You’re not alone if you want to find ways to increase your reach on social media – the fact is, we all do! While it might seem like you only get results when you throw money to the Facebook and Instagram gods, it’s still possible to use organic marketing to increase your reach.
Despite what many say, organic marketing is not dead and you DON’T have to pay to reach your audience. Even on social media. That’s why we invited organic social media ninja Jo Samardellis from Social Sense Media to talk to our Organic Digital Marketing group about growing your social media reach organically.
An expert in Facebook and Instagram, Jo helps us out with our social media here at Naked Digital Marketer so she knows her stuff. After dabbling in paid advertising, Jo realised that organic marketing was her true love and she now helps businesses achieve organic growth using the power of Instagram and Facebook.
While 30 minutes isn’t anywhere near enough to touch the sides of social media best practice, Jo still shared a ton of practical advice during our discussion, which you can catch below.
If you’re struggling to find a half hour to watch the video, don’t stress. We’ve broken down the key points you need to know to create a successful and sustainable social media strategy using the power of organic marketing. Let’s get to it!
Why so many businesses struggle with social media
As a new business owner, it’s exciting to create and share content for your social media channels. However, as time goes on and inspiration wanes, the struggle to find content grows and you find yourself not posting at all or publishing anything, just to put something out there.
Posting on the fly might work for a little while, but it’s not the answer long term. For organic social media to work well, you need to have an overall strategy, a purpose for each post and a reason to be on a specific platform.
This is where so many businesses fall down when it comes to building organic growth on social media. Without a strategy guiding what you post and when you post it, you won’t get a return on your effort, especially if you’re trying to keep up a presence on multiple platforms.
Posting anything and praying that it will find an audience is not a path to long term success!
Developing a strategy starts with asking yourself basic questions about your content and your prospective audience:
- What‘s your reason for posting? Is it to educate, motivate, entertain or engage your audience or to promote your products or services?
- Who are you trying to reach? Do you know your audience demographics, their interests and their pain points?
- Why should your audience care about your post? Ask yourself, what’s in it for them?
- When are you planning to post? Do you know the best times to post to get the most engagement, activity and results?
- Where is your audience online? Which platform are they on the most?
- How do they prefer to consume their content? Do they like reading posts, watching videos, sharing memes or interacting with stories?
When you answer these basic questions you’ll better understand what content you need to produce to meet the needs of your audience. Even better, you might even be able to let go of a few platforms and focus your energy on the channels where your audience actually hangs out.
As tempting as it can be to just post anything to show your followers that you’re still alive, it’s better to take your time and ensure your post has a purpose before you hit publish. Why are you posting this? And, more importantly, why should your followers care?
Each post should have a purpose for your audience. The purpose might be to make them laugh, inform them of a new product, inspire them to action or get them to engage on a relevant topic. In general, your purpose should fit into one of these five main categories:
Sticking to these purposes and mixing them up will help you grow your reach organically while allowing you to connect more authentically with your audience on social media.
It’s tempting to try to be on every social media channel out there – no-one enjoys FOMO! But, it’s impossible to be everywhere at once, let alone do a good job on each channel. Remember, it’s better to spend your time on one channel and do it well, rather than spread yourself too thin over multiple channels.
Do your research and identify the channels where your ideal audience hangs out. Are they on Twitter (which might be your favourite) or are they somewhere else where you don’t yet have a presence? Organic social media growth is all about meeting the needs of your audience. That means posting what matters to them, where they are (not where you want to be).
If in doubt, start with Facebook and Instagram. Check out your insights regularly to monitor engagement and watch your competitors to see where they are focusing their social media energy. You might be able to follow their lead and even steal some of their audience! How can businesses create a simple social media strategy?
Think like your customer
What do your customers want to see from your business? Try to look at things from their perspective and create content that meets their needs. What are the common questions they might have about what you do? Give them the answer in your posts.
Look into your social media insights to identify the posts that have the most engagement. Is there a style of post your audience seems to prefer? Do they like videos more than status updates? Are they sharing memes but ignoring photos? Do more of what works.
Once you identify what your audience engages with, start planning out your content. Don’t leave things to the last minute or post whatever comes to mind. Use a digital scheduler like Later or the Facebook Creative Studio to pre-plan and schedule your posts.
If you’re old school, get out your pen and paper, grab a monthly calendar and start mapping out your content for the month ahead. Look at upcoming public holidays, the season, product or service launch dates and school terms to come up with content ideas for your audience.
With your plan in hand, prepare your content ahead of time. Don’t be in the position of having no post ready to go and getting into a panic. If you prepare well, you can get ahead of the game so your posts are planned out, consistent and always meet the needs of your audience.
