Are you not achieving the desired results from your organic social media efforts? Are you seeking a social media marketing framework that can turn casual followers into passionate brand advocates?
In this article, we’ll delve into an organic social marketing strategy and provide practical tips customized to help you achieve exceptional organic performance.
Why is an Organic Social Media Marketing Strategy so Important?
In today’s bustling digital sphere, merely having a presence on social media platforms isn’t sufficient. To truly stand out, brands require a deliberate organic strategy that cultivates genuine engagement and loyalty.
Jenny Li Fowler, the Director of Social Media Strategy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and author of “Organic Social Media: How to Build Flourishing Online Communities,” emphasizes that without a strategic approach, social media marketers risk cluttering feeds and wasting efforts on chasing superficial metrics such as reach rather than resonance.
In 2024, organic community-building is paramount as it helps identify genuine supporters. Individuals who follow a brand out of sincere interest or passion form the foundation of a loyal community.
This core group offers valuable insights into their preferences and expectations, shaping smarter decisions and content strategies. Prioritizing organic community-building facilitates more meaningful connections in an era characterized by excessive noise and inauthenticity.
As a global brand, MIT places significant emphasis on staying at the forefront of people’s minds and disseminating its top scientific and technological innovations worldwide. Thus, nurturing authentic follower relationships is essential.
According to Jenny, their followers engage with one another to assist, share valuable resources, and foster a sense of community. They take pride in and are excited about their association with MIT. This organic loyalty and engagement are invaluable assets.
Jenny presents a replicable process focused on refining the mission, messaging, and responsive community management for strategic triumph on suitable social media platforms. This method anchors you and your teams to naturally cultivate what she terms “base fans” rather than endlessly pursuing new channels without retention.
The framework establishes consistency while also accommodating the evolution of platforms. Ultimately, Jenny emphasizes that the value of organic loyalty compounds in ways that artificial boosting seldom matches. She offers invaluable insights into crafting a prosperous social media strategy from scratch.
Organic Social Media Strategy Framework
After years of experience, Jenny has crafted a strategic framework known as the “6 Ms of Social Media” to steer her work. She views this as a repeatable process for crafting a robust, organic social media marketing strategy.
Step 1: Define Your Mission, Set Your Goals
First, define your mission — your goals for organic social media marketing. According to Jenny, it’s crucial to clearly state why you’re using social channels and what you aim to accomplish. Examples of potential missions include:
- Generating $50,000 in revenue in Q1 from a new product launch
- Creating loyal brand evangelists
- Educating people on challenges facing women in technology
As a social media marketer, your objective is to outline how to use social tactics to support broader business objectives. For example, identify the objective and then describe your plan for using social media to reach it. You may state, “Our goal is to generate $50,000 in revenue in Q1 from our new product launch,” about the revenue goal example. To promote this on social media, we’ll:
- Post 1 Instagram story per wee
- Conduct early product reviews with fans
- Record and post fan reactions weekly
- Launch a micro-influencer marketing campaign
- Reevaluate performance at the end of Q1
If your mission is to create loyal brand evangelists, your strategy could involve uplifting your customers so they actively promote your products and services. Tactics might include hosting weekly giveaways or amplifying your customers’ activities to foster deep loyalty and love for your brand.
Similarly, if your business aims to address a specific issue, such as educating people about challenges facing women in technology, your mission could involve featuring women leaders in tech.
If your company has a broad goal like “change the world” or “make the world better,” be specific about how you’ll support it through your social media presence.
Start by conducting a listening tour — engage with different internal teams and loyal external fans. Ask them about positive community impact initiatives or lesser-known company activities. This process uncovers hidden stories, according to Jenny.
Then, set goals for amplifying those stories on social media. For example, you can support your company’s mission of making the world a better place by promoting its free breakfast program for children in need.
Next, list social tactics to achieve your goal:
- Describe the breakfast program in a series on Instagram
- Highlight student narratives from the morning club
- Launch a fundraising campaign on Facebook to grow the program.
Rather than vague aspirations, focus on specific positive actions already underway. To spread such stories and their effects more broadly, make use of social media channels.
Whatever your purpose, it acts as a compass and a “North Star” for assessing upcoming prospects and demands. If someone asks you to promote a random event, you can easily decline if it doesn’t align with your stated mission. Over time, promoting disjointed content can make your overall social story messy. In other words, before you create anything, focus on your goal.
Step 2: Craft Compelling Messages
Next, meticulously craft your brand’s messaging. Every piece of content shared on your social media platforms contributes to the broader narrative you convey to your followers about your brand. Jenny emphasizes the importance of occasionally stepping back to view your feeds as a user would, rather than just posting content piece by piece.
For instance, Jenny ensures that MIT’s social media followers see various aspects such as students, culture, fun, labs, etc.—providing a comprehensive view of MIT rather than focusing solely on one aspect. She evaluates her feeds through a “3 scroll” lens, as people typically scroll through content three times before deciding whether to follow. To gauge your overall brand story, consider these questions:
- What story am I conveying to potential new followers in the first three scrolls?
- Am I showcasing diverse facets of my brand?
- Is my content both entertaining and engaging?
The key is to have a cohesive narrative that aligns with your goals. Instead of fixating on individual posts, assess your entire body of work to ensure it effectively supports your organic social media efforts.
For example, if your goals include highlighting more women at your company or raising awareness of diversity scholarships, evaluate whether your recent organic social media posts collectively reflect those priorities engagingly.
