How to Get Results From Organic Social Media (and why it’s the place most marketing goes to die)
Running a small business and hating your social media? Here’s how to make it work without spending hours a day or going broke
So I spend a lot of time on social media helping people optimise their organic social media content. I like to check out peoples stats to see how their content is performing before I create anything for them.
Sometimes it’s tough because A LOT of businesses have really poorly performing pages. Sometimes there’s a year’s worth of content that has received no engagement at all. So you’ve kind of got nothing to work with.
Another interesting thing I come across is pages that have, oh, say 50,000 “likes”, and they get zilch engagement on their content. I’d show you an example, but I don’t want to pick on anyone. It’s not hard to find, just check out random business pages and you’ll see what I mean.
So, today we’re going to talk about this problem. I’m going to share some tips with you so that your social media marketing experience isn’t a majorly dissatisfying/ time-wasting one.
Note: for the purpose of not listing every single social platform over and over and getting really annoying, I’m going to focus on Facebook in this article, but these social media hacks apply to all social platforms.
Is organic social media right for your business?
I see a lot of businesses paying a lot of money to have content made for them regularly. I also see those same businesses getting really frustrated because they are getting no results.
We’ve all heard someone say “we tried the Facebook thing and it was a total waste of time and money”.
I don’t blame anyone for giving up and getting a bit jaded. If you don’t really know what you’re doing on social media it can be a massive waste of time.
The first thing people do wrong is they think they have to be smashing out really serious content on Facebook. Someone told them to, or they just figure they’ll try doing what everyone else is (trying to) do because everyone’s been told they “have to be on Facebook”.
If you’re going to do it, just like anything in marketing you have to do it for the right reasons, you have to have a game plan, and you have to do your research.
Firstly, you need to figure out if Facebook is even the right platform for your business. It might not be! And if it’s not, why are you sweating over it?
Answer the following:
Who’s your target audience?
Where do they hang out?
Are they even using Facebook? If so, how much?
Who do you want to attract to your business?
What part of the sales funnel are you going to use Facebook for?
If your audience isn’t on Facebook, then sure, have a page so people can find you, update it with something basic once a week so people can see you’re in business, and then spend your money reaching your target market where they are if it’s not on social media.
Why does organic social media so often fail?
Now that you’ve thought about where your audience actually is let’s dive deeper into why organic content is so often a massive fail and what you can do about it.
A lot of people want to get their social media to work but don’t understand why it doesn’t.
Good news. I’m going to tell you why.
It’s because you’re thinking about it aaaaalll wrong.
We’ve all heard the Facebook spiel “Facebook is the biggest social media platform with 3.21 billion monthly active users blllaaaaaaaaahhhhh”.
Who gives a?
If it’s wasting your time and money and not yielding any ROI, does it even matter?
You’d be better off doing a pamphlet drop if it got you one client.
Then people hire a content creator, get them to make them post after post after post or content trying to promote their business, spend heaps of money and guess what?
Nobody cares. Queue the crickets.
And why does nobody care?
Because you’re treating your Facebook page like a sneaky little billboard where you try to sell to people, and nobody gives two shites about that!
Think about it.
Why do you look at social media?
Is it because you can’t wait to see some post about some local business’s services? You’re just dying to know that your local dentist does cleans and you never realised you should get one, and now you’re booking yourself in for a clean all because of their fantastic Facebook post?
This is not how it works folks, and you know it.
So how should you approach organic social media content?
Are you ready? Here’s the trick.
Your organic social media content should be the backstage view of your business. It’s not a platform for smashing people with advertisements; it’s a platform for building trust, nurturing leads, getting engagement and establishing a relationship with the people you want to reach.
Now read that last paragraph again.
Because even if you try to smash people with promotional content, you can’t! Facebook set their algorithms so that only about 6% of your followers are going to see anything you post!
They do this to get people to pay to promote their content, but, there’s another way folks.
It’s called earned media.
Waaaaa? What is earned media?
Earned media is the best thing in marketing, in my opinion. It’s the opposite of paying to get people to see your content. It’s when people choose to interact with you as a brand because they want to.
