As organic reach continues to decline, it’s becoming more difficult to connect with your target audience and achieve desired results without investing in paid social media advertising.
In other words, it’s getting tougher to get your message out there without shelling out some cash for ads.
You might even be asking, “What’s even the point of posting on my Page anymore?”
At TrafficSoda, we’re here to help you navigate this new reality and make the most of your social media marketing efforts, organic and paid. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the tips and insights that’ll help your brand stay strong in this social media jungle.
- The Rise and Fall of Organic Reach on Facebook, Instagram & More
- Why Exactly is Organic Reach Declining?
- TikTok: A Temporary Exception?
- How Small to Mid-Size Businesses Can Adapt to Declining Organic Reach
- The Necessity of Paid Promotion for Social Media Visibility
- Boosting Posts with a Purpose
- Finding Your Brand’s Optimal Posting Frequency
- Is Organic Social Still Relevent?
- Social Media is a Search Engine
- Your Customers Are Commenting
- Social Media Benefits SEO
- Social Media is Social Proof
The Rise and Fall of Organic Reach on Facebook, Instagram & More
Organic reach refers to the number of unique individuals who catch a glimpse of your posts on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Reach is different from impressions, which count the total number of times your content is viewed, including multiple views by the same person. Organic reach only counts unique views.
Organic reach is one of those content KPIs that really matter when you’re trying to measure how well you’re really reaching your target audience. Reach affects all of your other engagement-related data such as likes, clicks, and follows — because if you want people to engage with your content, you have to reach them first.
Despite its importance, reach is a moving target.
For one, reach data has always been, at best, an estimate, because a post showing up on someone’s social media feed doesn’t guarantee they’ve seen it.
Plus, most major social media platforms use an algorithm to determine what shows up on any given user’s feed — and aren’t fully transparent about how, exactly, those algorithms work.
Above: Facebook’s official explanation of their ranking system. Not exactly an open book.
What we do have is historical data showing that, as early as 2013, organic reach has been dropping for businesses.
Back in 2017, researchers found that Facebook Page engagements dropped 20%, and by early 2018, more than half of marketers noticed their page’s organic reach going down the drain.
These days, the average organic reach for a post on a Facebook Page is about 5.20%. So, roughly one in every 19 fans will see your non-promoted content
For businesses that use Facebook as their go-to social platform, this decline in organic reach is alarming, because it means your posts aren’t showing up in your followers’ feeds as much as they used to.
But Why Exactly is Organic Reach Declining?
Simple: Platforms are constantly tinkering with their algorithms to try to increase user satisfaction and ROI.
For Facebook, that has meant making sure users see more posts from their friends and family, and less from people trying to sell them stuff (unless, of course, you’re paying Facebook to advertise!)
Over on Twitter, it means boosting paid subscribers and “suggested” Tweets.
Every platform is different, but the bottom line is essentially the same.
Social media platforms are just businesses, and their customers are advertisers. They’re all about making users happy, because that’s what keeps people logging in, which keeps advertisers happy.
In theory, that should help businesses, too — because if people are interacting with the content in their feed, they’ll be more likely to engage with posts from businesses too.
But it also means that, as a business, you will have a hard time getting your posts into their feeds in the first place.
TikTok as a Temporary Exception
In the ever-evolving world of social media, TikTok stands out as a temporary exception to the trend of declining organic reach.
The average organic reach for brands on TikTok is a staggering 118%, compared to Facebook’s 5.2%.
By investing your time in creating engaging content for your TikTok account, you can achieve decent brand exposure and visibility, even with a relatively small following.
But there’s a catch: recent bans of TikTok on U.S. government-owned devices, coupled with new legislation in Congress seeking to block the app, have fueled expectations that the popular Chinese-owned platform could soon face a nationwide ban.
The exact implementation of such a ban remains unclear, but if history is any guide, a prohibition is unlikely to take effect anytime soon. TikTok is likely to challenge any attempt to ban the app, as it was ultimately successful in quashing Trump’s effort to ban the app, but the uncertainty surrounding the future of the platform makes it a risky investment.
We recommend investing in TikTok only for short-term campaigns at this point, but avoiding hinging too much of your social media marketing funnel on it.
In the meantime, keep an eye on the situation and adapt your strategies accordingly, all while maintaining a candid, genuine, and occasionally funny approach that resonates with your audience.