Additionally, viewing your feed as a user helps identify areas for improvement. For instance, Jenny noticed she inadvertently posted three black-and-white images in a row, prompting her to recognize the need for more visual variety and colour.
Jenny points out that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to posting frequency. What matters most is quality over quantity. Diverse posts that align with your goals and resonate visually create a memorable, impactful social narrative. Curating an engaging social profile involves understanding what resonates with your target audience.
Your messaging should focus on delivering the value your followers seek—it’s about them, not you. Followers want to know what you can offer them and how they can benefit from engaging with your brand.
Step 3: The Power of Process Management
The third step involves documenting your processes. To consistently implement an organic social strategy, it’s essential to outline the steps from idea creation to post-publishing that work best for your team.
Detailing your processes facilitates smooth handoffs in case of your absence. If unforeseen circumstances arise and you’re unavailable, your backups can seamlessly step in because you’ve already documented the playbook. This ensures everyone understands their roles, responsibilities, tools, and workflows.
Documentation also helps set expectations with internal partners. For instance, if someone requests a quick post, you can direct them to the process guide detailing when and how to submit content ideas.
Having an official playbook adds credibility and structure. It allows you to educate partners on optimal timelines for pitches and content needs. Furthermore, it scales your operation by enabling others to easily follow the blueprint.
Step 4: Evaluate Each Medium
Next, carefully assess which social media platforms align best with your organic content and target audience. Jenny emphasizes that audience demographics and content consumption norms vary across each platform. Therefore, it’s crucial to reimagine and optimize your content for each platform instead of simply repurposing the same posts everywhere.
Jenny advises against creating accounts on every platform just because they exist. Inactive accounts typically go unnoticed, so it’s essential to stop investing in strategies that aren’t effective. If you have dormant social media accounts with years of content, rather than deleting them, make a post announcing your activity on a new platform and encourage followers to join you there.
Quality should take precedence over quantity. Before establishing new accounts, evaluate each platform’s relevance and your capacity to maintain engagement.
For instance, Instagram predominantly features visual content. Before launching an Instagram account, ensure you have a consistent supply of vibrant, original images to share. Conversely, if your primary assets are blogs and research reports, a text-heavy platform like X/Twitter might be a better fit for your content strategy. Compelling messages won’t resonate if you can’t consistently produce suitable content for your chosen platforms.
According to Jenny, engaging content tends to transcend platforms. It’s common to see TikTok videos shared on Instagram Reels or receive YouTube shorts via direct message. If your content resonates with your audience, they will share it across various channels, amplifying its reach organically.
Step 5: Track and Revise Metrics
Selecting key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor your social media success is the next stage. Choose metrics (following, engagements, impressions, etc.) that support your objectives before publishing. Nonetheless, keep an eye out for whether the metrics you’ve selected provide useful information, and be prepared to modify them as necessary.
Focus on public engagement metrics like comments, shares, and likes to gauge what resonates with your target audience. These interactions indicate compelling content that prompts social media users to react.
Jenny compares these actions to votes indicating whether you’re delivering expected value. Numerous likes show an appetite for that format, comments indicate it sparked thoughts or feelings, and shares signify it deeply resonated. Establish engagement baselines by tracking interaction rates over time to understand your audience’s preferences.
If a post significantly outperforms your baselines, you’ve likely created something highly engaging. Conversely, underperformance suggests a miss. Let high action rates guide you in providing more of what your audience craves. Additionally, evaluate the sentiment of interactions—many comments could indicate a strong emotional response. Pay attention to feedback to iterate toward more resonant content.
While reach metrics have their place, engagement often takes precedence, depending on your success criteria. High reach might indicate broad exposure, but it doesn’t guarantee resonance or visibility. It’s essential to prioritize engagement over passive reach to truly connect with your community.
Driving meaningful engagement will naturally lead to increased reach and impressions over time, ensuring your content resonates with your audience and builds brand awareness effectively.
Step 6: Monitor Mentions, Comments, and Conversations
The final step is to monitor relevant conversations taking place on your social channels regarding your brand, products, or services. The job doesn’t conclude once you’ve hit “post.” Continuous monitoring enhances your metrics by directly assessing social conversations, comments, and mentions.
This real-time feedback enables you to stay attuned to your fans’ needs and evolving perceptions.
For monitoring, Jenny examines comments and mentions (what people say about your brand or products). While using social listening tools to supplement manual monitoring, setting aside time for spot checks offers valuable insights.
Thoroughly review comments on your content and take note of who responds to each one. Visit those profiles to gain further context. For instance, Jenny considers whether they’re students or community members and prioritizes their feedback accordingly. Also, analyze quote tweets or shares, delving into responses and exploring threads and sub-discussions.
Your target audience can provide valuable insights into their experiences and pain points. For example, after observing mixed reactions to Mother’s Day celebrations at MIT, Jenny chose to refrain from posting about Mother’s and Father’s Day.
Jenny also recommends checking broader discussions on platforms like Reddit and conducting Google searches. For instance, if you’re introducing a new hashtag, it’s wise to Google it first to ensure there are no unintended meanings.
Between platform analytics and public discussions, valuable insights are readily available.
Above all, Jenny’s framework cultivates the authentic human connections that organic social media was originally designed for. By implementing her process, any brand can nurture thriving communities that foster long-term loyalty.