Social Media Marketing: Winning the Battle for Organic Reach
I was having a discussion on social media marketing with a friend recently. One of the things we talked about was the fact that he felt facebook had played a fast one on us. What with their constantly changing algorithms that are increasingly unfavourable?
I was empathetic.
Early last year, Ogilvy& Mather broke what some marketers have called tragic news’. According to the report, ‘Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero.
It’s only a matter of time.
Weeks after that, news had leaked from a reliable source in Facebook that organic reach might eventually drop to 1 or 2 percent.
For those who do not know already(I’m guessing no one), facebook’s organic reach has steadily dropped over the last couple of years. Each drop has left social media marketers making use of that platform (almost everyone) heartbroken.
Who wouldn’t be?
We had painstakingly nurtured our followers with Utopia-like images of free distribution flying around in our head.
Now we have no assurance that our carefully crafted and well-distilled posts,gone through the fires of ideation and approvals would meet what we thought was a ready audience.It’s a little shocking to realize that at some point soon we may have to whip out our wallets to get any ‘newsfeed time’ at all. Facebook has been slowly inching their mats from our feet soon they’ll completely jack it off.
In March last year, Eat24 summarized the discontent many brands felt about the changes in a blog post explaining why they were ‘breaking up’. “When we first met, you made us feel special,” the post read. “We’d tell you a super funny joke about Sriracha and you’d tell all our friends and then everyone would laugh together. But now? Now you want us to give you money if we want to talk to our friends.”
We would not be so heartbroken if you kept it at the back of your mind that these social networks are businesses.
Yes, as Eat24 noted, Twitter and Instagram does not have these ‘crazy algorithms’ yet.But they will with time, we know they will.
And like you will deduce from Brandon McCormick’s snarky response(a facebook rep)
‘The world is so much more complicated than when we first met – it has changed. And we used to love your jokes about tacquitos and 420 but now they don’t seem so funny’
You cannot blame them.
They care about experiences that the users of their networks have (and rightfully so). Though they may vehemently deny this, they also want the money. In exchange for our money, they’ll give us the access to this audience they have gathered- sometimes free access, but mostly paid access.
The free access we may enjoy is only for a limited time.
A lot of content has been produced by our colleagues all proffering solution on how to deal with this betrayal .Most of this advice hover round the theme of improving quality of content. Of course, content is King. And most of us are getting a hang of the different types and formats of content that win in the digital space. But all that may not really be the winning formula.
There is a timeline between when a social network launches, begins to gather speed and really gains popularity (the time of boom where marketers can party hard with organic reach) this is followed by a time when that social network peaks, then slowly the party (for marketers) dies down and organic reach slowly reduces till it eventually drops away into non-existence.
HOW DO WE WIN?
No one really knows which social network will go into being the next Facebook or sink into being the next MySpace but it pays to pay attention.
The problem with most Nigerian brands however is that they get too late to the party and are happy to have made it anyway.
Some Nigerian brands are just commissioning agencies to set-up and manage their Facebook page. Now it’s great that the new-comers have taken that step,but they are a little late to the party! Once they get in, they will have to pay all the way from the door to where the people are.
Now take Instagram, it may not have over 12milllionNigerian users like Facebook, but there is a beehive of activity amongst users going on over there. With a firm understanding on how the platform works, with some efforts put in the right places you have an engaged and excited audience at your feet. It’s at that sweet peak.
How many brands, whose target audience are there are really keying to it? How many have,not just an account, but real activity going on?
And the cycle goes on.
SO HOW DO WE WIN, REALLY?
1. UNDERSTAND THE CYCLE
Not all social networks go through the “fb” cycle.
Obviously, some will fall off even before they take off. Some social networks may have a veritable number of users but not have your brand’s audience.
Also that social network you may be ignoring because It isn’t too popular amongst Nigerian marketers may really be where your goldmine is.
Pay attention. Understand the cycle.
Your brand shouldn’t be the dork that gets to the party late when all the goodies are gone just because he wasn’t sure he could attend. And if you get to the party early, socialize as much as you can (Yes!we are still talking about social media marketing)
2. GET BIG ON BIG DATA
Pay attention to data. Decisions should not be made based on perception.
Check out the statistics.
Your consultancy should be able to give you intelligent reports on what social networks your brand should and shouldn’t be on.
3. AN OVER-RIDING STRATEGY
Look past the waves and turns of algorithms. A good content strategy will win overtime
True success in social media marketing takes its root from having a clear cut strategy that cuts across all the platforms of communication.
Don’t be like some brands that have long timelines of comatose punctuated with bursts of not co-ordinated activity.
All the great examples of digital marketing success all had strategies they had been working with before they hit gold.Success was never gotten by mistake.
And yes, the forces of positioning count in social media marketing.
4. YOUR MEDIA:
Yes! All hail brand publishing.The social networks are great places to meet your target audience but ultimately you should strive to attract them to and build the grounds you truly own. Your blog or your websites are your major content marketing platform. These are channels that should warrant increased investment overtime.
Map out your strategy, create real rare value that stands out. According to this report, consumers do not even care if content is heavily branded as long as it is good content.(add link)
They will come in their droves .Owned channels can take time to gain traction. So be patient-with a sense of urgency of course.
5. CONTENT IS KING:
After all is said and done, content is King. Work with a consultancy that know and has proved that they understand what good content means and how it plays out in social media marketing.