Time for marketers to take organic social seriously

Being able to reach your audience on their terms is priceless

With budgets being squeezed and an ever-present feeling of uncertainty, marketers are being faced with tough decisions. Key among those is around how to invest their budget in low-cost, high-impact marketing.

With clients taking an increasingly digital-first approach, paid social has become a staple in any marketing mix. However, as the cost of living crisis and inflationary pressures look set to stick around for the immediate future at least, the real spotlight needs to be put on its more cost effective cousin organic social. This medium is ready to claim its rightful place on the throne, and become the go-to tool for brands to reach and emotionally connect with their audience.

Organic social is often the sidelined kid in the corner and is often siloed and overlooked. But it offers huge benefits for marketers who deploy it intelligently.

Why should marketers take note?

Organic social allows you to actively find and engage with your brands target audience, existing fans and customers, enabling you to spark a valuable two-way conversation with the people you are most trying to reach. This live, in the moment interaction enables brands to build a relevant and emotional connection, which is quantifiable.

The best part about these interactions is that they are genuine and happen organically — consumers are getting wise to paid promotions which are designed to get their attention, with a high proportion choosing to opt out of being served paid advertising. Being able to reach your audience on their terms is priceless.

Seeking opportunities to amplify and engage

The power of organic social is best harnessed when used to support a sponsorship or PR activation. This can help boost the content wider and engage with new audiences. This type of community building is much more valuable long-term.

A great example of this is our work on the Women’s Euros for Visa. Visa was invested in creating emotionally engaging conversations around female empowerment and inclusivity, showcasing the Euros and women’s football to encourage new audiences to be inspired to get involved.

The Social Element helped Visa to leverage social listening to fully understand the conversations already happening around the event, so we knew which ones Visa could jump into. This was made possible by having a full engagement team ready to react when needed. We also had to be proactive around the clock to ensure we could stay ahead and lead the conversation, with the goal to to embed ourselves into everything that was happening which would be positive for the brand and its objectives.

It definitely paid off, as we enabled Visa to achieve its highest social engagement levels ever, significantly enhance the campaign audience reach, whilst emotionally connecting with their target audience through 1-2-1 conversations.

How to ace organic social

Firstly, your content can’t be overly polished. We know that what works best on social is raw, real content that really resonates with who you’re trying to reach. Nailing your brand tone of voice and behaving as a human does is paramount too.

Be topical and relevant. This is possible by investing in good listening tools to ensure you understand what your audience is already talking about and how they are responding.

Patience is a virtue — taking the time to do what we call ‘social lurking’ before you decide to join the party has so many benefits. See what’s already happening and make sure you are comfortable before you dive in.

However — still make sure to strike whilst the iron is hot. There’s nothing worse than being late to the conversation by waiting too long to respond to a conversation or content trend.

Know your strategy by creating a social playbook. Defining what you want to talk about, the topics you want to get involved with and the things you want to celebrate with your audience is key. Think about who you are as a host on your own channels, and what sort of guest you want to be when you’re in someone else’s space. Your strategy should be flexible enough that your content can change in real-time, based on instant feedback from fans and what is happening.  

Keep your ears open! 2023 is the year of the community and all eyes are on community and social media managers, as brands refocus on creating that strong emotional connection with their audiences.

Organic content is really the beating heart of social media. It’s what social media is all about — building and maintaining genuine human relationships through one-to-one conversations, listening and, ultimately, great content based in the moment.

Featured image: cottonbro studio / Pexels

Linn Frost, Managing Director, The Social Element

Linn Frost is an innovative brand builder and marketeer who has spent the last 20 years, both agency and brand-side, working with brands including Dove, BP, and M&S. She was previously the Marketing Director for Virgin Red, and held roles at Ogilvy and Truant London. She is now the Managing Director of The Social Element, a Social Media agency that enables brands to build genuine human connections with their audience, driving brand growth and loyalty. Linn is proudly dyslexic. She is currently working with the charity Made By Dyslexia to ensure that all schools and employers are equipped to harness their students and employees’ superpowers.

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