Many of the marketers I know and respect are in agreement with this. In fact, Michael Stelzner who wrote The Death of Organic Social Media is a good friend and a leader in the industry that I admire. It’s just not the case though. I spend exactly $0 on promoting my marketing publication online and continue to get over 1,000 new visitors every single month from organic social media — predominantly Facebook.
There are a few reasons to take issue with the notion that organic social media is dead:
- Business Growth: Marketers compare numbers that they had years ago and expect growth to be sustained as social media adoption has increased. The reality is that business growth has also skyrocketed on Facebook. As an example, 16 million local business pages were created as of May 2013. That’s a 100% increase from 8 million in June 2012. If there’s a 100% increase in competition in your industry, what would you suppose would happen?
- Ad Revenue: Many marketers rely on large volumes of readers to support advertising revenue. As a publication, my advertising revenue is directly aligned with the number of visits I get to my site. It’s a fact that I despise, one that continues to drive publishers to use every technique possible to inflate their numbers. Chances are, your business doesn’t need those numbers. In fact, my business continues to turn down opportunities as my content is shared. You don’t need a thousand more Facebook likes — you just need to get in front of a relevant prospect.
- Poor Content: The ratio of noise to valued content continues to increase. In my humble opinion, the majority of businesses should get out of the content business. They’re spending valuable time and resources producing content that’s not even being read. Don’t believe me? Open up your analytics to your content for the last 30 days. I suspect that 90% of the visitors on your site or blog are visiting less than 10% of your content. Why are you continuing to invest in more content that no one is sharing? If you wish to expect superior results with organic social media, you better invest in excellent content. Every piece of content you produce should be remarkable. Remarkable content is shared organically every time.
A Case Study In Organic Social
We had been producing content for one of our technology clients over the last nine years. In that time, we wrote 14 articles on topics related to disaster recovery. Each article was solid but not fantastic. As we entered 2017, we identified that we were in trouble as the number of visitors to these articles faded to under 100 shares per month, with the bottom dropping out at 45 social visits in January 2017.
In February, we invested a couple of weeks and researched all competing articles on the topic. We did both primary and secondary research, developed graphics, and wrote a comprehensive article that was better than any other ranking on search engines or popular via BuzzSumo. We redirected the other 14 articles to the article that was most shared and prominent on the client’s site. The following month, social shares doubled and social visits jumped to 78. As of November 1, we had over 1,271 visitors via organic social traffic to the page. We’re now averaging over 170 visits to the article each month. Time on the page increased 61% to 3.3 minutes.
We spent $0 to promote the article.
Just as I’ve expressed that attention spans haven’t changed, neither has the ability for amazing content to perform well. The problem isn’t that organic social is dead, it’s that organic social is packed with unremarkable content. Unremarkable content may have worked a few years ago, but there’s too much competition today to expect to see results.
Organic social media is far from dead.