You know how things go viral on the internet, and shite loads of people see it? That’s earned media. It’s a way of busting out of Facebooks limiting algorithms and getting your brand in front of all the people.
But, earned media doesn’t have to be viral; it can be steady. You post something, a few people like it, you get bumped in the algorithms, a few more peoples see it, their friends see it.
Do this consistently, and you gradually build an audience that has opted into following you and can see that you’re consistent with what you’re doing.
What kind of organic content should you share on social media?
So, when I say that social media is your audiences backstage view of your business, I mean you should show them the people in your business and be conversational. Get personal, share funny moments in the day, show them that you’re business is made of real people they can connect with.
This is what people need to see to start trusting your brand, so it’s what you need to show them.
Sure, chuck in the od promotional thing here and there. If people can see you’re human, they will be way more interested in what you’re doing. It’s just manners! You want people to buy from you? You want their trust? You have to earn that, baby.
Earn it by building a real relationship with them. You can’t do that by presenting this giant wall of fake BS, constantly posting promotional content on your page and asking your audience for something when you haven’t shown the manners to earn their trust.
If writing your own stuff really freaks you out, I wrote a blog full of tips for writing your own content here :)
The good old 80/20 rule, Emily style
There’s an old saying that’s been around in social media forever that everyone parrots, it’s the old 80/20 rule. I’ve heard different versions of this rule over the years, but basically, the idea is to split your content to 80% useful and 20% promotional.
That’s not a bad place to start, but I don’t entirely agree with it.
That’s right; I’m going rogue with my own opinion of social media strategies that are pretty much written in stone.
Sometimes it’s really hard to create content that’s useful or entertaining for your audience.
Say you’re an accountant, why will anyone follow you on a platform that’s primarily about visual engagement? Nobody is super pumped to think about their taxes and bookkeeping.
Are you going to share accounting tips? Are you going to regularly spend thousands of dollars making really awesome, funny, relevant videos for your business?
You could, but let’s get real, you’re almost certainly not going to do this and probably shouldn’t.
So here’s my take on it.
Share organic social media content that is 80% about you and 20% that’s promotional.
And you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars getting people to make content for you that nobody cares about.
Seriously, just spend 10 minutes a day taking a photo and sharing something about your day, something you’re working on, how you feel about something, and watch how people respond to that compared to your mountains of promotional content.
And yeah, this means getting a little bit comfortable with being on Facebook, showing your face and sharing about yourself, which I know makes some of you cringe savagely.
You don’t need to cry on camera or spill all the dirt on how you feel about deeply personal things or anything creepy like that. Just share enough to show people that you’re real.
Like “check out the weird socks I’m wearing to work today, who thinks they’re going to make me work faster?”
I just made that up, but you get what I mean. I know it sounds ridiculous, especially if you’re still thinking about Facebook as your billboard of guilty pleasure advertising. So just try it and see the difference for yourself.
If you’re after some examples, you can check out my Facebook page. I’m currently doing a 30-day challenge sharing an “on the fly” post each day for 30 days, and I’m going to track my results and do it up in a report for y’all so you can see that it’s for reals.
Think about it.
What are your alternatives?
Pay for content that 6% of your followers are going to see? You don’t need to! I’m not saying never pay for content; I’m saying that you can keep your socials up to date and it doesn’t have to be a major drama and, you’ll get better results. It’s a win-win.
So what’s the real benefit of organic social media?
Keeping your social media updated creates a flow-on effect in algorithms. The more you post, the more you get bumped.
Pay to have really great content made for you, but fill in the gaps yourself. You can! It’s what people actually care about anyway and then they will be more tuned in when you share about what you’re selling.
The real benefit of social media is, in a nutshell:
To build trust
You do this by posting regularly to show people that you are in business.
To nurture leads
You do this by sharing about you as a real human in business (also builds trust).
To build your reputation
Yes, you can still use social media to share your thought leadership content, just do it in a way that’s not a cold hard sell. There’s still something to be said for having tons of followers as it builds your perceived value, just don’t make that your priority.
Remember, it’s better to have 1000 (or even 10!) real fans than 1,000,000 Facebook followers that have zero love for what you do.