Are you creating amazing social media content for your brand, but having no luck with engagement?
You may be publishing high-quality imagery on your social networks, but your following seems to be going nowhere.
You’re receiving no conversions, no likes, and no shares. So, what are you doing wrong?

This year alone the number of social media users has jumped by 9.2%, meaning an effective social media strategy offers the potential to reach over 3.8 billion users worldwide. The key here is engagement. 

When we look at Facebook, brands who post once a day see an engagement rate of about 0.09%. So even if you have tons of followers, that doesn’t mean that they are engaging with your brand and your content. 

Instagram sees the highest engagement rate per post, with an average of 1.6%, while they also take the cake when it comes to ad revenue. Instagram saw an upward trend of 4.86 billion between 2018 and 2019, with the same increase projected for 2020. 

The fact is, while paid advertising is great for increasing brand awareness, it’s expensive and often only provides short-term results. By increasing your reach organically, you can build brand loyalty and create long-term relationships with your consumers. 

The benefits of organic reach on social media

It’s no secret that paid advertising is taking over social media. Scroll for 60 seconds on any social media platform, and you’ll likely come across an ad. Paid advertising is what helps brands get on the map and make initial sales. That said, 68% of customers will drop off after the first sale. It’s 70% cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one, and that’s where organic social media reach comes in.

Customer retention infographic

Consumers don’t want to be advertised too, at least not directly. What they want is to become part of a community where they feel valued and appreciated. Create a relationship with your community by engaging with them directly, asking questions, and producing relatable and shareable content. 

Starbucks has built an incredible community on social media where users not only engage with their content, but also post tons of user-generated content as well. Starbucks create their own infographics, post funny memes, and create hashtags for new products which encourage their community to share them. They are extremely connected to their community, retweeting customers’ posts, and also sharing them onto their Instagram news feed. All of these methods are part of building reach organically. 

testimonial starbucks

Organic reach on social media is beneficial for the following reasons:

1. Build a community

Investing time in organic reach strategies you can build a loyal community of followers and consumers. While paid ads may grab the attention of your target audience, you need to create consistent, valuable content and maintain an open flow of communication with your followers to retain them. Use features like livestreams on Facebook, or Instagram to help your audience connect with you on a deeper level. 

Users watch Facebook Live videos 3 times longer than pre-uploaded videos and 25% of those do so to feel informed and connected with your brand. By implementing these types of organic reach strategies your community will grow, and you will strengthen your brand loyalty. 

2. Cost-effective

Brands are spending on average between 11-12% of their marketing budgets on paid social media advertising. 

Over the next 5 years, that figure is projected to increase by 89%. One of the best things about organic reach is that it’s virtually free, as your community helps to spread your brand message for you. That said, engagement requires a time investment. Increasing organic reach through engagement on social media (creating content, replying comments, answering queries), requires about 6 hours per week on average. 

3. Establish your brand as an authority

As consumers, we trust the opinions and recommendations given to us by others. When purchasing a new product, we pore through the reviews before committing to buy. The average customer reads at least 10 reviews before trusting a brand or product.

As important as the reviews are themselves, 97% of people want to see how your business responds to those reviews as well. Although a brand may say its products are the best (via advertising), we want to hear it from people who have actually used them. 92% of consumers believe word-of-mouth recommendations over advertising. The more people organically share your content, the more their entourage starts to trust and recognize your brand.

Organic reach establishes your brand as an authority in your niche and builds trust since your community will be vouching for you.

Organic reach of social media in 2020

Social media trends in 2020 are all about authenticity, value, and loyalty. Facebook is prioritizing content based on the number and length of comments, variety of reactions and overall engagement with brands. 

SEO used to require cramming as many keywords into your content as possible, while now the algorithms are becoming increasingly intelligent in identifying quality. Here are three main trends we are seeing in organic social media reach this year:

1. User-generated content

User-generated content is arguably the top social media marketing trend in 2020 for increasing organic reach. It includes any type of content that is created by your audience, which showcases your product or service. Some examples include fan pages, unboxing videos or try-on hauls, product reviews, tagged photos featuring your product, or including your brand hashtag in their social media posts. 

