Perhaps no statistic shows more about the lack of familiarity with modern social media best practices than this: For every $5 spent on social media content creation, only $1 is spent on social media content distribution.
Social media platforms and their algorithms have evolved over the years — but too many marketers and organizations have not evolved along with them. This has led to some false assumptions in marketers’ minds about social media content consistency, cadence, distribution, and effectiveness that are simply not true.
Upon review of this article, you will have the information you need to improve how you distribute your marketing funds across your social media budget. Rather than automatically devoting vast amounts of your budget toward content creation, you’ll be able to better understand the value that comes from distribution methods that allow for your content to live and breathe in new ways.
5 social media content distribution ideas
Our list of ways to focus on distribution will start with simple and inexpensive options and move toward more involved options related to media buying. However, in each instance, your ability to reach people with your content will increase exponentially.
1. Engage with your social media audience
According to an Edelman report, more than 40 percent of people say that what a brand says in its online conversations is more important than the copy that it publishes as part of its advertising efforts. This means that the authentic nature of your brand will be judged by the comments you leave for responders and others who are seeking to know more about your company or its products on social media.
Not only will people judge your brand from your online conversations, but the social platforms themselves will serve your content to more individuals if you are actively engaging with your audiences. What you think might be a simple response from your brand to a single consumer actually could be seen by many — particularly if the comment garners additional likes or comments from others.
Although responding to user comments in any form is a positive step for improving content distribution, responding quickly is an even better step toward building relationships and informing social media algorithms that users want to engage with you on social media.
A SproutSocial study provides compelling information about why it’s important to engage with your social media audience in a timely manner.
- Two in five individuals expect that a brand will reply to them on social media within an hour of the individual originally reaching out. Similarly, nearly 80 percent of people believe that a brand should respond within 24 hours.
- Brands across many industries not only struggle with providing timely responses — they struggle in responding in any way whatsoever. The industries with the top response rates (Legal, Real Estate, Finance and Banking, Recruiting and Staffing, and Healthcare) all respond less than 30 percent of the time. Remember, these are the top industries. The bottom industry (Sports) responds less than 10 percent of the time.
- More customers and potential customers are relying on social media for support. Nearly half of brand customer support teams have seen an increase of more than 50 percent inbound volume during the COVID-19 pandemic — with social media being a major player.
Organic social media reach is always the easiest to achieve when your potential social media audience decides to come to your account directly. If users feel confident they will receive a response from you, it’s more likely they will view your content while leaving a comment. If a user has little or no faith their comment will ever be seen or will receive a reply, they may not view your content at all.
2. Repurpose and reuse old content
Before we discuss the concept of reusing old content, first consider the following:
- The average organic reach for a Facebook post is about 5 percent. This means that if you have 1,000 followers, only about 50 of them will see a given post organically on Facebook.
- A good reach rate on Instagram for larger brands is 15 percent of its existing audience. This number jumps to more than 30 percent for smaller brands.
- The average organic reach of a tweet is about 3.6 percent.
Considering these numbers, it’s likely that most of your audience will never see your organic content. Basically, if more than 15 percent of your existing audience sees posts organically on any platform, you are doing better than most of the world.
It makes sense to republish and reuse existing content because there is a high likelihood your audience never saw it in the first place.
Repurposing content is often more involved than publishing the same message on the same channels in the same ways. Some of the best repurposed content reimagines the content in different ways for different channels — but allows the core of the message or creative element to shine through.
Some of the ways your brand might repurpose content include:
- Share the exact same piece of content more than once. Like we said earlier, most people will never see the organic post you recently shared. This means that your organic Facebook post from six months ago can easily be shared again today since most of your audience never saw it in the first place.
- Use videos in reimagined ways on separate channels. A video originally developed as a long-form piece of content for YouTube could be cut in different ways for other channels — including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
- Take a look at the questions people are asking on social media. Then take a look at your responses. Often, you have already developed content in the responses that can be shared more broadly as posts or stories.
