Playing the Long Game on Social Media

We live in a world fueled by instant gratification. So when someone suggests you be patient and play the long game, it might require some convincing. This post makes the case for playing the long game in your approach to organic reach on social media – with two specific platforms: YouTube & LinkedIn.

Picking your platform

When considering the best social media platform for your business, the first question often asked is, “Where does your customer hang out?” By considering the demographic profile of a platform’s users, and aligning it with your known best customers (your primary target audience), a case can usually be made for narrowing the choice down to one or two platforms. From there, you might consider the types of posts and content that can be shared, and how that lines up with your creative vision and objectives.

But there’s an additional question which often is not asked: Where is organic reach the strongest?

Consider audience reach

Of course a strong case can be made for the type of content driving this response. For example, we know that reels on Instagram are based on a discovery algorithm, where the content goes out beyond your followers, and can in fact blow up if viewers give it updraft. This is much the same as TikTok, where the number of followers you have does not dictate the reach of your content. We also know that video in general, posted natively on all platforms, is given a longer green light in the algorithm for organic reach.

In search of organic reach

But all of this is chasing fleeting exposure, ultimately at the mercy of algorithms which could change in the future. What about evergreen organic? Is competing with less noise in the feed possible anymore?

Yes, it is. And the solution is right under our nose on two familiar platforms – LinkedIn and YouTube

The case for LinkedIn

On LinkedIn only 2% of users are content creators. That means for every 100 people who have an account and are active on the platform, only 2 people actually post content. The rest read, comment and share other’s stuff. For context, 87% of users on Instagram are content creators. There, for every 100 active Instagram users, 87 are creating content and posting regularly. What this means for LinkedIn is that if you post content, you have a much better chance at being seen in the feed by many, simply because LinkedIn needs good content to keep the feed interesting.

Make content engaging, and your reach can explode on LinkedIn. Further, each time someone comments on your post, all of THEIR followers are notified about the comment, increasing the reach and likelihood of more exposure, and comments compounding. Plus, comments on posts push the original post to the top of the feed again. This is why a post can actively live on for months as new people discover it. There is no other platform that does that for you. Full stop.

Of course LinkedIn only makes sense if your audience is there. For B2B businesses, it’s a no brainer. But if you’re B2C it is also a solid choice, especially if your target customer is an educated professional. Readers there linger much longer with interesting content, and the algorithm appears to not penalize links off platform, provided the post generates meaningful discussion and comments. The key to remember is, those educated professionals are there because of their work, but they are consumers across many categories – automotive, travel, real estate, education, to name just a few.

While users may or may not be on LinkedIn specifically looking for your product or service, repeated exposure and reminders about what you do and who you serve, do not go unnoticed. The key is regular and sustained effort – posting daily, but also commenting on at least 10 other posts in your business niche and interests. Plus having a “spiky point of view” certainly doesn’t hurt. Being a little controversial to get attention, not saying what everyone else is saying, and being articulate also help. I’ve seen LinkedIn work time and again with this approach. My own business is a solid example.

The case for YouTube

YouTube has 2.5 billion users per month, second only to Facebook with 2.9 billion. But the vast majority of those users are viewers, not creators. Since YouTube needs content to keep viewers in the feed (and exposed to ads), they organically push out content when it is first uploaded. As views increase, they reward good content with expanded reach. The impact can multiply quickly if they serve it to a good audience initially. But they will also keep trying different audience parameters in an effort to get you more views. And sometimes there will be a spike later due to search. Essentially, they rely on content being “upvoted by viewers response.”

Because people are often in “search mode” trying to learn about something, or in “entertain me mode” on YouTube, content fulfilling these promises can do well. Because Google owns YouTube, videos rank in search, and will be served up organically based on how well video content satisfied viewers search terms in the past, and how actively it was viewed. It’s for this reason that a video can continue to reach thousands of people indefinitely – essentially evergreen marketing, when paired with an approach to capture those leads through linking to your website, landing page offer, and email capture in the description below the video.

While this effect is at play for my personal FiveminuteMarketing YouTube channel, it’s most dramatic for my CarryOnQueen YouTube channel. How else could some videos achieve 1000 X more views than channel subscribers? Video embedded within a website will also cause the website content to rank higher in a Google search – not a bad organic and evergreen marketing outcome.

Again, YouTube only makes sense if you are motivated to create video as part of your content strategy. I hesitate to say you should only be on the platform if your customer is there, since given the huge use and broad demographics, I’d be certain your customer is already there, and in vast enough numbers to justify the effort.

Pick one & do it well

As with all marketing strategy though, there are only so many minutes in the day. The best social media approach is the one which can be sustained over time. But wouldn’t it also be nice for all that sustained effort to also have a lasting impact over time? I always suggest to clients that they focus on one or two platforms, and do them well. And if they are wanting organic reach and evergreen marketing, I often suggest these two platforms – curiously overlooked in what is often a frenzy to show up on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a strategy around LinkedIn or YouTube?


Mary Charleson

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