Encouraging your consumers to create user-generated content starts at the height of their excitement in your brand – the sale. As soon as a consumer purchases your product, include a link to leave a review, offering a discount on their next purchase if they do so. You can also request that they tag your product on socials when they receive it and include the relevant hashtag. You can also share photos of your customers in their products on your social feeds to encourage others to post their photos for a change to be shared as well. 

2. Nano influencers

Using influencer marketing has been an effective way to advertise products for the last few years. While influencers showcasing your brands will still help increase your organic reach, it’s becoming less genuine. Many huge influencers are partnering with brands just to receive the “likes,” and consumers are taking notice. In 2020, brands are opting to work with nano influencers, which are people with a smaller, but more engaged following. 

On Instagram, nano influencers (those who have around 1000 followers) have an average engagement rate of 8%, with the majority being friends and family. 74% of people make purchasing decisions based on friends and family recommendations – for our purposes, these recommenders act as nano-influencers.

For influencers with over 100,000 followers the engagement rate is only about 1.7%. Since nano influencers require little to no budget to work with you can work with a higher number of them. In fact – instead of reaching out and offering to pay them to share your content, you can build a program that automates rewarding them to do so (more on that below).

3. Relationship building

In the past, the goal of social media strategy has been to get as many likes, and instant follows as possible on each social media post. The problem is that most posts only have a value window of three days, after which your consumers may forget the post entirely, or even unfollow the brand. The objective now is to build authentic and long-lasting relationships that extend beyond just a piece of content.

Building loyalty and a quality relationship with your consumers will help increase referrals to friends and family and dramatically boost organic reach. It takes time, but putting in the effort to respond directly to your customers, addressing their pain points or comments, makes a huge difference. 

Facebook has updated their customer relationship management by allowing you to include information about each individual’s recent interactions (such as purchases), along with unique labels and notes. You can then tailor your comments and responses to them based on personal information you’ve gathered from their engagement history. These types of efforts will show your community members that they are valued and appreciated. 

customer relationship management screenshot Facebook business

You can also use the interface to reply to comments and messages from both Facebook and Instagram, with notifications each time a new interaction takes place. Having these real-time updates allows you to ensure you maintain active engagement. 

How your own community’s social media engagement can increase your organic reach

When first visiting the social media platforms of a brand, the first thing a consumer will look for is engagement. If they see that the brand has a bunch of followers, but no likes or comments on their content, it will look shady. 

You want new visitors to see that you are engaging with your followers, not just for sales purposes, but to build relationships. Instead of posting solely content related to sales, include relatable photos and videos, quotes and memes that help users connect with you on a personal level. 

To get started, begin creating content that provides value to your target market. Proactively engage with your community by replying to their comments, and including prompts in captions that encourage them to respond. Post stories with polls and questions, and do live videos to chat about valuable topics and information. Your community will find value in your brand and your content and begin to share it with their networks. They may directly share your content on their social media or create user-generated content about your brand. 

Types of social media engagement

As you begin implementing engagement into your social media strategy, here are some of the ways you can engage with your community.

1. Interaction

The best way to engage with your community is through proactive interaction. Make an effort to interact with your followers daily by creating prompts that get them talking and active. Post your content at a time when you know you can commit to engaging instantly as people interact with your content. Even if more of your followers are online at 5pm each day, if you can’t actively engage at this time then you’re not going to see good results.

While engaging with your following will help you generate loyalty, you’re also trying to expand your reach. Building your community involves finding those who aren’t yet following you, and showing them your value. Identify authorities in your brand niche and start interacting with their followers. 

They don’t need to be direct competitors as long as your brands relate in some way. Turn on their post notifications so you can see when they post new content and jump over to their page to observe the comments. Answer questions when you can, and identify any users who consistently engage with the brand. You can also check brand hashtags, to see who shares their content the most.

2. Consistent communication

Consumers expect consistency. They may get excited to check your feed each day at a particular time to see what you’re posting or be waiting for your next Instagram story. On top of that, social media algorithms will make your content appear more frequently to those who consistently like or engage with your brand. 

