Is organic reach dead?

Since February, when Mark Zuckerberg announced the biggest change in Facebook’s algorithm, we’ve been asked by clients whether they should migrate away from Facebook as their core social channel. Is it defunct as a non paid media?The answer is simple…‘no but’.

Understanding the algorithm is key

In fact, what it says is ‘uninteresting content should be relegated’. Why? Because put simply no-one has shown an interest.

We think this is a positive change.

We think it represents a challenge.

We think it’s a hugely positive step towards better work, better ideas and more engaging ideas that connect better with audiences — exactly how brands should use social.

So how can this level of work be produced?

  1. Thinking social first

Social isn’t an amplification channel. Yes it can be used to amplify an idea that is native elsewhere, but it’s far from optimal usage.

Instead, a cross-channel social campaign needs to have clear objectives — in a world where peer to peer recommendation is directly leading to almost 50% of online sales, social should a core source of driving salesUsing social as a modern version of press or OOH, to deliver frequency alone isn’t enough

For Jack Daniels’ our work delivers engaging content that is, of course, on brand but that isn’t dependent on an ATL idea. It deliver engagement, inspiration, and when paired with our CRM programme, tangible ROI.

Thinking social first means thinking about social as linked, but distinct channel that can achieve objectives at every stage of the funnel from awareness amongst new audiences, to nurturing and nudging towards repeat and dare we say, it, loyalty.

2. Anticipating action

Marketing is about action.

So what action is social media marketing trying to stimulate? It’s crucial to consider this before a plan on a page has even been written — because there’s no size that fits all.

Our work for Chambord is about increasing relevance — a mental, but profound, action. As a result, all of our imagery is grounded in action — the action of adding Chambord to your drink. Exactly the semiotic influence we want to have on our audience.

For other brands, it’s about the physical action of sharing to drive engagement and create ideas that get talked about

3. Embracing creativity

Remember this: ‘Uninteresting content should be relegated’.

So we need to create interesting content right?

Well more than that, we need ideas that do two things:

  1. Allow consistent telling. This is easier said than done. Creating ideas that can be ‘activated’ or ‘communicated’ every single day, that are pliable enough to be aligned to a brand’s barriers or benefits, is very different to a 30 second TVC. Without it, ideas become diluted and diluted ideas disappear.

  2. Stimulate social conversation. In other words, ideas that are worth being talked about. Sharing. Liking. Following. Regramming. Participating. This is the language of great social creativity. This should always be the aim.

As regulations and algorithms continue to advance, it undoubtedly becomes more difficult to achieve organic reach and the low cost per contact that comes with it.

However, far from being dead, with the right strategic and creative partner and the right approach, it’s still entirely possible to achieve.

Chris Falconer