In an era of marketing dominated by paid advertising, sponsored content, and strong competition for visibility and digital space, organic social media can feel like it lacks impact – becoming a perfunctory part of customer interaction strategies rather than a key visibility element.
Organic social media today has a broader definition than standard “post calendar” strategies suggest, with a complex evolution that today influences the full customer journey. Organic social elements can now include community management, customer care and direct contact through messenger integrations, social listening, and opinion leadership, employee social media advocacy programmes, as well as leveraging user-generated content to support in-house media plans.
During the ongoing pandemic, organic social experiences have taken on a new importance – a way to stay connected despite a lack of face-to-face contact, and a newly key point of contact for brands no longer able to rely on in-person interactions for their customer experiences. A 2021 report from Retail Economics and Natwest has found that, since the pandemic began, nearly half (46%) of UK consumers have purchased a product online that they had previously only ever purchased in store.
As a wave of new consumers have adapted to online-first shopping over the last year, the research attempts to determine to what extent these changes will become permanent in the next year and beyond. When asked directly, 32% of consumers surveyed said they expect to continue with their new eCommerce habits in the future, a figure that rises to 40% in 45-54 year-olds. With this uptake in digital interaction, the importance of organic social media as a key touchpoint has also grown.
Brands that have now prioritised their organic social media presence will be looking at one key metric: content quality. Content needs to be readily available across multiple social platforms; each with their own creative format opportunities, distinct contexts, and audience expectations within these contexts. Content needs to be at the consumers’ fingertips: easy to find, beautifully executed, and lead seamlessly into purchase – without being repurposed repeatedly across different platforms.