Nearly 20 years into the age of social media, is organic content still enough?
For many people, social media is old hat these days. Oh sure, the kids are still rocking out on TikTok. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook still boast userbases in the millions and billions respectively. But let’s be honest, social seems to have lost some of its luster, prompting many to ask themselves: Is it still worth it for my business? The short answer is, absolutely! An overwhelming number of people in the business community agree with this, with 80 percent of enterprises saying social media is the most important factor in digital marketing success.[i]
The longer answer is: It’s complicated. Social media still represents an effective, low-cost way to connect with your customer base and position your brand. But the recipe for success has changed in the two decades many of these platforms have existed. In fact, research increasingly confirms that restricting your social media activity to organic posts will only get you so far.
Below, we’ll assess if this is a good option for your agency.
What do the experts say?
Research shows that people are increasingly deploying paid social media advertising. Eighty six percent of marketers noted in a recent survey, for instance, that they now combine paid and organic tactics.[ii] One reason for this is that some platforms are seeing a dip in organic reach. Organic posts on Facebook reach only 5.5 percent of a brand’s followers on average.[iii] There are multiple reasons for this decline. “For one, the high volume of ads competes with organic content for space on users’ news feeds.”[iv] There is also a widely held impression that algorithmic changes have disincentivized the role of organic social, making its ROI far less impressive than it might have once been.
So, has organic social’s time passed?
Even though there has been a clear decline in the reach of organic social media, that doesn’t mean that businesses can afford to not be active on these platforms. There are many reasons why companies need a strong social presence, some of which include:
- Increased brand recognition
- More brand loyalty and authority
- Higher conversion rates
- Increased inbound traffic
- Lower marketing costs
- Richer customer experiences
- Improved customer insights
Even a cursory look at U.S. social media usage should put doubts to rest about whether it is still worthwhile. As of 2020, for instance, nearly 65 percent of American adults are active social media users, while 42 percent of Twitter users visit the site daily.[v] These are facts you just can’t argue with when considering where to put your marketing time and effort.
What is the best approach today?
Instead of jettisoning organic social media, then, what should savvy business leaders and marketers do? Well, instead of choosing one or the other, marketers have increasingly paired organic and paid strategies. Perhaps one of the best things about social media is that it can serve as an enormously valuable source of data on your audience members. Unsurprisingly, these data-driven insights have come to be seen as a guide for which type of content you should boost and on which platform.
Basically, if you have a type of organic content that consistently performs well, you should take a hard look at whether you want to expand its reach with an ad buy. People respond to the content they do for a reason. Don’t miss your opportunity to leverage that knowledge to make a well-reasoned, moderately priced ad buy and expand your presence on social.
Final words on the organic/paid debate
Like so much in the marketing world, nothing in social media stays the same – at least not for long. Over the course of its lifespan, social has changed dramatically, nowhere more so than in the rise of paid postings. But before you throw out organic social altogether, you should look at it as something that can be paired effectively with paid social. That’s where the magic happens.
Want to learn more about how you can harvest data from your social media feeds? Check out this helpful primer.
And if you don’t yet feel confident about using paid advertising tools and running successful ad campaigns, look at this terrific introduction.
[iv] The Decline of Organic Reach in Social Media Marketing | Local View
[v] Is Social Media Marketing Worth It? 6 Reasons to Use Social – WebFX
Testimonials are an often overlooked, yet effective marketing tool. They can be helpful to gain new customers and keep potential return customers.
Think of your own experience making purchasing decisions. Do you go to a restaurant based upon a recommendation from family or friends? Before making major purchases, do you research and read reviews from people who have experience with the product or service?
Testimonials work because they aren’t strong sales pitches and they come across in an unbiased voice and establish trust. You’re using real people to show success in your product or service. In the end, your testimonials will be there to convert more prospects into customers as long as you use them correctly.
If you’re selling a product or service on your website, customer testimonials can be a key content element because they are unbiased comments that prompt visitors to buy. By using testimonials in text, audio or video formats on your site, you introduce content that will promote your product in convincing fashion.
Here are some tips for effectively using testimonials to convert more leads on your website:
1. Be Selective
A key to using testimonials is to choose the ones that work best. Instead of direct recommendations of your product or service (“I think it is great!”) – find testimonials that provide details that explain how it satisfies a consumer need or tackles a pain point. Testimonials that provide specific product benefits will induce sales.
2. Show Face
Make your testimonials eye-catching by adding an image next to your customer’s statement. Research has shown that adding a picture increases your click-through-rate by a significant amount.
Prospects like to put a face to a name. It helps them feel more secure and confident in what you’re claiming. It shows that the testimonial is coming from a real person. Adding an image is a simple addition that will increase your trust factor.
3. Show Them Everywhere
Once you get great testimonials for your website, it’s important to show them off.
Make sure to add them across your website wherever appropriate. Add them to your homepage, contact page, case studies page or even create a dedicated testimonials page. Use in ads, on social media and other materials.
You might try a web application that allows you to set up a testimonial page or a plugin that will allow you to post different testimonials on each page of your site. There are a number of possibilities, so determine what works best and incorporate testimonials all over your site.
4. Remember Your Buyer Personas
When gathering your testimonials it’s important to make sure you’re hitting all the pain points of every one of your buyer personas. Many of your prospects are looking to see testimonials that they can relate to; stories that show others like them being successful.