How Small to Mid-Size Businesses Can Adapt to Declining Organic Reach
As organic reach keeps shrinking, it’s getting harder to have your content seen by your target audience.
That means fewer likes, comments, and shares — and yeah, that’s a bummer for visibility. Especially if you’ve put in a ton of time and effort crafting awesome content for social media, only to have it reach fewer people.
The truth is, the decline in organic reach isn’t merely a rough patch – it’s a deliberate design that shows no signs of reversing.
Sure, organic posts give your page a pulse, but expecting significant reach, likes, or follows without investing in paid promotion is nigh impossible.
As marketers, we all have to face the reality and adjust their expectations accordingly.
- Want more eyeballs on your content? Pay for views via boosted posts and celebrate the reach.
- Looking for clicks to your website? That’s a separate goal requiring a different paid campaign.
- The same goes for form fills, page likes, and any other objectives. You won’t get meaningful results from organic posting alone.
Yes, social channels remain an excellent arena for businesses to engage with customers and prospects—and it’s crucial to maintain a presence on these platforms to receive and respond to user communications. However, the era of free, widespread distribution of your content on platforms like Facebook and Instagram is long gone (with TikTok being a temporary exception while it remains in the “honeymoon” phase.)
The outdated “post-it and they will come” approach is no longer effective unless you’re willing to pay for your content to be seen.
a) The Necessity of Paid Promotion for Social Media Visibility
To make the most of your social media efforts, invest in paid social media with clearly defined goals and measurable outcomes. This strategy will not only save you time but also save you from having to bombard your followers with “free” organic posts that yield little to no results.
Unlike disruptive display ads, pop-ups, and video commercials, social media ads are crafted to integrate seamlessly with the platform, often resembling organic posts. The ads are quick to launch and start getting attention right away, so you can see results just as quickly.
While it may seem easy to set up, using social media ads effectively takes a strategic approach. Don’t let the complexity of this task hold you back from reaching your desired audience and generating leads. Partner with our expert agency and take your social media campaigns to the next level.
b) Boosting Posts with a Purpose
If you want to gets started with social media ads right away, boosted posts are the fastest way to do it.
A boosted post is a post from your Page’s timeline that you can promote in order to reach a wider audience. It lets you quickly transform an existing, organic piece of content into a paid ad, extending your reach beyond your current audience.
Once it’s done, you can manage and see results for boosted posts in Ads Manager just like other ads. You shouldn’t think of them as a separate thing—boosted posts are really just ads that you make from your Page instead of the advertising tool.
With that in mind, you’ll want to put the same forethought behind boosted posts as you do other social media ads. Don’t put money behind a post just because Facebook suggests it! Facebook just wants you to boost as many posts as possible. Stick to your strategy.
To make the most of your advertising budget, you need to boost posts strategically as part of a broader social media strategy. Our team of experts can help you develop a social media strategy that ensures that every boost counts towards your overall goals.
c) Finding Your Brand’s Optimal Posting Frequency
While posting at a specific time of day isn’t as important as it used to be (because social media feeds rarely operate chronologically), how often you post can have an impact. And as organic reach continues to drop, every bit counts.
One study found that 74% of consumers believe that the ideal posting frequency for brands is 1-2 times per day. However, each platform’s algorithm is different, so more frequent posting might not necessarily be detrimental.
The key to striking the right balance is to focus on creating high-quality content that supports your overall social media marketing strategy. Instead of overwhelming your audience with a large volume of low-quality posts, invest in crafting engaging and relevant content that resonates with your target audience.
Is Organic Social Still Relevant?
In light of declining reach, organic social media isn’t entirely dead–but it plays a different role now.
Here’s the truth: even with the decline in reach, maintaining organic social media posting still makes sense for many businesses.
- Social media is not only a billboard, but also a search engine, with 82% of consumers preferring searching on social media over Google.
- Being active on social media and responding to customers and potential clients builds relationships, fosters trust and loyalty, and generates more leads, sales, and revenue.
- Embracing social media can greatly enhance your SEO efforts by making a brand more visible in search results and dominating branded keywords.
- Social media comments and reviews are a powerful form of social proof, with 54% of users researching products and brands on social media.
Let’s quickly delve into organic social’s new life in the post-reach world.
1. Social Media is a Search Engine
Social media is no longer just for posting pictures of your lunch or sharing memes; it’s become a search engine for millions of consumers looking for products and services like yours.
