Over the past few years, organic engagement has seen a decline across social media platforms and is now at an all-time low.
Organic reach is garnered by content distributed on an unpaid basis, including engagement from accounts that have viewed posts or browsed a social account. Instagram’s engagement has declined from 1.22% in 2019 to just 0.47% in 2022. Posting on Facebook yields even lower success, declining from 0.09% to 0.06% in 2022, and Twitter performed similarly declining from 0.045% to 0.035% according to an article by Search Engine Land. TikTok, however is the exception and is leading the way in organic engagement at 5.68%. However, many brands have not yet built a presence there, missing out on its potential benefits.
These low organic engagement rates are forcing more brands to spend on advertising, with 5,000 online retailers spending 11% more than usual, totalling a spend of $529.7 million. Although Facebook remains the top choice for brands, they spent 60% more on TikTok advertising in Q2 of 2022, totalling $29.9 million. More and more brands are making the move to TikTok because of the opportunities for organic reach and engagement, and it’s likely this trend will continue through 2023.
According to a Social Media Benchmark Report by RivalQ, Facebook saw higher engagement rates from industries such as sports, influencers, and higher education. Instagram had larger engagement rates in similar industries, but higher education was much more popular on the platform. Over on Twitter, the industries with the most engagement were sports, higher education and alcohol, with non-profits also doing well on this platform.
Fashion, however, struggled to keep up despite being one of the most prominent verticals using social media. Brands such as Lounge Underwear, UNIQLO and Fjallraven saw the best engagement rates when using the hashtags “#competition”, “#giveaway,” and “#win”, suggesting that fashion brand audiences are now relying on product giveaways to fuel engagement. This was a similar trend across food & beverage, health and beauty, and hotels.
According to Hootsuite, brands that have solid social strategies have the best chance to improve their organic engagement rates.
Firstly, businesses need to consider audience profiling and understand how customer interests change across different platforms. One way to understand an audience is to start social listening on platforms—what are users saying about a business? What are competitors doing? Industries are learning what content works best on different social platforms; what works for TikTok might not work for a platform such as LinkedIn. Take time to optimise the content to suit social media demographics and choose platforms most likely to work best with the business type.
It is also important to create content that has value – make sure that it is of good quality and that the message of the content resonates with the audience. Posting content that is inclusive of an audience is important, as customers appreciate seeing themselves represented.
Content should also be consistent, so posting frequently and at the right times of the day will allow the content to connect with audiences at their most active. A deep understanding of social analytics is required to get the data that matters, as well as having an understanding of the different algorithms that social platforms use. Instagram, for example, prioritises content that is relevant and will show it to those who have a good relationship with the account. When these audiences do engage, it can be valuable to engage back; audiences are more likely to interact with posts when they know that they are likely to get a response. According to research by Twitter, customers can spend up to 30 per cent more with brands that respond to their tweets.
Audiences want to engage with entertaining content; hosting a quiz on Instagram stories or asking followers questions in captions encourages audiences to open up and engage with the content, boosting engagement rates. Staging virtual events such as live streams that include giveaways, Q&As, or speaking with guest speakers can pique followers’ interest. Competitions are one of the ways that industries can adapt to this falling rate. Giveaways not only have the ability to boost organic engagement but can also lead to repeat customers and open up opportunities for more User Generated Content which can develop brand recognition. Although it may be considered paid content, collaborating with influencers can have its perks, particularly through a hashtag campaign which can encourage UGC that can be reposted to social media with permission. It’s key to think of ways that the company can utilise resources internally, so making employees brand advocates by encouraging the team to share and distribute company content on social media to friends and followers can aid the success of organic engagement.
Organisations that fail to implement some of these strategies might struggle with engagement rates and risk being left behind.
If you’re struggling with making organic social content work, connect with us to discuss the opportunities that exist.
Pippa Gilroy is a Digital Marketing MSc student, content creator and social media enthusiast with a passion for writing about the latest industry trends.
Instagram: @pippagilroy / TikTok: @gilroypippa / Twitter: @pippagilroy