Be sure to feature customers from all the demographics and buyer personas that you’re trying to attract. Focusing on just one in your testimonials will limit your reach and value.
5. Never Fake It
The most important rule in sharing testimonials is to use real testimonials from real customers. It’s not worth the risk to fake anything on your site, especially testimonials.
Testimonials are there to provide credibility and establish trust. If you’re faking them, how are your prospects supposed to build a healthy relationship with your company? Faking testimonials can put your reputation on the line and even if you do win some business, your customers are likely to go in with unrealistic expectations.
6. Get Video
Creating a video testimonial isn’t a must, but it’s something you definitely should consider. Seeing and hearing a customer talk about your product or service resonates more than just reading about it.
Get some of your more personable customers to create a short 30 second to 1 minute video testimonial sharing how your company has helped them. Your prospects will be able to really see the appreciation and emotion from your current customers.
Reach out to your current customers who you know are happy with your company and ask them to share their success story. By showcasing these powerful feelings and stories about your product or services, you’re creating another tool to get prospects to trust your brand and commit to it.
When you or your clients see information about a product or service, do you know if the information is provided as advertising, or is it considered public relations? Knowing the differences can help you decide what might work best in your marketing efforts.
described as a paid, non-personal, one-way public communication that draws
public communication towards a product, service, company, or any other thing
through various communication channels, to inform, influence and instigate the
target audience to respond in the manner desired by the advertiser.
Advertising can be
done through print ads, radio or television ads, billboards, flyers,
commercials, internet banner ads, direct mail, etc. Social media platforms are now
a major source of advertising. The advertiser
has exclusive control over what, how and when the ad will be aired or
published. Moreover, the ad will run as long as the advertiser’s
budget allows or determines it is effective.
As advertising is a
prominent marketing tool, it is always present, no matter if people are aware
of it or not.
Public Relations is a
strategic communication tool that uses different channels, to cultivate favorable
relations for the company. It is a practice of building a positive image
or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public by telling or displaying
the company’s products or services, in the form of featured stories or articles
through print or broadcast media. It aims at building a trust-based
relationship between the brand and its customer, mainly through media exposure
Public Relations can
be called as non-paid publicity earned by the company through its goodwill,
word of mouth, etc. (It is often referred to as “earned media”). The tactics used in public relations are
publicity, social media, press releases, press conferences, interviews, crisis
management, featured stories, speeches, news releases.
Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations
Adverting draws public
attention to products or services through paid announcements. Public Relations
uses strategic communication to build a mutually beneficial relationship
between the public and the company or organization.
- Advertising is a
purchased media, whereas, public relations is considered earned media.
- While advertising is a
monologue activity, public relations is a two-way communication process. The
company listens and responds to the public.
- Advertising is used to
promote products or services with the objective to induce the targeted audience
to buy. Public Relations aims to maintain a positive image of the company in
the media, with an indirect result of those effected becoming customers.
- In advertising, the
advertiser has full control over the ad, such as when, how and what will be
displayed. In public relations, the company pitches the story, but has no
control how the media uses or does not use it.
- In advertising, the ad
placement is guaranteed, but there is no such guarantee of placement with
- In advertising, as
long as you are willing to pay for it, the ad will be published or aired.
Usually in public relations, the story is only published once, but it might be
published in many media.
- Credibility is higher
in public relations than advertising. This is because customers know it’s an ad
and may not believe it easily and be skeptical. For Public Relations, third
party validation improves credibility.
- Advertising mainly
uses paid announcements (ads) to draw public attention to products or services.
Public Relations is the use of strategic communication that aims at building a
mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the public.
Advertising and Public Relations both use communication channels to inform and influence the general public. While advertising is a highly expensive marketing tool, it can reach a large number of people at the same time. Public Relations is “free of cost” implied endorsement along with validation of the third party.
Guide your business toward meeting your objectives and goals.
You have a marketing plan, right? All businesses need to have a strategic, logical plan that includes action items and timelines.
The marketing plan will guide your business toward meeting your objectives and goals.
What’s that? You don’t have a working marketing plan? No worries. Read the tips below to create a winning marketing plan for your business.
- A well-executed marketing plan is like a GPS. It guides your customers into your sales process. Done right, your marketing should result in more leads, higher sales and a stronger brand. Read More
- The marketing department can be referred to as one of the lifelines of any business. In this respect, spending your time, resources and efforts on your marketing plan and strategy is essential. There are various aspects of a marketing strategy that require focus and planning that collectively can ensure you are presenting your services to your target market in the best possible light. Read More
How do you position your brand to be talkworthy?
Let’s be honest. You’d love your brand to be the talk of the town. You want clients sharing their great experiences with your business.
You want them to share on social media, at the coffee shop, in line at the grocery store, while talking with co-workers, at the hair salon, etc.
But, how do you position your brand to be talkworthy?
- One important function of publicity is positioning your brand. How you position your company influences how consumers perceive you and feel about you, which in turn affects whether or not they trust you and want to buy from you. Read More
In a recent analysis of more than 500 consumer brands in a variety of categories, the firm ranked those with the most talkworthy marketing campaigns. The rankings are based on the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising both online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations), as part of its TotalSocial Brand Awards series. Read More