3. Explore niche channels and delivery tools
Yes, Facebook is the largest social media network and Instagram is not far behind. This means there is a lot of competition on both platforms. It’s possible you may find more value reaching people with your social media content by focusing on the audience you want to reach. You’ll also want to identify where they spend their time online outside of the major social media platforms.
- Facebook Groups: Let’s assume your company has a product that will be particularly beneficial for a specific group of people. You often may be able to publish the same content that you publish on your Facebook page within a Facebook group. You do not have to be the person who created the group in order to publish in many types of groups on Facebook. So, for example, if your company develops tools, some of the actual Facebook groups in which you can publish content and engage with people about your tools include “Construction Pros,” “Building Construction,” or “Home Decor and DIY On a Budget.”
- Medium: If your company is looking for opportunities to promote thought leadership within your industry, Medium might be an out-of-the-box option. The popular site allows for longer-form content that is distributed to audiences you might not normally reach on your traditional social media channels.
- Industry-specific social media platforms: ActiveRain is a social media community largely for those who work in the real estate industry. Behance is a social network for creative professionals. Sermo is a healthcare social media platform. You may not want to create content specifically for ActiveRain Behance, Sermo, or other similar social platforms, but if you work in the specific industries, some of the content you develop for other platforms very well may work well here, too.
4. Boost existing posts
The early days of existence for any social media platform seem to yield the best opportunities for marketers to reach people with content organically. However, as time goes on and algorithms become more sophisticated, your ability to reach followers organically with your content decreases. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all examples of social platforms that used to have a chronological timeline that was retired in favor of an interest-based timeline determined by algorithms.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, you won’t reach the vast percentage of your followers on social media if you simply rely on organic posting. The good news is that you can use boosting tactics and techniques to enhance your outcomes.
If you plan to develop a strategy to boost your Facebook posts to improve your social content distribution, consider the following:
- Associate a goal with your boosted posts. Obviously, a boosted post will allow more people to see your content. However, you also can choose specific goals to align with your boosted posts. For example, you can use a boosted post to get more eyes on a recent video or to facilitate more messages and chats.
- Boost posts that are performing well organically. You will get more bang for your buck by boosting posts that are already performing well. No matter how much money you spend on a boosted post, you can’t buy yourself into relevancy if the content doesn’t prove to be engaging organically.
- Consider boosting different types of posts. Evergreen posts often perform well when boosted, but you should not boost evergreen posts exclusively. Try boosting some posts that are more timely as well. Also consider how boosted videos perform compared to boosted photos, links, or other types of content.
- Know your audience options. Boosting a post allows you to be more deliberate in identifying the audiences you most want to reach. You can target boosted posts on Facebook by location, demographics, behavior, interests, and connections.
5. Develop ad spend strategies
Some brands have embraced the idea that social media is a pay-to-play medium and that organic reach isn’t what it once was. For example, Nike focuses much more on ads than it does on organic content. It dark posts most of these ads. In fact, the brand has bought in so much to social media ads that it can go months (or years) without publishing an organic post on its Facebook account. Apple employs a similar tactic on Facebook, opting to use the social media behemoth as an ad platform rather than a platform for organic reach.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and virtually all other social media platforms have robust advertising tools. These tools allow brands and organizations to reach social media users with content in ways that are much more cost-effective than continuing to develop and publish new organic content day after day.
When developing your social media ad spend strategies, consider the following:
Develop your ads for different people. The beauty of ads is that they can be precisely targeted to different groups. If you publish the same social media ad for an 18-year-old male student in California and a 72-year-old retired female in Maine, you probably aren’t thinking through your content creation with optimized distribution in mind.
Focus on one call to action. It can be tempting to include a couple of different calls to action, but doing so will simply create confusion for your intended audiences.
Keep your ads short and valuable. There are no guarantees that anybody is going to stick with your social ads very long, so clearly communicate your value quickly in the copy or video.
Test your ads against themselves. A-B test your ads to see which most resonate with your target audiences. Once you know which ads perform best, focus on the distribution of the ads that are most likely to reach your audiences.