You’ve heard that organic reach is dead. That new, complex algorithms have made it
impossible for your posts to make it to your audience, and that you’ve got to pay if
you want your customers and clients to see and interact with your social media
accounts. There’s no denying that paid content does often reach more people, and
thus generate more engagement, than un-promoted content—and can be a great
option for a business. But you aren’t out of luck if you don’t have an advertising
budget. With the right approach, you can achieve serious social media success
without opening your wallet.
Take these five tips to heart to improve your organic reach and engagement:
1. Plan ahead. You can tell when something has been thrown together at the last
minute, right—whether it’s your friend’s outfit or your child’s research paper? So
can your audience, who are picky about the content they engage with online. After
all, there’s so much of it and only so much time in the day. Slapdash posts won’t rise
above the noise. So too can the social robots tell, who are calculating nonstop to
ensure users get the content they want. Random posts that don’t deliver what
customers expect from your brand won’t make the cut.
Try this: Before the beginning of each month, plan out your next 30 days of content
on a social media calendar. Chart upcoming events and sales, holidays, and relevant
community happenings. Jot down ideas or draft posts, whatever you have the time
for, so when the day comes you’re ready with content your audience will want to
engage with (keep reading for more content tips). PS: It’s always a good idea to have
a few more posts than you need in the queue. Then if anything changes in your plan
as the month ticks by, you’re still prepared.
2. Be consistent. With a calendar in place, this step should be easy. By planning
every month, you’re inherently bringing consistency to your social strategy, and
consistency is key. Say you post your weekly soup specials every Monday at 10 am
and then you just stop; you’ve disappointed followers who await the post—and who
like, share, and comment each week. You’ve lost organic reach and engagement.
Try this: In addition to special events and holidays, build recurring posts your fans
can count on into your calendar. For example, daily deals, weekly recaps of your
nonprofit’s work, or posts that take advantage of popular hashtags like
#WomanCrushWednesday or #TBT (Throwback Thursday).
3. Get creative. As mentioned above, there are lots of fish in the social media sea. To
stand out from the crowd, you’ve got to be bold. Think about the content you engage
with regularly online—what your friends and the brands you follow share that
makes you interact. And think outside of the box: Just because you sell winter
sweaters doesn’t mean you can’t post photos of the sand and sunshine, asking folks
which beach they wish they were on, which brings us to #4….
Try this: Use all the options available to you to innovate: Instagram offers exciting
photo layouts, while Facebook has special backgrounds and photo editing and
slideshow options. On your phone, use apps like Boomerang. Videos are all the
rage—post a mix of news and quotes with dynamic images and video content.
4. Ask questions. Getting lots of likes but the engagement ends there? Start asking
questions that are relevant to you and your business, and more importantly to your
customers. Like the beach example above, they don’t all have to be serious. Ask for
feedback you need, but also take the time to engage in light conversation with your
Try this: Reply quickly to responses, both good and bad. Engagement is a two-way
5. Go live. It may sound scary to broadcast yourself live into the world, but we
promise it’s worth it. In fact, Facebook Live may be the best way to get organic
engagement on the platform. As soon as you go live, your followers get a notification
and can watch right away. What’s more, the video stays on your page well after
you’re “off air.”
Try this: Broadcast musicians playing at your café, a Q&A with an expert, the
opening of new inventory…the options are endless. But to come full circle,
remember to plan ahead and be prepared—it really is live. On the flip side, no one is
perfect, and your audience will appreciate and respond to authenticity.