In this day and age, social media isn’t just about connection and conversations — it’s a channel for customer acquisition, remarketing, and engaging existing fans for customer retention. Many e-commerce brands are ramping up or have an already-established investment in paid social media strategies, but what can small businesses with limited budgets do to compete? The answer is to leverage organic social media.
What’s Organic Social Media?
There’s no mastering social media with its ever-changing landscape. One day, you might think you’re doing pretty well, then the next, boom, you’re hit with new platform algorithms and features. The constant fluctuations in emerging platforms, new features, consumer buying habits, and the sheer amount of people across all social media platforms can be overwhelming. To stand out, paid social has become the norm in marketing strategies.
However, there’s still organic social media to consider, especially for smaller brands. Organic social media is whatever happens on social, minus the paid promotion. You’re not spending a dime “boosting” any posts to expand reach and engagement.
While this might seem utterly foreign to some companies (no money behind social media? What?!), there are some ways to maximise your potential on social media without breaking the bank.
You Don’t Have to Use Every Channel
Take a long hard look at the social channels you’re using, or are planning on using. Do you really need to focus your efforts on a particular channel? Most businesses think that to build a social presence, you should be on everything from Instagram to Pinterest, but it depends on your industry and target audience.
For example, let’s say that your business is in construction. You probably wouldn’t need a presence on Pinterest. Most of your audience might be on select channels, so don’t waste your time with all of them. Here are some ways to help you decide what social platform works and doesn’t work for your company.
Keep an eye out on your competitors. Since you’re both in the same industry, you can research the channels they’re most prominent on and gauge their effectiveness.
Check out your share counts. If you have a blog, it’s most likely equipped with analytics tools that allow you to see who’s sharing your content and on which channels. If you see consistent shares on a particular channel, like Facebook, you’ll know what to focus on.
Ask your customers. You can do this via an email survey, or in-person.
Improve Your Social Media Profiles
There are a few easy and fast ways to get the most out of your profiles:
Perform an audit of your channels. Are all the fields filled out? Are there any typos or broken links?
Be sure that you’re using the right size images. Here are a few for your reference:
Facebook profile picture: 170 X 170 pixels
Facebook cover photo: 828 X 465 pixels
Twitter profile photo: 400 X 400 pixels
Twitter header image: 1,500 X 500 pixels
LinkedIn profile photo: 400 X 400 pixels (minimum)
LinkedIn cover photo: 974 X 330 pixels
LinkedIn banner image: 646 X 220 pixels
Instagram profile picture: 110 X 110 pixels
Make sure you use the same profile picture of your logo across all networks, and that your handles are consistent, too. This makes it easier for others to find and follow you.
Select your keywords for SEO. Research on what people search for most when looking for products or services in your space. Use tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner to help. Integrate these keywords into all aspects of your profiles, including your “About Me” sections
Don’t forget to pin your most important post to the top of social pages. This enables you to show your best work and update others on upcoming events.
Create a Robust Editorial Calendar
If you’re minimising spend on social media marketing, your social channels must be thriving and full of useful content.
Decide what types of content and campaigns you’ll push out for different channels. It’s best to have a mix of content, like educational and what's trending, depending on what your target audience likes. Determine how much content you’ll need during your content cycle and plan out three months’ worth of content in advance.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to include evergreen content in your calendar. This is an excellent best practice for all channels. It also saves money and labor to have long-lasting and sustainable content that's easily reusable in the long-run.
Promote, Promote, Promote!
Whether it’s your emails, website, or business cards, include links to your social media pages. There are even options to add social media buttons on your website so people can instantly follow or “like” your brand.
Cross-promoting is also an excellent way to gain new followers organically. For example, if someone is already on your Facebook, you can include links to your Twitter and Instagram in the “About Me” section, as well. Or, you can even publish posts urging your followers not to forget your other pages.
Engage With Your Followers
How do you feel when you receive “likes” or comments on your personal social media posts? Great, right? The same goes for your followers. 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them.
However, most followers won’t interact with your profiles unless you make the first move. Schedule a bulk of time each week to engage with them, whether this means commenting, liking, or even sharing their posts. It’s also essential to be on top of answering questions and responding to feedback so that followers feel heard.
It’s not always about the money. Sometimes, the most effective social media accounts are the ones with the most original and attention-grabbing content. Although a combination of organic and paid social is the best strategy to grow, organic social serves as a strong foundation for any social media strategy — especially when there are creative marketers involved.