Let’s face it. These are dark days for organic social media.
Networks are broken. Niches are saturated. Once go-to tactics are dead.
With the mantra that “every company needs to be a media company” having finally been adopted across the board, audiences are overwhelmed by the noise. And much of the media that brands publish is simply missing the mark, so no one wants to engage with posts promoting this content anyway.
Think I’m being overly negative? Let’s look at the facts:
- While social outperformed search for traffic referrals to websites from 2014 to 2016, this year, Google was twice as likely to send a visitor your way than Facebook was.
- Facebook cut off ad targeting based on third-party data providers.
- They also paused all approvals for new bots and apps on the platform for over a month this year.
- According to BuzzSumo, last year, half of all content received fewer than five shares across the major social channels, which represents a 50% drop from just two years prior.
- Users have started spending less time on social media, while negative sentiment against social platforms among the general public has only increased.
But there’s no denying that social media sharing remains one of the most powerful ways to distribute content and reach potential customers.
How are you supposed to keep it working for you when everything around you seems to be making it harder?
You hack it.
Sharing content from your business’s own profiles has never been the only way to promote your message anyway — we just got comfortable with it as an easy and effective option. Now that it’s become less reliable, let’s look at how you can get out of that no-longer-comfortable comfort zone and hack the social networks to draw more eyeballs to your content.
Drive employee word-of-mouth
Your employees are the greatest secret accelerator for your social media content, especially in B2B. They often have both more and stronger connections to your target audience than your branded social media accounts. For example, a new customer might connect with their account manager on LinkedIn before they go follow all of your brand accounts everywhere else.
Enlisting your team on social media for help distributing content or company news will help build reach and word-of-mouth momentum. When Drift launched an email feature earlier this year, they enlisted the whole company on social media. With employees uploading their own videos about it to LinkedIn and other social channels, they generated over 300k video views and went viral on the channel.
Whether you’re launching a product, feature, or new piece of content, you can use your employees’ personal networks to build wider reach for your sales funnel.
A tool like Smarp will help your whole team organize and activate as part of your social media strategy.
They can quickly and easily help distribute content, which can both generate leads and track them to retarget with ads to nurture and eventually convert them from your brand account.
Create conversations with chatbots
Additionally, you may not want to commit fully to Facebook Messenger bots, but that shouldn’t stop you from using chatbots completely. There are other platforms — such as onsite chat, Slack communities, Telegram groups and other social networks’ private messaging — to build on, and you can still use any Messenger bots your brand already has set up in new ways.
These allow you to combine the engagement and reach of email — which is way more direct and dependable than social media news feeds — with the current accessibility and one-to-one communication of today’s social media norms. And while in the past, they’ve been used frequently for customer support and lead gen, chatbots can be highly potent for content distribution, driving people towards social media and even converting leads as well.
Chatbots help you create a more personal and conversational experience with your audience, which is exactly what’s missing from stale social media tactics being penalized by today’s newsfeed algorithms.
You can use messaging tools to start direct conversations with your social media network around your content, similar to how you would email your subscriber list about it.
Leverage one-to-one email
While Facebook is throttling our organic reach and our customers are spending less time on social media, guess what they still keep open most of the day? Their inboxes.
In addition to incorporating content into your brand’s email-focused marketing automation strategy, think about how you can once again tap into your employees and their networks to hack reaching your audience. Consider how many individual emails each team member sends per day, whether that’s to colleagues and friends in the industry, current customers, or leads.
It probably adds up to hundreds of emails per week, many including email signatures linking out to your homepage or social media feeds. But there’s a better way to use that real estate for content distribution.
Encourage employees to link to specific campaigns or pieces of content in their email signatures instead of linking to general business pages.
Email tools like Gmail’s canned responses, WiseStamp’s dynamic signature plugin, and HubSpot’s free signature generator all make it easy to create custom sig files promoting content posts and other marketing assets. For example, you can provide email signature content for multiple audience personas so that employees can include the most relevant content for each recipient.
It’s segmented email on a one-on-one scale.
Embed direct social CTAs in content
Finally, hack your social content distribution by rethinking how you encourage readers to share. Most of us have subtle share bars in our blogs’ sidebar or footer designs, where a reader needs to choose one of a half dozen options to share on, customize the share text, and post themselves.
It’s what we’ve been doing for years, but as I mentioned above, it’s no longer working. One way to improve your chances is by removing all that friction from the sharing process.
Tie together your onsite content engagement and social media footprint by embedding or linking to a pre-formulated social post draft in the content itself. And with tools like ClickToTweet, it’s all super easy to set up.
Check out how HotJar uses these CTAs effectively in their blog posts full of compelling data points and expert quotes.
Not only does this make it easier for people to share or engage with your content on social media, but it can help extend the organic reach of your brand and that post on social, making up for other challenges there.
Don’t give up — just find workarounds
Don’t be one of the marketers that gives up on social media as soon as it gets challenging. As long as your sales prospects are on social media, there will hopefully be plenty of good ways to reach them. It’s up to you to sort out how you’re going to do it.