Using Social Media To Stay Top of Mind in 2021
Evolve your social media strategy to stay visible this year
Written by Lauren Hamilton
For a long time now - over a decade - brands of all sizes have relied on free social media exposure to find potential customers, to build a community around their brand and to stay ‘top of mind’ in their customers minds.
Being top of mind in your category can have powerful results for any brand, but the psychology behind the strategy is simple. As a consumer, when we’re familiar with a brand and are exposed to it regularly, we develop a sense of trust and even a preference for it.
When the moment arrives that we need that kind of product, we are naturally more inclined to think of, and buy the brand we’ve seen most recently and most frequently rather than a brand we’ve never heard of or haven't seen in ages.
Social media, with it’s constant, intimate presence in our lives, is an absolute natural at placing brands ‘top of mind’ and has been the primary way businesses - especially small businesses - have been able to get in front of their target audiences for the past 10 or more years. Even more wonderful is the fact that (until recent years), this visibility has been achievable for very little cost.
Things, however, have changed gradually but definitively in the past couple of years. Organic (i.e. unpaid) Facebook post reach has gradually dropped for business pages in that time, from an average of 50%+ to its current average level of 1.26% organic reach for each post...
Say WHAT?! Yes. 1.26%.
That’s the percentage of your followers, on average, who see each of your Facebook posts in 2021, following the most recent Facebook algorithm updates. So, if you have 1,000 followers, on average 12-13 people will see each ‘free’ post you share. Your own businesses Facebook page may be doing better than this - I manage some accounts which achieve around 30% reach on average - but many are struggling to attract more than a handful of views for even the most thoughtful, clever and gorgeous posts.
The Instagram algorithm works differently, so it’s likely a greater percentage of your followers on that platform are seeing each post, but it is still sitting at only about 20% reach on average per post.
Why would Facebook do this to us?
It’s simple. They want us to buy more advertising from them. And they want us to come up with ever-more engaging content, which will make users enjoy Facebook more, and spend more time on the platform, so Facebook can sell their viewership for more money. They are a commercial business, and selling ads fuelled by data is how they make a profit.
So, what does this mean for businesses like ours?
It means we need to seriously reconsider how we stay ‘top of mind’ in our own categories without relying on regular social media posts.
- Do you need to investigate Google Ads, PR, or paid influencer activity?
- Are there other facets of Facebook and Instagram (other than just posting) you could use to generate reach?
- Can you spend more time in Facebook Groups, which are not subject to the same algorithms as Facebook feeds?
- Can you use Stories, Reels and IGTV?
Use of these alternative content sharing mechanisms is more likely to be seen by your followers and is something the algorithm rewards, so it’s a real win-win.
Also consider paid Facebook and Instagram ads, but DON’T just ‘boost’ posts. In some categories, clever and eye-catching social ad campaigns can deliver 10+ times ROAS (return on advertising spend), without all the effort of coming up with daily organic posts.
It means changing how and what we post to our Facebook pages. My top tips for creating posts which are rewarded with higher reach by Facebook and Instagram are;
- Create posts which play on an emotion or show yourself (and your team) on a personal level & tell your brand story from the heart
- Ditch the overly perfect groomed posts for funny & informal posts which show the light-hearted, messy side of your life and business
- Be share-worthy. Why do people share? To be seen as funny, knowledgeable (early adopter, first in group to know), helpful or to make a statement about themselves. Use this knowledge to drive more sharing.
- Post videos. They always perform better than static imagery in terms of engagement, with Facebook rewarding longer (3 min +) length over short snippets.
- Encourage interactivity without resorting to obvious tactics. Comments are king, but likes and shares also good.
- Always reply to comments asap - if you’re rushed, at least like and drop a quick emoji!
The days of every one of your business posts being seen by all (or even most) of your Facebook and Instagram followers are over.
It is a frustrating reality that relying on simple organic posting to reach out to your social community is a thing of the past, and a risk for your business.
But, if you’re a little creative, open to having some fun and willing to evolve how you use social media, it can still form part of your strategy to snag that precious ‘top of mind’ position in 2021!
About the Author
Lauren is the owner of Digital Narrative and The SEO Store; sister consultancies which specialise in small business digital marketing. She and her team pride themselves on being able to operate on budgets of any size to deliver digital solutions which dramatically increase their clients online visibility. Lauren is passionate about sharing her knowledge to empower other business owners to take charge of their digital presence with clarity and confidence.
You can get in touch with Lauren via the Mums & Co Member Directory or book a 1:1 Expert Advice Session and get help with your business!