The Great 2013 Social Media Buzz Kill, & How Early Adopters Dominate
Sure! Your team creates and organically distributes amazing content that is intuitive, engaging by nature, and serves well-cultivated audiences. That’s a given. Your community manager distributes the content and organic audiences love it and share. Great! However, no matter how successful your content strategy is, without paid organic amplification, you’re most likely leaving substantial money on the table. Social content distribution used to be mostly free. Now, in the unavoidable effort to monetize, social media platforms charge for the same distribution. That’s the bad news. The fantastic news is that the “Ads” look very similar and are often barely distinguishable from the same organic page units that used to be free.
Have a look at the phenomena. Study the graphic below, clockwise from 11 o’clock [Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook mobile, and Facebook desktop/tablet], note just how much of the page is outlined in red. It’s mind bending, really. These organic feeling page units are paid. BUZZ KILL!
Learning how to work these paid organic page units, in tandem with the content marketing editorial calendar, is the new social distribution paradigm. The results of well-run, well-targeted programs are often staggering and usually result in some combination of:
- Targeted & scalable social psychographic traffic to content that converts
- Real links from sites with good domain authority
- Authentic social signals from real users of actual authority
- Insulation of our sites from harsh search engine algorithm updates
- Amplification of PR distribution to journalists, bloggers, and a myriad of focused media-role users
Early Adopters Are Cleaning Up
Each of the social channels has idiosyncrasies and differences in what KPIs can be accomplished. Let’s discuss Facebook because they have the most data and the paid organic systems are most evolved.
The next screen capture is of a very functional, organic only, Facebook company page social distribution program – right before aimClear took over editorial calendar amplification. The page posts are a combination of FB only content (like images) and company owned blog content posted on the wall.
The results are actually fairly good for today’s organic only Facebook marketer. With around 5,000 FB followers and 5-6 wall posts a week, results showed a reach (impressions) of between 400 and 2,000 users a day. That’s not bad at all.
Also, only a small number of users are driven out of Facebook and to the company owned blog posts, which were shared on the company page. Pay careful attention to the red box. It represents a time period that we’ll compare in the next screen captures. The blue trend line is organic reach. The purple line is the viral response, a major component of FB’s talking about this metric. The green line, flat at the bottom, shows that there is no paid organic distribution.
In the next screen capture, look at what happens when paid organic distribution is deployed. Psychographic reach skyrockets.
Reach is nice but you might ask, “Who cares?” Reach can be purchased. What’s more telling is that engagement catapulted an even greater percentage than the reach. In other words, the goodness scales along with paid organic distribution. This particular example is the result of about $300 of paid organic amplification of two wall posts. Wow!
The lift in all associated metrics is stunning, actually. How can any marketer afford NOT to amplify content?
Here’s an example of results for a single blog post, posted on a company wall, and amplified to key psychographic segments. Results are always some combination of:
- Traffic that engages in-channel and dead ends. In other words, the users do not come to the company owned content off-social.
- The amplification drives users external, to company owned content pages.
- A hybrid of both results.
Check out the screen capture below. A “Link Click” in Facebook means that the users left Facebook and visited the company owned asset. Keeping in mind that the amplification is highly targeted, the price per link click is really inexpensive. There is also great in-FB engagement. To my mind, the Link Clicks are very reasonably priced. The FB engagement is free.
Paid organic amplification is obviously the next wave of social distribution. Since the social signals and links are mostly from real users, it’s not likely that search engines will even negate the benefits. The traffic and engagement are also real. Users visit external company owned pages and perform.
Yes, 2013 signaled the final end of totally free social distribution. But, for early adopters, there are fantastic opportunities to distribute content via paid organic units to great benefit. Master each social platform’s suite of organic feeling ad units and understand the continuum of in-channel and external traffic driving characteristics. If you don’t, your competitor may first. Without understanding the new social reality, you may be blogging to nobody in relation to available audiences.