The Truth About Organic Social Media: It Takes Time

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Today, most of us are on social media in one way or another. Whether you have a personal Facebook where you keep up with your friends or you’re running an Instagram account for your small business, we all have an idea of how social media works: You make a post, people see the post, and you might get some likes.

Yet there is one thing about social media we need to debunk: The idea of instant social media success.

The Truth: Watching Grass Grow

At Eternity, we recommend that all businesses post on social media at a minimum of three days a week. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans today use some form of social media. That’s millions of engaged consumers congregated in one place every day, making social media platforms a sure-fire way to reach your potential and existing customers. Social media has massive community building potential for any business.

That being said, just because you’re on social media doesn’t mean you’re going to reach all 72% of Americans on social media. (That’s crazy!) Unless you’re a viral account, you’ll never even get close to that number.

Oftentimes, we see people who get onto social media and wonder why they aren’t getting dozens and dozens of likes on their posts the very next day. The truth is that while you will reach many people, it takes a lot, a lot, a lot of time to grow a social media account (in terms of likes and follows) if you are simply posting organically.

The Facts: Organic Social Media vs. Paid Social Media

While creating an account on social media is free, there are in fact paid elements to social media—which is important to know when talking about growth on social.

Organic social media means simply creating posts and posting them to your accounts. Paid social media is when you create a post and you actually put money behind it so that it will reach more people. Organic social media reaches your followers whereas paid social media can reach anyone you’re targeting on the social media account you’re using.

For example, on Facebook—which is still considered the top-dog social media account—research from HubSpot shows that the average reach for an organic post is 5.17% of a page’s likes, while the average paid reach is 28.1% of reach. In addition, with paid social media advertising, reports from Statistica have found that world-wide across social media platforms, paid social impression numbers have improved year-on-year close to 20%. Simply put, these platforms want you to pay them, and paying gives you higher reach and impressions than organic, meaning you will “grow” faster.

If you’re only posting organically on social media, you will reach new eyes, but because your reach is on average smaller with each post, it will take a bit longer to grow your audience.

So those accounts you see getting tons of likes? There’s a chance they might have paid for it.

The Good News: Organic Social Media is Important

Don’t despair if you don’t have the budget to pay for your social media. While you may see “faster results” in terms of likes and follows if you open up your wallet, organic social media does more for you than just offer growth opportunities. After all, social media is not just about getting likes. That’s a just small portion of what social media can do for you.

Social media is one of the most prominent faces of your business. According to a survey performed by Animoto, 58% of consumers visit your social profiles before they visit your website. What you organically post on your feed will shape their opinion of your business—and that matters.

Organic social media is an opportunity to show who you are, your personality, your team, and your values. Organic posts work to build trust in your brand. According to research from Sprout Social, when a customer feels connected to your brand, 68% will recommend your brand to a friend, and 76% will buy from you over a competitor.

While paid can get you fast followers, organic can gain you loyal customers who do the groundwork overtime to bring you more meaningful business. Remember: A loyal consumer can do more for you than someone who sees and likes your content just once.

The Conclusion: Adjust Your Goals

If you cannot pay for social, prioritize using your social media to nurture customer relationships and create a trustworthy face for your brand. Adjust your goals to action items such as:

  • Creating high-quality, memorable content
  • Connecting with business partners and community members
  • Connecting with loyal consumers and prompting them to advocate for your brand
  • Developing messaging that shows your brand values
  • Creating a “face” for your business that creates relationships and creates trust

If you keep posting organically, the followers and the likes will come. Just remember the truth about organic social media: It takes time.