In fact, an online survey recently found that 82% of consumers prefer social media for searching over traditional search engines. Of those, 55% cite Instagram as their top platform for social media searches, followed by YouTube (54%), Facebook (51%), and Twitter (44%).
Even TikTok, while ranking last in popularity as a search engine (42%), is attracting a core user base of young, affluent consumers (so if that’s your target audience, you should be there!)
When people search for your business on social media, they want to see an active and vibrant presence. Think of your social media profile like a storefront — if it looks neglected and uninviting, potential customers will just keep walking. Having a dead social profile is like papering over your store window.
So, keep your social media up-to-date and alive with organic posts to show customers that your business is alive and kicking! Otherwise, you’ll lose out on business from searchers who might otherwise give you a phone call.
2. Your Customers Are Calling (and DMing)
More and more customers prefer to communicate through social media rather than traditional channels like phone or email. If your business has a social media presence, customers will expect you to be reachable and responsive, and ignoring them could lead to negative consequences.
If you’re already swamped with leads and customers, social media may not be your top concern. However, if you want to attract more business, you don’t want to leave customers hanging on social media.
When you engage with your audience on social media by responding to their queries and feedback, you show them that you care about their opinion and are open to communication. This builds a sense of trust and loyalty, ultimately leading to more leads, sales, and revenue for your business.
So, it’s not just about being active on social media, but being responsive. That’s what builds meaningful connections, and connections turn strangers into customers.
3. Social Media Benefits SEO
When people search for your business on Google or other search engines, having a strong social media presence can make all the difference.
Social media profiles often appear right below your website in search results for branded keywords, giving you the chance to capture even more attention and dominate the first page.
Plus, with Google indexing tweets and other social media posts, your content can show up in search results for relevant queries, driving even more free traffic to your website.
Your social media profiles can also have an impact on local SEO. Google checks your social media accounts to confirm your business’s legitimacy through your name, address, and phone number. This information must be accurate, since Google examines all listings to verify that contact details are correct.
If the information is inconsistent, it may hurt your visibility in local searches, so keep your profiles up to date!
4. Social Media is Social Proof
Social proof is key in building trust with your audience, especially if you’re offering high-value products or services (and that includes all you B2B firms.)
In fact, a staggering 54% of social media users research products and brands on social platforms, highlighting the importance of showcasing your brand’s credibility through reviews, testimonials, statistics, and awards.
And it’s not just about what you offer. Many customers also want to know about your company’s values and practices — things like how you treat your employees and customers, your stance on social issues, and your contributions to your community can all impact their decision to do business with you.
Sharing posts about your community involvement, sustainable practices, and employee testimonials will help you build a compelling narrative.
Social media also offers an excellent platform for showcasing social proof through user-generated content, reviews, and testimonials. Sharing your customers’ positive experiences and tagging your business can amplify their positive feedback and foster a sense of community for your brand.
How to Bring Your Social Media Strategy Back to Life
Paid advertising allows you to reach your ideal audience at the right time, while organic social media remains relevant in fostering trust, loyalty, and stronger relationships with your audience.
It’s essential to strike a balance and get creative with your approach, making the most of every opportunity to engage your audience.
At TrafficSoda, we’re committed to helping you navigate these changes and maximize the potential of your social media marketing efforts. If you’re looking for expert guidance on how to make your brand stand out in this social media jungle, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can create a winning social media strategy that drives results.
Social media has been a huge marketing outlet for businesses today. How do we know if people are enjoying certain content? By the number of likes.
One of the major social medias, used by 1 billion people monthly and 500 million daily, is Instagram.
Have you noticed anything different about your current Instagram feed? If so then you are one of about 70% of Canada’s population affected by their test to remove the like count.
The focus is on the quality of the content, not the number of likes. Thus, only the account user will be able to see the count.
This puts businesses that utilize the algorithm of likes on their content for promotions in a different position. So how will it affect your business if it becomes an official change?
How Instagram’s Algorithm Works
In the past, Instagram organized its feed only by the time it was posted. The most recent could be found at the top.
In 2016, Instagram introduced a new algorithm that changed how user’s feed was shown. Simply put, the most relevant content was displayed further up in someone’s feed.
The factors that affect your relevancy to people are:
Instagram takes what users interact with and identify a trend between the posts. If you often comment on photos of puppies, then you are more likely to see puppies at the start of your feed. The goal is to identify what the users prioritize and show content related to that.
