Organic Reach on Social Media is Declining—Here’s What to Do About It
Organic reach is in decline. Call the authorities. Call the doctor. Call someone, because this is changing the way businesses use social media.
Organic reach for Facebook Pages fell 52 percent in 2016. That’s one of many statistics that speak to how both algorithms and competition—in terms of the amount of content that’s being shared—are drastically changing the way we consume media.
This also means your beloved social media content strategy isn’t reaching as many people as before. What to do? Here are four ways to deal with the decline in organic reach.
4 ways to tackle a decline in organic reach on social media
1. Create unique content for each platform
Be where your audience is. More and more users are consuming media in the same place they’re doing their networking—it makes sense to deliver content to them directly and to not take them away from their favorite online communities.
This is known as a distributed content strategy. Instead of driving visitors back to a blog or landing page, produce content that allows your audience to remain on the platform they’re using. Make sure that each of your social media channels features unique content that differs from one another. This strategy also works in tandem with platforms like Snapchat and Instagram that work to keep users contained in the app.
For example, Hootsuite’s Snapchat channel is meant to showcase behind-the-scenes content. It’s a backstage pass to what it’s like working at Hootsuite.
This is a lot different from our Twitter handle—which is tailored to promoting the Hootsuite blog, thought pieces from our CEO, and articles circling the industry. Twitter is also where we fuel online discussion—it’s where our Twitter chat #HootChat is hosted every Thursday.
2. Feature someone else’s content
Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to marketing—it’s not all about you. It’s not all about pushing out your content over and over again, hoping that your audience will become obsessed with everything your brand has to say.
Recognize that social media is about being social. That means sharing other people’s content and not just your own. Take the time to monitor your audience. Find out what engages them, what they want to learn, and what could be helpful to them. Use these insights to start curating content that you know will suit their interests.
By catering to your readers, you position your brand as one they can trust—and one that cares about what they want.
Sharing relevant content also positions your brand as a thought leader who knows what’s happening in the industry and is happy to share that information with its customers.
Serve real value to your readers—it’s not always about them knowing what your company can do for them.
Having curated content also saves you time, is cost-efficient, and keeps things moving when it comes to finding variety. It’s why Hootsuite’s social media team adopted the hashtag, #ChoiceContent. Our social team zones in on what they think audiences would like and we push that content forward. We also publish any content that we as a social media company find useful and engaging.
If we see something of value—we want to share that nugget of wisdom with you too.
We’re also lucky to have content swap relationships with other publishers in the social media business like Forbes and MailChimp. This is a mutual relationship, where both Hootsuite and our partners drive traffic to one another’s social media channels.
It’s a win-win situation that will help align your brand with like-minded organizations in your industry.
3. Know the algorithms
As soon as you log in, your news feed and online behavior is being scanned and noted. Most social media platforms use algorithms, which are designed to deliver the most relevant content to each individual user—giving preference to posts from family and friends, for example.
As a social media marketer, your best bet to make the most out of these formulas is to study them closely and understand how they work.
Here’s a quick low-down of what to expect from some of our favorite social media platforms:
- Facebook—Posts in your News Feed will rank with friends and family first, information second, and entertainment third. For a more detailed report on what the Facebook algorithm entails, check out The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach.
- Instagram—Photos and videos in your feed will be ordered by how likely it is that you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship to the user posting, and the timeliness of the post.
- Twitter—Your feed will be focused on helping you catch up on the best Tweets that you missed while away from the app. Twitter is continuing to tweak their algorithm to figure out which are the “best Tweets” to feature at the top of your timeline.
There’s as many as 100,000 factors that influence the Facebook algorithm alone. Most of these factors are based on how users behave and how they interact with content they like. Considering how user behavior is always changing, we recommend keeping up-to-date with how each platform ranks content.
4. Put budget behind your content
Social media ads, sponsored content, and boosted posts—these are the best ways to reach your audience amongst the onslaught of content swirling about in the WWW.
In over 475 online advertising campaigns, Nielsen Brand Effect found that ad recall on Instagram exceeded the norms for online advertising by almost three times. In other words, Instagram ads are memorable; they make a lasting impression on the people that see them.
We took a look at popular paid channels like Facebook Ads (the same tools as Instagram Advertising), LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter Ads. Here’s what we found to be the most valuable reasons to get into social media advertising across all networks:
- Get higher conversions—You’ve got control over where your ad is displayed, when it goes out, and who it gets delivered to. With these targeting options, getting your content noticed is much easier.
- Create ads easily—Use ad formats to create ads quickly. Facebook has a variety of ad types to choose from including slideshow ads, video ads, dynamic ads, and more.
- See results—Create custom reports based on the metrics you care about most. See your top-performing ads, where your leads are coming from, and how audiences are engaging with your content.
- Make it mobile-friendly—80 percent of social network users access social media via mobile. You’re not missing out on any of that number by creating social ads that consider both mobile and web display.
At Social Media Thunder, our social team uses social advertising to boost content that’s already doing well organically. If it’s gaining views, shares, and impressions without paid promotion—imagine how well it’s going to do with the help of a social ad boost.