Organic reach is dead. At least, it’s harder and harder to count on consistently. But quality social media content can still reach and engage fans on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, and elsewhere. The key is to appreciate and acknowledge that social media and marketing on social media platforms are two separate but synergistic things.
At the recent Sports Business Journal Intersport Brand Engagement Summit (recapped here wonderfully by Open Endorse), a few of the high level brand execs in attendance remarked on the importance of building up fan engagement and affinity to strengthen the effectiveness of brand activation and advertising. Reaching fans organically is not impossible, but it takes quality content to achieve it. And, with most fans not following your Facebook Page or other social media network for sales messages, these posts won’t garner the engagement to enjoy good organic reach. It’s not a catch-22, it’s a matter of re-framing it to think of social media and marketing on social media networks.
For years, we’ve subscribed to ideas like ratios of 80-20 or 90-10 and Gary Vaynerchuk’s oft-repeated jab-jab-jab-right hook philosophy illustrating the give before take nature of social media marketing. But times are changing. It’s no longer about slipping in a promotional message between quality content and engaging posts, nor necessarily about blurring the content between and advertising. It’s using social media and content to develop an engaged, emotionally connected fan base and community. It’s fostering such an affinity for the brand that, upon a fan hearing the team name, seeing their logo, or watching a highlight, stirs up instant feelings of positivity and afffection. Making them so connected that they feel something different seeing any content from the team, the highest of emotions upon wins and losses, because a more connected audience is one more receptive to advertising.
It’s about identifying and fostering an engaged, tied fan base, that when your team does appear in the space where ads are expected, tehy are welcomed and not ignored. The reach you’re paying for is more effective because the fans it is reaching are properly ‘warmed up.’ Want proof? The day after a big Stanley Cup Final game, Tampa Bay Lightning Social Media Manager Caity Kauffman deployed a Facebook ad for tickets to their next game and she reported a staggering 9.8% click-through rate. Why? Because the fans it was reaching were passionate and just seeing or reading the Lightning name stirred up emotions that spurred them to action.
We’re now in a position to prime an audience for advertising, to make sure that, when promotions are deployed, fans are connected to the brand in such a powerful and emotional way, through organic content, first. Mastering the social media will maximize the advertising through web, through email, through TV, and, yes, through social networks.
So are you still trying to sneak on marketing into social media? Commit to today to using social media to cultivate stronger fans and more connective continuity and affinity. It’ll make for better fans AND better advertising. Today’s consumers are smarter and more skeptical, but with open hearts. Connect and build a lasting, intimate line of communication.