Use the 80/20 rule when scheduling out your posts. Ensure 80% of your content is designed to entertain, educate, engage and motivate your audience, using content you’ve created or relevant content that you share from others. Only 20% of your posts should be promotional or salesly.
Understand how your posts perform so you get to know your audience better and give them more of what they engage with. Metrics you can use to measure the success of your organic social media strategy include:
- Number of followers
- Level of engagement
- Amount of shares
- Number of comments
- Reach of your posts
- Amount of referrals from socials to your website
Facebook Analytics and Instagram Insights are not overly difficult to follow or understand. Regularly review the performance of individual posts to help you adjust your strategy and create more targeted content that meets the needs of your audience. Just remember to take a snapshot of your stats before you begin, so you can measure the success of your strategy.
Top tips for Instagram and Facebook
Whether you post multiple times a day or only 3 days a week, ensure you have a consistent posting schedule. The algorithm used by Facebook and Instagram rewards regularity so pick a schedule that you’ll be able to maintain and keep going.
The bare minimum number of posts you should work towards is 3 posts a week. Ideally, you’d be looking at 4 – 5 a week or posting once a day, but only aim for this if you can consistently post quality content. It’s better to stick to 3 quality posts a week that entertain, engage and educate your audience, than post random content each day.
Quality trumps quantity every time. Ensure you have a purpose for every post – if you’re struggling, link it back to the five categories we’ve already discussed. Mix them up and create a post for each purpose every week that educates, entertains, engages, motivates and promotes to your audience.
Try to use consistent branding in your Instagram and Facebook posts (this is easy in Canva). Stick to a consistent theme, using the same colours, fonts and image styles to build a visual identity. Mix up photos with quotes, testimonials, videos and stories to build a dynamic, intriguing and engaging feed, providing value and interest to new and existing followers.
Always, ALWAYS respond and reply to comments on social media! Conversations and engagement on posts send positive signals to Facebook and Instagram and help the algorithm show your content to more people. More engagement equals more reach, so take the time to talk to your audience and answer their questions.
You can invite engagement in your Instagram caption, by asking a question. You can also increase engagement by being active in relevant Facebook groups. If you prove you know your stuff and want to help others, new people will be more inclined to check your profile and start following your page or feed.
Jo has seen this in action during lockdown. After neglecting her own Facebook page for a while, she’s spent more time there in recent months and is starting to reap the rewards with more reach. It’s a simple step that will build organic social media growth.
Use hashtags (yes, even on Facebook!)
Hashtags have been a key plank of Instagram for some time and can be a powerful driver for organic growth. You have the opportunity to use up to 30 hashtags per post, giving your content the chance to be seen in 30 different hashtag searches. So, make the most of this free opportunity to be found by potential followers by adding 30 hashtags to every post.
Facebook is now also finally encouraging hashtag use. It’s still in its infancy, but using a handful of hashtags in your Facebook posts is worth trying as this new search feature becomes more established. Just don’t try adding 30 hashtags just yet – 5 or so are enough for now.
Make the most of your Insta bio
Do you know that the first line in your Instagram bio (your name) is searchable? This means you have a golden opportunity to advertise what you do and grab attention straight up. Most businesses under-utilise their bio, so ensure you make the most of this valuable piece of real estate and get a jump on your competitors.
Add in a relevant keyword here so there’s no doubt about what you do and how you can help prospective clients. If you’re a service provider, add in your specialty (e.g. Name | Medical Copywriter) or if you’re in eCommerce, include your dream keyword (e.g. Name | Kids Toys).
Finally, curating your images is important. As mentioned earlier, try to create a unified theme for your Instagram feed. It doesn’t need to be perfect but it should instantly tell a story and give prospective customers insight into who you are and what you do.
Use similar colours and tones to build your brand and pick consistent fonts for quotes and image text. The aim is to create an image that will stop people mid-scroll and get them to double tap or hit like. Hopefully, they will then head to your profile to learn more about you and ultimately follow you
That’s just the basics
There’s so much more involved in building your social media presence organically, but these are the basics that will help you start seeing growth. The key takeaway is to not give up on organic growth. It’s possible to build your reach without paying for ads, but you do need to have a clear strategy and be willing to follow it to get the most from Facebook and Instagram
Thanks so much to Jo Samaradellis from Social Sense Media for sharing some of her social media expertise. Jo is part of our Organic Digital Marketing group so make sure you join to find out more ways to grow your social media organically.
Are you ready to make the most of your Facebook and Instagram presence?