When you don’t post consistently, users have nothing to like or engage with. They will quickly drop off since, not only will they forget about you, but due to the algorithm, your posts will stop appearing in their feeds. Users will end up engaging with more active brands instead of yours. 

social media communication

To keep your feed consistent, make your content calendar ahead of time, and schedule the time to post and engage at the same time each day. If someone comments on a post or sends you a DM with a question, make sure to answer immediately. People want to feel valued, and if you ignore them, it will quickly ruin your reputation.

3. Reward loyalty

The more your ambassadors and consumers feel appreciated, the more they will want to share your brand with their network. You can increase engagement by encouraging followers to use your hashtag and share their experiences with your brand. Reach out to those who are highly engaged with you and either re-sharing your social media posts or creating user-generated content. Reward their loyalty by giving them a discount on products or services, free merchandise, or even an invite to a special event.

Social media community engagement strategy

Building loyalty needs to be at the core of your social media engagement strategy. You can invest in as much paid advertising as you want, but if your followers aren’t loyal to your brand, they will leave you at the drop of a hat for the next shiny new thing. Not only will loyal customers spend around 67% more money, but they also cost 25% less than acquiring new ones.

When you are building your social media community engagement strategy, you need to consider your brand objectives. By identifying what you are trying to achieve, you can track the relevant metrics to measure the success of your efforts.Listen to your audience to help build a strategy that focuses on relevant social media platforms, audience pain points, and how and when they use social media. 

What social media metrics to track based on business objectives?

Depending on your business objectives, the metrics you’ll want to track will vary. Here are four common objectives, and the metrics to track to analyze the success of your social media strategy:

  1. Customer retention 

If your objective is retaining current customers you’ll want to track engagement (comments, shares, likes), reach, reviews and traffic from social media to your website. 

  1. New potential customers

If the goal is to reach as many new customers as possible then you’ll track customer acquisition, new followers, opt-ins via social media and audience demographics. 

  1. Sales 

For brands who want to increase sales the metrics you’ll track will be conversions, revenue, generated leads, ad spend vs results, traffic to website via social media. 

  1. Engagement 

If your business objective is to increase your engagement on social media, you should track applause rate (likes, saves, favorites), engagement (comments, shares), amplification and virality. 

Best social media tools for community engagement

You don’t need to be an expert in community engagement to see the benefits for your brand. There are some fantastic tools available that you can use to optimize social media engagement and increase organic reach.

Spitche

Spitche is a community engagement tool that lets you reward your community with cash prizes  or other rewards for engaging with your content.

It’s cool because it works as a content distribution tool – as your followers like, comment and share your content (and they will – cause they get paid for it!) – you get more organic reach and you save on paid ads.

Plus, the gamified aspect helps build loyalty, and the tool helps you see who are hot leads and feeds into your CRM for you. So it’s a community engagement/lead generation/content distribution/loyalty program tool all in one!

 

Buffer

Buffer is a social media management tool that allows you to schedule and manage your feeds from a single hub. You can build and schedule your posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as view analytics and performance details. 

Buffer also allows you to engage within the comments of each piece of content directly from the interface. It’s extremely helpful for engagement as you can ensure you can ensure your content is posted consistently and at relevant times.

Feedly

Feedly is an excellent way to stay up to date on your brand niche, your competitors, and what your target audience is engaging with. It pulls all the information on your chosen topic into one feed rather than requiring you to browse the web and visit each blog or website directly. 

Feedly pulls information from news publications, RSS feeds, social media and blogs so that you can stay in the know when it comes to current events and updates within your niche. Your community engagement rate will be much higher with up to date content, than with outdated content.

Canva

Canva is a design tool that allows you to create beautiful and professional-looking graphics for social media. By creating graphics and images that look professional and polished, you will establish trust in your brand.

Canva allows you to create infographics and other attractive designs with minimal effort. Infographics are effective for presenting a large amount of data, or complex information in an easy to understand format. Using infographics can help you grow traffic by an average of 12%, since they are incredibly shareable. You can also make graphics for Facebook headers, Pinterest images, Instagram stories, Instagram feed posts, and more. Combining photos with graphic or text elements on Canva can also help you convey a specific message or mood. 

Increasing organic reach on social media takeaways

By increasing your social media engagement organically, you’ll build a loyal community of followers who will serve as brand advocates and boost your organic reach.

What techniques have you used to increase your organic reach on social media? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!