Instagram wants the content it shows users to be something users enjoy seeing or interacting with. The more interactions you have with others, the more the algorithm will recognize you as having a relationship. This would include things like comments, enabled notifications, direct messages, or tags.
Now this is not to say that Instagram showcases feed chronologically. Instagram does showcase newer posts first but not the newest. For businesses and brands recency is more related to the idea of posting when people are active. Paying attention to when your audience is online will help indicate when you should post so it will be higher up in their feed.
The goal is to give users the content they want to see most, right away.
Businesses Without Instagram ‘Like’ Counts
A ‘like’ is easily given. It takes no time and no effort.
This shift forces businesses to become more deeply invested in the analytics of their posted content. Companies need to figure out what actually works, instead of guessing.
Identifying what kind of content thrives is going to be key.
Finding what drives conversions and stepping into a more authentic path for your services. Look at other metrics such as the save feature or reach.
For businesses it may be more beneficial to focus more on comment engagement when working with Influencers now. Commenters are more likely to invest in your brand since they took the time comment on a post.
What Removing ‘Like’ Count means for Influencers
Many people have developed a large following and have created businesses surrounding their online personalities.
Companies then partner with them to promote their products. For those that utilize influencers for conversions, this may make it more difficult. A clear indication of the amount of reach an influencer had would have been the number of likes on an average post. We may not have this anymore, though.
For Influencers themselves, it may be more difficult to establish yourself if you haven’t already. Brand are less likely to choose you over someone who they can clearly see getting transactions.
It may give Influencers more creative freedom in their posts. Most Influencers feel they can’t post content that may fall flat in user engagement. If their posts lack that conversion, the brand may not work with them. Without visible ‘like’ counts, they have more artistic freedom.
Focus When Posting
Instagram is unique in that it allows you to showcase your products. This could be through photos, videos, and Stories.
This new system could actually allow you as brands or businesses to assess the content you are posting. To make changes that reflects what you wish to project to your audience.
By no longer focusing on a like count, it can allow you to narrow-in on content that generates more buzz with comments or saves. This can actually be more beneficial to you as those people are more likely to generate conversions and sales.
As Instagram continues to grow in size and importance (especially among younger generations), it’s getting harder and harder to ignore it as a marketing tool for your business. Like most other social media platforms, Instagram offers a business account option with additional features that help you create ads and monitor the metrics of who is following you and liking your posts. It may be intimidating at first, especially for small businesses and those that don’t feel they don’t belong to a particularly photogenic industry, but it’s worth it to increase your brand’s visibility, customer base, and community.
Here are some tips and best practices to make Instagram work for you:
First, you need to set up a profile, which is remarkably easy with Instagram. Make sure your user name matches that of your other social network platforms, and for your real name just use your company name. Also included in your public profile is your business’s website (a simple URL) and a 150-word bio. Keep the bio short and sweet, with a bit of pep. Include any hashtags that you plan on following and/or using a lot.
Don’t worry if your photographic skills are lacking, to get started, you don’t need anything more sophisticated than your smartphone. Some ways to make you account stand out? Try to keep a cohesive look, sticking to the same colour palette or filter for most (if not all) of your images will give your feed a distinct and easily identifiable look.
For businesses, such as restaurants or hair salons, it’s easy to find appropriate images that reflect what you offer and why people should become followers and customers. But what if your product is less visual (like, say, a marketing firm)? A good strategy is to post “lifestyle” type photos, showing what it’s like to work there, community involvement that your business may be engaged in, or even interests/hobbies that your employees share that are appealing and visual (like gardening, baking, or puppies). The last two options are especially important (and useful for all Instagram users) because they help you connect with others by liking and following similar posts to your own, which can increase your exposure.
Connect with influencers in your industry. These don’t have to be celebrities or even have massive followings; the most important factor is that they are highly trusted by the followers that they do have, this means that if you can get them to engage with you and promote your product or brand, you will have the seal of approval from someone who is respected in the community that you want to belong and sell to.
Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags to make posts searchable so it’s important to include them in your caption (and it’s important to have a caption that is engaging). There are essentially two options you can use for the best results: either using very broad and popular hashtags (like #tbt or #MotivationMonday) that are more likely to be searched by lots of people; or you can use hashtags that are more specific, and hope to attract a smaller, but more committed or involved following. Unlike Twitter, since you don’t have the same character limitations, you can use up to 30 hashtags, just be careful not to oversaturate your caption and make it difficult or boring to read.