In 2021, almost all of us are on social media in one way or another. It may simply be because you have a personal Facebook where you keep up with your friends and family, or you’re running social media accounts for the sake of your small business. Bottom line, we all have an idea of how social media works: You make a post, people will hopefully see the post, and you get some engagement.
All of that is all good and well. Yet, there is one thing about social media that needs to be debunked: It’s the idea of instant social media success.
Note that we said *instant* success. The thing is, you can be tremendously successful on social media. You can grow a large following that converts into sales for you and your business. This is definitely all accomplish-able – otherwise we wouldn’t talk about the importance and benefits of social media as much as we do.
However, if you’re doing this all organically, meaning without any paid ad budget to support it, this will take some time… and a lot of effort. But don’t get discouraged. You will get there – maybe just a little bit more slowly than the others. Let’s talk further about this though, and break it down.
The Truth About Social Media Growth
It Can Be Slooooooooooow…
If you have the content to work with, we recommend that all businesses post on social media at least three days a week. Here’s the thing – people are on social media, and they’re looking at your stuff. That’s right. YOUR stuff.
According to what the Pew Research Center has discovered, 72% of Americans today are on some form of social media. This is millions of engaged consumers who are congregated in one place every day. This makes social media platforms a sure-fire way to reach your potential and existing customers. It’s worth reminding you that social media has massive community building potential for any business.
Now, just because you’re actively on social media and posting doesn’t mean that you’re going to reach all 72% of Americans who are on the platforms. That is, unless you’re a viral account – then you might get a little bit closer to reaching the masses.
Oftentimes, we see people who get onto social media and immediately start to get frustrated, wondering why they aren’t getting hundreds of likes and comments on their posts the very next day. The truth is that while you will reach many people, it takes a lot, (like a lot, a lot) of time to grow a social media account. If you are simply posting organically.
Organic Vs. Paid Social Media
While creating an account on all social media is free, there are in fact paid elements to social media—which is important to know when talking about growth.
Let’s define some things while we’re at it:
Organic social media means simply creating posts and posting them to your accounts. There isn’t a budget at all that goes behind it.
Paid social media is just that. It’s when you create a post and you actually put money behind it so that it will reach more people.
You see, organic social media reaches your followers whereas paid social media can reach anyone who you choose to target on the social media account you’re using.
For example, on Facebook—which is still considered the reigning champ of social media, research shows that the average reach for an organic post is 5.17% of page’s likes, and average paid reach is 28.1% of reach. In addition, with paid social media advertising, reports have shown that world-wide across social media platforms, paid social impression numbers have improved year-on-year close to 20%.
Simply put, these platforms want you to put some money towards them- and it’s worth noting that paying gives you higher reach and impressions than organi- this means that you will “grow” faster.
Don’t get us wrong. If you’re only posting organically on social media, you will reach new eyes. However, because your reach is on average smaller with each post, it might take a bit longer to grow your audience.
As far as those accounts that you see getting tons and tons of likes? There’s a good chance that they might’ve been paid for.
Considering Adjusting Those Goals
Now, if you cannot pay for social media, or simply don’t want to, you should prioritize using your social media to nurture customer relationships instead. You can create a trustworthy face for your brand. Adjust your goals to action items. They can include but aren’t limited to:
- Creating high-quality and memorable content
- Connect with loyal consumers and ask them to advocate for your brand
- Make sure to develop messaging that shows your brand values
- Creating a face for your business that creates relationships .
If you keep posting organically, the followers and the likes will come, we promise you that. Just remember the truth about doing organic social media: It takes time.
Organic Social Media is Important (Promise)
But hey/ don’t despair if you don’t have the budget to pay for your social media. While you may see “faster results” in terms of likes and follows , organic social media does more to offer you than just growth opportunities. After all, social media is not just about getting likes (despite popular opinion). In fact, that’s just a small portion of what social media can do for you.
Social media is one of the most prominent faces of your business. According to surveys, your consumers will visit your social profiles before they visit your website. So ultimately, what you organically post on your feed will shape their opinion of your business—and this matters.
After all, organic social media is an opportunity to show who you are, your personality, your brand, your team, and most importantly, your values. Organic posts will work to build trust in your brand. Research has shown that when a customer feels connected to your brand, 68% will recommend your brand to a friend, and 76% will buy from you over a competitor.
So while paid can get you fast followers, organic can gain you loyal customers who do the groundwork overtime. This will ultimately bring you more meaningful business. Remember: A loyal consumer is sometimes the best They can do more for you than someone who sees and likes your content just once.
Whether it’s your emails, website, or business cards, make sure that you are including the links to your social media pages. There are even options to add social media buttons on your website, which makes people easily and instantly like or follow your brand.
Another tip is cross-promoting. This is 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 your posts and in the “About Me” section, as well.
If you’re on social media personally, how do you feel when you receive “likes” or comments on your own posts? Pretty good, right? Well, the same goes for your followers. 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them, so make sure that you’re doing your engagement!
However, it’s worth noting that most followers won’t interact with your profiles unless you make the first move. You should schedule a bulk of time each week to engage with them. This could mean commenting, liking, or even sharing their posts. It is also essential to be on top of answering questions and responding to feedback that comes in so that followers feel seen and heard.
It’s not always about the money, honey. In fact, 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 truly grow, organic social serves as a strong foundation for any social media strategy — especially when there are creative marketers involved in the process.
You Don’t Have to Be On Every Channel
Cut yourself some slack at some point. You don’t have to be on every single channel, and you shouldn’t stress yourself out to get there. Instead, take a long hard look at the social channels you’re using, or are planning on using. Do you think you really need to focus your efforts on a particular channel? Well, it depends. Most businesses think that to build a social presence, you should be on everything from Pinterest to TikTok but at the end of the day, it depends on your industry and target audience.
Create a Great Editorial Calendar
At the end of the day, if you’re minimizing spend on social media marketing, your social channels must be thriving and full of wonderful and useful content.
You should 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, ultimately depending on what your target audience likes. Make sure to determine how much content you’ll need during your content cycle and plan out two months’ worth of content in advance.