5 Simple Tips to Boost Organic Reach on Instagram When Everyone is Using Paid Advertising

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unnamed-1Hi, my name is Karin Huynh and I am an intern with Sircle Media and today’s guest blog writer. I decided to tackle this article from Socialmediatoday.com that talks about fighting declining organic reach on social media. I hope you enjoy it

Paid advertising is all the rage these days. It seems like everyone from teenage influencers, to grandmothers with candle businesses, are getting involved. While paying Facebook and Instagram to garner attention has become the trend, does that mean organic marketing strategies will be obsolete? Not exactly. While it is obvious that Instagram relies on paid advertising to keep their platform running, they still reward accounts that are valuable and interesting to audiences. The main goal of social media is to capitalize on attention and to do so, you need to provide good content and be well versed on how best to deliver that content contextually to the platform. Social networks can be hot one minute, and disappear the next (Myspace, anyone?) so you also need to know how to dominate on what is currently hot and glean as much value for you and your brand as possible. Doing this when the going is good is easy, but as it starts to decline, you need to know how to squeeze the most juice out of the fruit before it is obsolete  Here are 5 ways you can improve organic reach on Instagram so your brand can be in front of more customers.

STUDY THE ALGORITHM

First, it is important to remember that Instagram is not random. The posts that are featured on the explore feed were not chosen because it looked the “prettiest” or the platform thought the picture was “cool” and users might like it. Instagram has an algorithm that allows it to show you posts that are getting a lot of comments and likes, along with making sure the post aligns with your own personal interests. For example, the algorithm might show you a post of an orange cat because it tracked that you liked old posts that had white cats. If you were shown a post with an orange cat, you would be more likely to engage with the content because it knows that you are a fan of cats. Another example would be if you were following a fitness influencer, the algorithm would only show you content related to the fitness niche because you already engaged with that specific type of content from someone else. Therefore, to have a chance of being featured on the explore feed of your audience, think about and work with the algorithm. Although no one knows exactly how the algorithm processes content (except maybe Instagram employees, but they’ll never tell), marketers have inferred that it is based on these three things: recency, relevancy, and engagement. Be sure to study the latest data on your audience insights to observe when your following is most active, what posts they liked the most, and what posts received the most comments. Once you’ve discovered what’s effective, post consistently and cater content to your audience’s interests and the odds of hitting the explore page will be in your favor.

BE PRESENT ON IG LIVE

Another way to fight organic reach decline is by taking advantage of Instagram Live. The platform favors live footage and will increase the visibility of it in the feed. At the end of the day, a follower of your brand is a person who wants either entertainment, utility or education. Instagram Live allows you to connect to your followers and build a stronger relationship with them. If you are open to experimentation, think about how you might go about being live and allowing for users to engage with you directly. For a great Instagram Live session, you could always greet your followers by their username while answering some questions or just showing the behind-the-scenes of your business. Don’t feel like you’re ready to go live and face your audience in real time? Not an issue. You can also test out Instagram Stories using the same ideas, and it’ll prep you for when you are ready to tackle it all in live mode.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CUSTOMERS

The more you give, the more you get back. According to this article, ”51% of people say they’d be more likely to continue engaging with and/or purchasing from a brand if it shared their photo, video or post throughout its marketing.” People naturally love attention, so when a brand takes notice of their content and reposts to the brand’s account, it is an action that pays back tenfold. A great example of a brand that does this is Go Pro. With over 15 million Instagram followers, they prove that user-generated content can be super effective. A majority of their posts are created by actual customers using their products, which makes them seem more authentic.

FIND YOUR TRIBE WITH HASHTAGS

Build a small community around your brand. Since Instagram hasn’t rolled out a feature similar to Facebook groups where people with a common interest can come hang out and cyber network, the closest thing would be to use a specific hashtag meant to connect your followers in a small hub where they can meet other followers or influencers like them and engage with each other’s content related to your business. This is also another way to easily communicate with your followers by liking and commenting on their posts in one spot.  One example of a brand implementing this strategy would be FashionNova with its custom hashtag “#NovaBabe”. When typed in the search bar, this one hashtag alone brings up more than 700,000 posts from other Instagram users, mostly curvy young women interested in the brand and hoping to get reposted on FashionNova’s account with over 15 million followers. The more users that use #NovaBabe in their captions, the broader the reach FashionNova has on Instagram leading to higher engagement and an even bigger following.

HAVE AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM

Okay, maybe this isn’t exactly free, but why give Instagram all of your money when you can pay back your customers for their loyalty? Leveraging an affiliate program allows you to partner with users who wield influence and then compensate them for sales. You are capitalizing on their organic reach and using them as a Trojan horse to get in front of their eyeballs, without technically paying for advertising. 1UpNutrition uses this strategy to increase brand awareness and grow their following. The brand enlists a few macro and micro influencers and everyone who wants to be an ambassador to get their own personalized discount code for their audience and every time someone buys their product with that specific discount code the ambassador earns a commission. As a brand, you don’t have to pay for anything until a sale is made, while at the same time getting free exposure to multiple audiences.

