The “social media utopia” for marketers seems to be slowly disappearing with its dying organic reach and lack of paid media. And with it, all of your efforts of becoming or finding influencers may be in big trouble.
My greatest cynicism stems from the Facebook apocalypse announced by Team Zuck recently – when they declared that the reach of Facebook pages would be restricted in an attempt at making Facebook more “connected.”
Those of you who have been following social and paid media closely, know that organic reach hasn’t declined overnight. The decline has been happening since 2014 – it’s just gotten crazier now. Some digital marketing agencies have even claimed that Facebook’s organic reach has gone as low as 2%.
If you’ve been wondering why your influencer marketing isn’t giving you the desired results, the reason may be the dying organic reach. Don’t believe me? Why don’t we test this hypothesis right here?
Organic Reach on Facebook
When you look at an influencer’s Facebook page, how can you be sure that their posts actually reach their followers? Let’s consider the Facebook page of Charles Orlando
He has almost 1.3 million followers on this page. But what about his real organic reach?
You can try to look at “public” facing engagement information
The 203 engagements and 59 shares only tell half the story. This would suggest 0.002% engagement. But using this data alone, you have no idea about how many people saw this post (real impressions) or how many people clicked through (another form of real engagement)
Before working with influencers – ask for this information. If they aren’t willing to share (most are) then that’s a red flag and look to work with another influencer. Using a software platform like Lumanu that lets you collaborate with your influencers we know that Charles Orlando’s Facebook posts have an average organic reach of 28K (2.5%) with 35K (2.7%) average real impressions. These are both right in line with larger Facebook pages indicating that he has a fairly high-quality audience.
His real average organic engagement (factoring in clicks) is closer to 750 engagements per post. When looking at the actual engagement rate it is important to remember that Facebook showed its content to 28K people so the engagement rate is really 750/28K = 2.7%, not 0.002%
This is the data you want to base your partnership around, and you can see there is a ton of opportunity to run paid media to amplify the content.
Organic Reach on Instagram
As for influencers’ organic reach on Instagram, let’s take a look at the profile of Karissa Pukas. She currently has 350k followers on Instagram.
A recent post in her feed has managed to garner 6.3k likes and 193 comments, even though it had been only up for a few hours as of the writing of this post.
Looking at the real reach and impression data, Karissa averages ~85K reach (33% of followers) a ~100K impressions (41% of follower count) per post. That is clearly much better than Facebook but it still feels like there opportunity to get her high-quality content in front of more of her followers and other targeted audiences.
The real question, is how to make your influencer campaigns more successful by expanding the reach of influencer content?
#1. Know Your Influencer’s Organic Reach and Engagement rate
Image via Twitter
In some cases, knowing just the engagement rate is fine. For example, let’s say you want to compare two influencers, they have roughly the same number of followers and their engagement metrics matter the most to you. Then you only need to analyze their engagement.
But how do you understand an influencer’s real organic reach?
One approach would be to ask them for their Facebook Business Manager screenshots or Instagram Analytics. This is something that most influencers are willing to provide and it’s a fair ask too. Definitely worth the request once you are serious about a paid media collaboration. It’ll give you an insight into how their posts actually perform. Here’s what an Instagram analytics snapshot of a micro-influencer might look like. Remember it’s important to look at the reach of recent posts to get the best idea of potential reach.
Image via Instagram
Once you begin to activate influencers at any sort of scale, collecting screenshots from your influencers becomes tedious. Either outsource this by working with an influencer agency to manage audience verification for you or turn to a software solution. In addition, it let’s brands amplify content on behalf of their influencers to reach more of their audience or similar audiences via FB Lookalike audience targeting.
Speaking of promoting your influencer’s content…
#2. Promote Your Influencer’s Content
I know what you must be thinking. I’ve already spent enough on influencers, do you really expect me to promote their posts too?
Actually, yes. If you truly want to beat the problem of poor organic reach. What you’ve paid for is the paid media to influence – which hasn’t diminished, only the organic reach of their posts. And if by promoting their posts you can get more visibility, then why not?
Facebook was smart enough to realize this quite early. They knew that brands would want to amplify their influencer’s content. So they launch branded content in August of 2017.
Image via Facebook
Facebook’s branded content makes it easier for you to promote your influencer’s content. Once an influencer tags you in their branded content, you can get access to post insights and promote it.
Later in 2017, Instagram also rolled out branded content. With Instagram’s branded content, you can track analytics of your influencer’s posts. However, unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t allow you to promote your influencer’s branded content (yet).
Here’s an example of such a post. You can recognize them by the “Paid partnership with” label that appears at the top of such posts.
Image via Instagram
A rudimentary way of boosting the organic reach of branded content on Instagram is to pay your influencers to promote them. Of course, there’s not much you can do here besides praying that they’ll hold up their end of the bargain.
The Benefits of Branded Content
- It makes it easier for you to keep track of your influencer’s performance and analyze their organic reach.
- If you’re not really satisfied with your influencer’s organic reach, you can promote their posts.
The Limitations of Branded Content
- The biggest disadvantage is that you can only promote the post to audiences you have access to. You cannot reach valuable influencer audiences (or lookalike audiences) with the boosted post. You can reach more people who are relevant to your brand but may not be familiar with the influencer. One way to deal with this is to ask your influencer to promote the content. The issue with this approach is access to data and running the optimizations to meet your objectives (e.g. clicks or conversions).
- Influencers can only share branded content they have created the content or are featured in the content. Here are some use cases for when an influencer can use branded content. This limits the influencer from sharing anything about the brand that’s not created by them.
Image via Facebook
One way of beating such limitations is to use influencer content amplification platforms. They can help you amplify the reach of your influencer’s content through their accounts.
We have seen over and over again that influencer marketing delivers exceptional ROI. But to make the most out of the high-quality content that is being produced through your influencer marketing campaigns, you need to work to give your influencer content a slight boost.
To get the most out of your campaigns, find influencers who have a decent organic reach. And, promote their content to maximize it to their audiences and beyond. You’ll surely get the results you’ve been aiming for.
Can you think of any other ways to combat the dying organic reach? Let us know in the comments below.