Is Organic Reach a Lost Cause on Social Media?
Is your social media presence doomed to suffer from weak organic reach? Are there ways to heighten your impact? Here's what's happening and how to respond.
CodyTextbroker Marketing and Communications
Among the infamous outreach objectives of marketing legend, organic reach has always been one of the most elusive targets. How can you make contact with people in a way that fulfills their desire for engagement? Few marketing channels make this struggle tougher than social media does. Since you’re constantly competing with user-generated content for attention and staying power, it can be really difficult to strike the right tone. Even worse, platform changes can pull the rug out from under your feet at a moment’s notice.
Is your social media presence doomed to suffer from weak organic reach? Are there ways to heighten your impact? Here’s what’s happening and how to respond.
The Fickle Social Media Landscape
Social media platforms are notoriously unpredictable. The changes that these sites, apps and communities implement may have plenty of sound marketing motivations behind them, but what works great for such corporations isn’t guaranteed to serve your company equally well.
Facebook is a great example. In January 2018, for instance, the company announced its intention to redesign its News Feed to promote content that users would find more meaningful. Naturally, the digital marketing community went ballistic.
While the changes helped posts from people’s family members and friends rise in the site’s visibility rankings, they also meant that something had to fall in return. In other words, many companies saw their Pages start bleeding referral traffic and video views.
This was just one example of a big social media platform overhaul catching marketers off guard. Veteran advertisers may recall similar events when Twitter changed its feed algorithm in 2016 or when any number of other platforms decided to roll out new versions with major functional differences seemingly overnight.
What’s the key takeaway from these kinds of events? Although the popularity of different platforms waxes and wanes, the one constant is that social sites will likely evolve forever. This is almost a necessity for platforms that want to keep up with diverse, growing user bases. Since marketers haven’t yet jumped ship en masse and started focusing exclusively on search rankings or other advertising avenues, it’s worth asking yourself: What can you do to keep up with changes you might not know are coming down the pipeline?
Responding in Ways That Drive Organic Reach
If marketers still find it worthwhile to pursue social media engagement, even in the face of setbacks, what does it mean for your chances? Don’t lose hope. Here are some handy strategic tweaks.
Social Media Still Loves Advertisers… They Just Want Better Ones
Changes on Twitter and other platforms don’t mean that these companies suddenly loathe marketers. That wouldn’t be a very prudent idea considering that their business models are almost completely driven by ad revenue.
Although algorithmic updates and functional changes vary, one overarching theme that unifies most platform upgrades is their pursuit of improved ad quality. As a marketer, this simply means that you have to provide better content, and if you’ve been around long enough, you should know that this is nothing new.
If All Else Fails, You Can Always Go Viral
One of the interesting things about the Facebook algorithm update was that it sought to “encourage meaningful interactions” between individuals. While this may seem like a death knell for your branding efforts, it might not be quite so dramatic. Sure, public videos and other ads are dropping in ranking, but Facebook’s core functionality still revolves around people sharing interesting content. Again, upping the quality and shareability of your posts and marketing materials could help you make up for the decrease in News Feed prominence.
The content quality principle applies to all social media platforms. Marketers who create articles, blogs and video scripts that actually promote conversation will continue to expand their brand’s reach regardless what algorithms have to say about it. Those who diversify their content publication strategies to target multiple platforms may even increase their organic reach.
Transforming Your Social Media Marketing Outlook
You know that the way social media works is going to change, so why struggle to play catch-up? If you constantly find yourself straining to recover lost organic reach in the wake of algorithm announcements and updates, then perhaps you might benefit from reassessing your overall strategy. For example, maybe an item that you’d usually post on your Facebook brand page would go further as a native ad that you hire an influencer to promote.
Building a more robust content publication strategy is vital to surviving the chronic ups and downs of social media. Your marketing shouldn’t be limited to posts, Tweets or comments anyway. Social media interaction works best when it’s a supplement to the independent brand presence you’ve built on your own homepage, blog or e-commerce site.
Since platforms like Facebook are moving toward pay-to-play models for advertisers, it’s in your best interest to make your marketing expenditures count, and funneling people away from social media to your own domains is a smart way to accomplish this. As always, your success begins with high-quality content. Focus on providing value to readers and viewers with organic, useful blogs, articles and posts. Then, simply encourage them to use social media to spread the word.
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