Organic reach on Facebook has been on a steady decline.
As digital vets, marketing heavyweights and big brands all converged in the Big Apple for this year’s Social Media Week, the topic of organic reach and its implications for customer engagement reigned supreme. Ogilvy’s Marshall Manson said, “Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero.” That’s a controversial stance to take — and perhaps a bit too pessimistic.
But Manson’s statement brings up a valid point. Should brands give up completely on organic reach? While I wish there was a definitive answer to this, it’s just not that simple. There is still value in organic reach, but it’s not necessarily going to be the biggest ROI driver alone. And its success can depend a great deal on what your brand is trying to accomplish. And then there’s the efficiency of reach and precise targeting of paid ads that can also come into play.
Rather than just tell you our perspectives, we thought it’d be more interesting to share a mix of views from the social media experts who spend their days toiling away to create stronger brand interactions that translate into ROI.
Learning the unique language of each social network can maximize your influence.
Social platforms “are constantly evolving, introducing new functionalities, new types of tracking mechanisms, new types of ad types,” says Rachel Weiss, Head of Digital Innovation at L’Oreal. “You have to have an ever-present strategy as well as a constantly changing one.”
By using both paid and organic advertising, L’Oreal has managed to extend its reach significantly, Weiss says. Organic reach hasn’t died, it’s just evolved. Today, it’s a combination of paid and organic marketing tailored to individual platforms that’s going to offer you the most opportunity. Don’t let that opportunity slip away.
The beauty of social media, says Adaptly CEO Nikhil Sethi, is that each platform knows who’s viewing what, where and when, so you can deliver the right messages at the right time. But each social channel has its own language and each language is constantly evolving. For example, Head of Partner Marketing at Pinterest, Eric Hadley says that a car manufacturer struggled with using Pinterest as a catalog of the car’s features because no one ever re-pinned its photos. But when the brand began showing road trips and ski vacations instead, people started noticing and interacting with it on the social network.
Pictures are worth a thousand words for brands on Instagram.
Every time you look, there’s a celebrity posting ‘selfies’ to their Instagram page. Why? Pictures are a great way to show your emotions, what matters to you and best of all, invite others to become part of your personal story. And when you put brands into the mix, it’s a chance to invite shoppers – whether they’re first-timers, loyalists or referrals – into a brand’s story and experiences naturally.
Matt Britton, CEO of creative and technology agency MRY, likened the Instagram marketing experience to high-fashion magazines that use pictorial advertising alongside their staff content. “If you look at the September issue of Vogue, it’s 60 percent ads,” he says. “But consumers love the September issue of Vogue.”
Snapchat and Pinterest can be effective discovery tools for brands.
Snapchat, with its 30 million active monthly users, also got a good amount of attention at Social Media Week for its new Discover feature. Discover allows publishers like Cosmopolitan Magazine to share its content with Snapchat users. The hugely popular women’s fashion magazine recently published an ad experience from Victoria’s Secret, allowing the lingerie retailer to tap into a market that was otherwise inaccessible.
More and more, brands are realizing Pinterest’s marketing value. And the site is only getting better, opening its advertising options to more brands at the start of this year. Pinterest has also improved its search function to help people find specific brands, said Weiss. And direct purchasing? She’s eagerly waiting for Pinterest to open those doors.
What’d you think of Social Media Week this year? Tell us what you learned in the comments below.
Quotes in this post were provided by G/O Digital contributor Dorian Benkoil.