’t help but guess at where social channels are heading.
Avinash Kaushik recently wrote an article on whether it was time to stop all organic social media activity. Kaushik details what he calls the “promise of marketing utopia”, where brands could communicate directly with their ideal audiences, providing meaningful and helpful content for their future and current customers. Everybody wins in marketing utopia. But unfortunately, this isn’t what happened. Brands used the opportunity to create quick-and-dirty content with zero value to their customers.
This unwanted, endless self-promotion received relatively little backlash until social channels caught on to the negative experience users were having. Algorithms were updated, organic reach was slashed, and all marketers were left with was desperately trying to improve affinity scores with their audience. So what do we do now? Kaushik suggests completely stopping all organic social media and switching to a paid-only strategy. It’s an extreme view – one that many marketers aren’t entirely convinced by.
But Kaushik has a point. Continuing to spend several hours a day organising organic social media posting is not an effective strategy for your business. Paid amplification has been a suggested route by many marketers for years, but the allure of “free” organic reach always outweighed the assurances of advertisement. In reality, nothing comes for free, be it good content or getting people to see it.
Marketers can only blame themselves for the lack of organic reach on social media. It’s a natural result considering the initial lack of understanding surrounding the channels, constant platform evolution, and the desire of platform owners to monetize. It’s our job now to step back and re-strategize, accept our mistakes, and plan how to be better
Fixing the social media problem
Step one is to re-evaluate the quality of the content you’re posting. Is it really helpful to your customers or is it just a way to get them to your site and buy? All content should be useful, whether it’s simply delighting your audience in some way or providing them with solutions to problems they have.
Step two is to seriously consider a paid strategy. What is your organic social strategy actually getting you, anyway? Do you even measure its performance? Put money behind a post and suddenly you’re not only reaching a much wider audience, but you’re likely tracking behaviour and paying much closer attention to the data. A promotional budget calls for goals and with goals you can calculate a real ROI. Consistent ROI improvements means more marketing budget and even more reach for your content. And because you’re paying to put out an ad or to boost a post, you’re going to make sure it’s good, right? In fact, you’re going to make sure it’s great! And ultimately, that’s all people want from social meda – great content.
You may not be ready to take the plunge Kaushik suggests and cease all organic social activity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to improve on your current social strategy. Considering taking on paid promotion? We’ve created a guide to social ads geared specifically for B2C businesses. Download it for free today to find which channels are right for you and how to make the most of them.