The bottom line here is that organic continues to be harder to tackle, but most good things don’t come easy. You need to continue to invest time and effort if you want to stand out from the pack and win.

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Organic Reach on Facebook is Not (completely) Dead

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If you work in social media marketing, then you are well aware that organic reach on Facebook is real hard to come by these days. As they have moved to a pay to play model, marketers have had to pivot their approach on The Social Network and adapt to the new realities. We are big believers in paying to leverage Facebook’s powerful targeting capabilities and have written about that here in this blog.

Despite the paid approach that we deploy for nearly all of our clients, we are constantly seeking ways to game organic reach too. In a study performed earlier this year by BuzzSumo they analyzed 1Billon (yeah, with a B) Facebook posts from all types of brand and business fan pages and came up with some clear conclusions on ways to garner more engagement.

Part of our job as an agency focused on outsourced social media management, is to keep our ear to the grindstone and to research and experiment with tactics that will product results for our clients. We have found that most of these core findings are accurate and that some produce stand out results.

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We’ve seen that pushing Instagram posts directly from IG to the Facebook fan page is really producing nice engagement for brands. This is even easier now, with the new roll out of brand profiles on Instagram and it is delivering positive results.

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We have also found that it is drastically outperforming other tactics with regards to organic reach.  Above is a screenshot from a client’s fan page that does not put any dollars towards their Facebook efforts. They have decided to invest their funds elsewhere and as a result their organic reach has been nominal. We post great content to their fan page 3-5X per week and they average 100 people reached and have almost zero engagement on their posts. Many brands without a paid strategy, are familiar with those type of poor metrics.

This week all 3 pieces of content were published on Instagram and simultaneously pushed to Facebook. As you can see, the reach and engagement numbers skyrocketed as a direct result. Going forward we are going to advocate that clients have this approach in their efforts, especially those with zero or little budget for paid efforts on FB.  Now this means we’ll need to think about their Instagram content and how it might display on Facebook.  Will it be sized right and will it make sense as a status there too?  We encourage native storytelling by platform and now need to think about a directional flow from IG to FB that will work.

The moral of the story here is that you need to continue to experiment and iterate to find results thru social media. We read up on industry trends and studies, we remain active practitioners and we never sit back and coast when it comes to tactics. Success is contingent on a marathon over a sprint mentality and you must always be looking for ways to drive results!

 

 

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Facebook Reach: Learn The Basics

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Facebook is always rolling out new features, but does it benefit you as a brand? Let’s discuss!

Facebook reach is the number of unique people who saw your content. That’s not all. The reach affects every other metric that you can track including comments, clicks, engagement, and likes. There are different kinds of reach as well — post, page, organic, viral, and paid. Let’s first talk about those.

  • Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in the news feed or on your page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event.
  • Paid reach: The number of unique people who saw your post through an ad

Note: Viral reach is now counted as part of organic reach.

You will also see something in your insights called “impressions”. Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is displayed, whether the post is clicked on or not. People may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see a page update in the news feed 1x (or more), and then a second time if their friend shares it.

Note: The reach will most likely will be lower than impressions, because it cannot reach someone multiple times like an impression.

Should you pay to reach more?

Paying to promote the right content in order to reach more people in your target audience (fans or not), can have it’s benefits. It is recommended that you adopt a pay to play mentality in today’s Facebook Ecosystem.

5 ways to maximize your reach:

1. Know your audience

Study your fans and know what they want in terms of content. Get into Facebook insights and really look at what your fans are responding to. Do they like video? Do they like two posts a day rather than one? Are they online at a specific time? What kind of content are they interested in sharing with their friends? Once you know your fans better and what they like/don’t like, etc. you will be able to get better results in a variety of ways.

2. Be relevant, brief AND timely

Your audience does not want to see paragraph long posts. It’s a fact, they are indeed turned off by it. They are more apt to read posts that are short, accompanied by a picture, and a link (bitly). If you’re sharing content, make sure it is up-to-date, especially if it is regarding your product in the press, etc.

3. Quality, quality, quality!

Quality content is going to get your posts even further. As long as you provide valuable information to your audience, your reach will be higher as fans will be more likely to share the content as well. Ask questions, conduct contests, and involve your consumers as much as possible.

4. Turn your fans’ friends into fans themselves

Facebook insights provides admins with the “Friends of Fans” metric, letting them know how many people they can potentially reach organically. Friends of fans are extremely important — they are more likely to visit a brand’s Facebook Page or website, purchase a brand’s products and become fans themselves. Organically, these Facebook fans can easily be reached through the Facebook Ticker, which tracks all user activity. Keep your fans interacting with your brand, and their friends will see all “liking” activity, comments and posts in the top right of their news feed.

5. Engage!

Fans love to know their favorite brands are listening and interacting with them. Sometimes social media managers overlook this very simple task, but it means a lot. Whether it is to say “thank you” or “have a great day”, consumers respond best to brands when they know they are being heard and responded to. Make sure to mix up your responses. Just don’t overdo it!

To read more about Facebook reach, click here!

 

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