Probably one of the most mentioned events in the social media world in the past year, the decline in organic reach on Instagram has been the talk of the town. When platforms such as Instagram and Facebook appeared, we weren’t witnessing just new social networks where you could post pictures of you and your family on holiday or message your friends from abroad, but it also opened up an incredible opportunity for small businesses around the world. It was now possible for any food truck, newly started clothing line or creative business to target their audience, reach new individuals and grow their business in a new, affordable and effective way.
The best part of trying to grow your business in the social media environment was that even if you didn’t have a significant budget or no budget at all to invest in running ads, you could still build your online presence organically and the algorithm that we all fear today was one of our best friends on Instagram, helping your account land on the feeds of those who haven’t yet heard about your brand. All you needed to do was to be consistent and have great content and that is available even today, however, as more and more businesses join platforms like Instagram and with millions of monthly active users of the platform, the competition is high and the platform is developing algorithms that will use artificial intelligence to personalise and curate content for users, leaving you little space and time to get on someone’s feed.
Just because organic reach is declining, it doesn’t mean it’s dead or that you won’t be able to make it without running paid advertising campaigns. If you’re looking for brand awareness and want to share content that adds real value to your audience, entertaining or educational, an organic content strategy will set your business on the right track and will help you start growing your online presence.
What Are You Offering And Who Is Your Customer?
Same old, same old. At the risk of sounding repetitive (and boring), this will forever remain the ultimate truth when it comes to any sort of marketing strategy, whether you are buying billboard space or running a Facebook ads campaign. If you don’t fully know what you are offering and why you are offering it, you have a problem. You want your product or service to be a solution for an issue or challenge a certain population segment is facing. Whether they are struggling with finding authentic Asian food in your area and you have an amazing food truck specialising in Asian fresh street food or there are individuals out there in need of a software solution and you can help them through your product, it is crucial that you identify what and where the issue is and define your product or service as the solution for that.
Once that is out of the way, get a better understanding of your target audience. I know the current trend out there is to just do it and experiment as you go along, and while I agree with that to a certain extent, I feel like fewer people do proper research into their potential customers before trying the newest, coolest trends there are on the internet. Chances are, you might discover that your ideal target audience is not even present in such a high number on your chosen platform.
Create a persona of who your customers are, define two or three profiles that you feel are very relevant to your business and research everything you can about them, from the clothes they like to wear, spending habits, the music and art trends they’re more likely to love and why or how they are currently dealing with the challenge or issue you are trying to fix for them. While having a small budget means you can’t put your hands on an incredibly fancy report or afford to hire someone to do due diligence on this, I can assure you that you can find amazing information out there that is available to the public and can really help you out.
From reports to statistics on different age groups and their spending habits and generational behaviour, institutions like Pew Research or even popular marketing platforms like Influencer Marketing Hub, HubSpot and Hootsuite have valuable resources on their websites where you can really read a lot on your ideal customer and figure out what are the best channels to target them and what they are interested in when they go online.
Not sure where to start? It might be time to dust off the old strategy and figure out what is performing (or not) on your current feeds and adjust your content strategy to match your brand’s voice and goals in the online environment. Here are 7 ways you can elevate your organic social media content strategy:
I’m sure it doesn’t come back as no surprise that the most engaging type of content on social media platforms is the video format, with videos under two minutes getting the most engagement. What’s more, 51% of marketing professionals claim it is the type of content with the best ROI.
Do your research and find out what your target audience is interested in when they go online and what kind of videos they’re into. You can plan a few video streams where you can integrate your brand and create relevant video content for your audience without expensive equipment or editing. The main thing you want to keep in mind is whether the videos you are creating actually provide your online community with real value. Is this going to be helpful, inspirational or motivational for them? Will this be solving an issue for some individuals or tackle a challenge they’re facing in their daily lives? Understanding why people follow you and what they would expect to see on your feeds will help you get a better idea of what streams will perform well. These videos can be anything from short tutorials to vlog-style clips or online challengers. Whatever you choose, make sure you also try new things all the time to diversity your content and keep discovering content that your audience interacts with.
An interesting way to spice up your feed might be to create a weekly or bi-weekly infographic that you can share on social media. Especially popular amongst B2B profiles, with 67% of B2B marketers creating infographics in 2020 according to the 2020 Content Marketing Industry Report, these can really stand out from the crowd and catch the attention of your audience. Not only they consist of significant, valuable information or statistics on a subject, but they also look amazing in terms of design and we all know that platforms like Instagram, for example, are all about that aesthetically pleasing feed!
If you are not familiar with more complex design software, you can always go online and search for infographics templates that you can customise for your own content.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea to get on a live video and start speaking to their audience, but it’s an amazing opportunity for a brand to really interact with their online followers on a more personal level, enabling conversations to happen in real-time. Here’s your chance to talk about your brand, your products and services and why you think people should follow you and use your brand.
If you’re not sure what your followers would want you to discuss on a live video, run some stories on Instagram and use the question feature to ask them. Use their answers to plan your first video and ask for feedback at the end to improve or change the topics of your future live videos depending on what they’d be interested in.
Maybe one of the most underrated content streams for a lot of brands, user-generated content can do wonders when it comes to engagement and it also encourages other online users to interact with your brand, not to mention that every statistic points out that people will be more likely to buy a product if they’ve seen other users review it or talk about it. In fact, TurnTo’s latest research shows that 90% of consumers say user-generated content (UGC) holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails and even search engine results.
Whether you use this content on the feed or in a story, it is important to show to your audience that you value their interactions with your brand and it can really increase your engagement rate in no time.
A bit of an odd one to find on such list, but FAQs are actually an amazing way of keeping your audience informed on things that might seem obvious to you, but not very clear to them. If you are constantly receiving messages or comments asking the same questions, this is your start to compiling a thorough list of FAQs that you can use as a content stream for your feed or story.
While some people send a message or leave a comment, there are many others who will simply turn to a different provider or forget about you entirely. Understanding what are the main questions your audience might have helps you tailor your strategy and increase conversion rates.
Experiment with Off-Peak Times
This can sound a little crazy and…it actually is. Every time you go on Google or ask a marketer when to post, it is automatically implied that you’re asking when is the best time to post for optimal engagement, reach and visibility. And every marketer and marketing website will tell you just that: the average time that is considered optimal for posting for a specific platform and sometimes, even for a specific industry. That’s amazing, but it’s still an average, which means it might be the best time for you too or you might be better off posting at a different time.
Usually, peak times are great to share your content but please don’t hesitate to experiment with different off-peak times once in a while as you might be surprised at what your optimal time is.
Last but not least, I understand that it can feel overwhelming to think that you should create many content streams simultaneously, and unique for each platform. While it’s amazing and recommended to tailor your content a bit for each platform, it is perfectly fine and efficient to repurpose content.
Don’t just think of using the same quote on Twitter and Instagram. A quick way to repurpose a Tweet on Instagram used by marketing gurus like Neil Patel or Gary Vee is to actually screenshot your tweet and share it as an Instagram post. Quick and easy, now you’ve repurposed content that works great on both platforms and you’ve done it in seconds. You should also repurpose videos and any other content without it being significantly repetitive. Adjust the captions and any formatting and you are good to go. Feel free to also repurpose content that is on your website, podcasts, or print media.
There are many ways in which you can elevate your social media presence and improve your organic content marketing strategy and if you are looking for a team that can do all of that for you, all you need to do is get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it further.