Spoiler alert! We believe wholeheartedly that yes, organic social media is still critical to your brand’s success.
The term “disruptive” has been so overused in recent years to describe new technology, or tech companies, that it’s become almost meaningless. But the adjective still carries a lot of weight when it comes to describing the impact social media had on businesses when it first gained critical mass (early 2000s). For the first time, small businesses had the same power as large brands with deep pockets to reach volumes of the right people, i.e. customers.
Times have changed though, and social media in general is no longer the new kid on the block.
It’s no secret that social media strategies have changed since the golden era of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. In the early days, followers were king. Nobody was even thinking about engagement!
That’s certainly not the case any longer.
Facebook, like all digital platforms, has constantly tweaked its algorithm for years and organic reach has been diminishing for a while. But it was in January this year that Mark Zuckerberg dropped the biggest bombshell to date when he announced that commercial content would be deemphasised and personal content prioritised.
Twitter, long the platform with the worst reputation for being a troll hotspot, announced earlier in July that it won’t allow similar (or the same) content to be posted from numerous accounts. The platform is also banning auto-engagements at scale, causing a huge rethink for large swathes of the social media community.
Of course, Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only social media platforms out there, but they do constitute the largest slice of the social media pie.
It’s a no-brainer that paid social media is no longer optional. No matter how modest your budget, you should be testing paid strategies on your chosen social media platforms to see what works for your audience.
But don’t throw organic social media activities out of the window. Social media managers who are prepared to dig deep into the opportunities organic social media may have for their brands will be rewarded.
One such brand doing this is Campsited, winner of this year’s Enterprise Ireland Pioneer Travel Tech Award. Campsited helps holidaymakers compare and book over 2,000 campsites in 15 different countries.
Finan O’Donoghue, founder of Campsited, has prioritised organic social media as a key activity within the company’s wider marketing strategy since the company first launched to the public in 2016.
And it’s worked. This year, Campsited has seen 20% increases week-on-week for bookings at campsites in Ireland and further abroad. Who wouldn’t want to go camping with this tremendous summer we’re enjoying?!
The key is to provide your audience with the content they’re looking for. Campsited has published blogs on camping recipes, camping with young children, winter camping etc. Then, the company’s social media manager shares this content with the brand’s audience via its social media platforms.
Finan says, “Organic social media was, and still is, important for Campsited. There are still plenty of those opportunities available. What’s most important in that context is the relevance and usefulness of the content itself. If the content is good enough, organic works well.”
The three reasons below also make the case for continuing with organic social media activities.
1. Organic social media creates communities; paid does not
Yes, if you want to power your reach (and who doesn’t) paid social media is a must. But paid activities still can’t make someone follow and engage with your brand online. Regular organic social media updates, viewed as more authentic, will catch the eye of your customer or prospective customer and encourage them to interact with your brand.
2. Organic social media and paid social media work hand-in-hand
Brands enjoy the best results when they implement a social media strategy that has both types of social media activities.
People who click on your paid ad in their feeds expect to click through to your page and find it regularly updated with interesting, non-paid content. HubSpot’s 2018 research shows that 81% of people research a company online, including their social media profiles, before making a purchase. It’s not your paid ads that these potential customers will see, but your organic social media posts.
3. Social media is fast becoming the best way to manage customer care
Customer care has a huge impact on brand image. Word-of-mouth marketing quickly kicks into action when a brand has been exceptional or awful in how it has dealt with its clients.
Research shows that 63% of customers expect brands to provide customer care through social media. But whether your brand meets this expectation or not is immaterial, since more than one out of three people will turn to social media anyway to speak about their customer care problems before they phone a call-centre or go to live chat.
Maintaining at least some presence on Facebook will keep your customers assured of your willingness to help them. An abandoned page will send the wrong message.
In summary, social media is maturing, just as SEO did with the Panda algorithm. There are still ample organic social media opportunities for your brand but you need to think differently about how you “do” social.
Above all, remember that your customers aren’t privy to your comprehensive marketing strategy. For them, your social media posts and updates are your brand’s voice.
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Author: Fiona O’Sullivan
Fiona is the latest edition to the TalentHub tech team. From working within the tech industry over the past year, she has transitioned into technology and innovation led recruitment. She is ambitious, focused with a best foot forward attitude and a great Cork accent.