Chandler Bruns, Social Media Manager, Rooster Strategic Solutions
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article with tips to improve Facebook advertising. Shortly after it posted, Apple announced it would begin asking users of its mobile operating system if they wanted apps to continue tracking their activity across websites. The expectation is that a huge number will opt out, significantly diminishing the ability of companies like Facebook, Google, and others to target ads as effectively as they have to date.
Knowing how quickly things change in the digital realm, I wasn’t surprised. But it serves as a good reminder of the importance of having a solid organic social foundation. This is anathema to many marketing managers, who argue correctly that targeted ads have outperformed organic posts in nearly every important metric. But as the rules of targeting change – and they will continue to change, drastically – having a good strategy to ramp up organic social is increasingly important.
With this in mind, here are 10 tips to make sure your organic strategy is working as hard as it should.
Check your posting cadence. Are you posting too often? Or not enough? Take a deep dive into your performance, looking at shares, likes, and comments. Social algorithms are programmed to play posts off one another, meaning that if the last post you shared received little to no engagement, it’s likely that your next post will perform in similar fashion. However, if the last post performed well, it’s likely your following posts will maintain or exceed performance.
Spread the engagement. If you’re looking to ramp up your organic social, you have to step up your own organic engagement. Set aside some time each day to scroll through your social feeds and strategically share, like, or comment on other posts. The key word here is ‘strategic.’ Be choosy. Not every post deserves your engagement.
Tag effectively. Tagging on social media encourages engagement. Whether you’re tagging another social account or using a hashtag to join a conversation, it’s important to figure out what accounts or hashtags are relevant to your industry, your brand, and your followers.
Use photos and videos. We all know that social posts are more likely to receive engagement if they include a photo or video, but it’s mind-boggling how little time some marketers spend on the visual side of the post. Many don’t think their videos are “good enough” to include. But you don’t need a million-dollar video. My favorite rule of thumb for social videos is to keep it short, clear, and with a definite call to action. If you can accomplish all this in a 30-second video, it’s much more likely to be shared.
Get to know your followers. Chances are that your social audience is familiar with your brand because they’ve used your products and services or feel a connection to your company. But are you familiar with them? Use your social channels as a survey mechanism to check in with your followers. You can ask them what they enjoy most about your products, how they’re spending the day, or what flavor of ice cream they prefer. Use this information to tailor content that you feel your followers would enjoy.
Use contests to boost engagement. Contests aren’t new by any measure, but they’re effective when used correctly. For instance, if you want more engagement, host a contest that uses engagement as the price of entry. Want to get some great user-generated content? Ask users for photos and give prizes for the best images. And don’t think you need a huge budget for prizes; a small reward can go a long way.
Start a series. This is a great way to give your followers consistent content that they’ll look forward to receiving each week. Make sure you have content banked and ready to feed over time. Better yet, ask your followers what they’d like to see from you and use that to build your calendar.
Know that not all content is created equal. Do your research on each of the social platforms you use to understand which pieces perform best. For example, most social managers find that video content does very well on Facebook, while links to articles are a better fit for Twitter. Take into consideration content type, image and video sizing, and character counts, as well.
Test, test, and test. Once you’ve set goals for your brand, and you know which content pieces perform best on each channel, you can start evaluating new tactics. Try implementing a new strategy to see if the performance improves over the course of a month. Having a clear goal and common metrics makes it easier to see if these new initiatives are “working.”
Have fun! This is something many marketers forget: Social media is supposed to be a fun way to communicate with your fans. If you’re having fun on your channels, your followers will notice – and they’ll be more likely to share and engage.
Following these strategies can help to establish a solid organic base – and will help make your targeted ads more effective, as well. If you have any questions, comments, or other suggestions, or want to talk through some ways to make your social media plans work harder for you, I’d love to start a conversation.