Organic Marketing: If You Build It…Will They Come?
I recently led a social media challenge for my online community. It got me thinking about organic marketing and the early days of any online business.
Once you press “Publish” on your website or get your LinkedIn profile going, everything feels a bit more real, doesn’t it? It’s sooo thrilling!
Then…it’s terrifying. You think, “Holy Crap! Now what?”
You’ve built this thing - your beautiful product, your fantastic service - but that’s not all there is.
The task of “getting the word out” begins.
That means a marketing strategy, which means a marketing budget, which means…“Holy Crap! Now what?”
A 2020 study showed that over 67% of small to mid-sized businesses feel hobbled by a limited marketing budget. And if you’re a solopreneur, a lone consultant, a person running a brand by yourself - pay-for-play campaigns can be a financial sinkhole.
So, before you go into debt on advertising, I want you to consider the leverage of free, organic marketing.
No. This has nothing to do with farmstand vegetables or hand-gathered eggs.
Organic marketing is the strategy of using free online content to pump up brand awareness and generate leads.
This can mean blog posts, guest posting on other sites, case studies, interviews, and – most of all - social media.
Organic Marketing Is Free - It’s Still an Investment
For those of you sighing with relief right now, thinking, “Yes! There’s a hack!” I have crappy news. Organic marketing isn’t magic. It’s not some free shortcut to steal the attention of your ideal users.
And for those of you freaking out, thinking organic marketing is going to dominate your online life - relax.
Organic marketing through social media isn’t about posting every time you clear your throat. There’s an investment of time, yeah, but it’s a reasonable, manageable, pretty predictable investment.
In this blog, I want to show you how - in less than an hour a day - you can create solid inbound sales through some basic organic marketing principles.
We’ll talk about how to get the algorithm on your side, create online goodwill, and where your ideal clients will eventually come from.
Train the Algorithm for Organic Reach
With organic marketing, you’re looking to create a snowball effect.
You start with just a handful of actions, roll them out consistently, and your “snowball” slowly picks up momentum. The key to that snowball is engagement.
Vigorous engagement trains the algorithm to see that you’re there - and that you matter.
And I don’t mean getting others to engage with you.
Start with generously, consistently engaging with other people’s posts.
Look, in an organic marketing strategy, you have to think of your online presence as a virtual newsstand. Your newsstand - at the moment - is in the middle of nowhere. No roads lead to you. No foot traffic. Nothing!
So how are people going to engage with you? You need roads! The best way to do that is to build the roads yourself.
That’s really what organic marketing is - building roads so people can easily wander by and see what you’ve got.
How do you build these roads?
Engage with other people’s posts. Do this first - before you do anything. The algorithm of every single social platform rewards engagement. So go to other people’s posts and give them some love. The algorithm will start helping you out - if it sees you’re making connections happen.
All it takes is 30 minutes to start. Or as I like to call it,10-10-10.
The 10-10-10 Formula
So. How big a dent in your day is training the algorithm going to make?
Not much. Maybe 30 minutes in the morning, and a few short check-ins throughout the day.
It’s a simple formula of 10-10-10.
First, you engage for 10 minutes on other people’s posts.
Then you do 10 minutes of posting on your page.
And finish up with another 10-minute commenting spree on other people’s posts.
This is going to do two things. It’s going to tell the algorithm you’re active. And it will tell your network that you’re a positive and generous presence in their feed.
Your Social Media Strategy: Give
So that’s the assignment - really. That’s the bulk of what you do to build an organic marketing snowball. First you just…give.
Every day, get on your preferred platform - LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever. Set a timer for 10 minutes and be authentically generous on other people’s posts.
Did someone get a promotion? Tell ‘em “Way to go!”
Did someone lose a job? Send them some encouragement.
Cheer their birthdays, laugh at their jokes, exchange pet photos.
Don’t sell them anything. Don’t try to be a genius or an expert. Don’t construct something to blow their socks off.
Just show up. Let the algorithm and the community see that you’re dependably there for them.
Like a Clock
Be yourself. But if “being yourself” means playing loose with your schedule - you should definitely push back on that when you’re building your social media snowball.
Organic marketing rewards consistency. So it’s better to do a little every day - like clockwork. Don’t try to binge on it Monday then tap out for a few days.
Make this like brushing your teeth. A habit. That’s how to growl your reach.
Don’t Leave People Hanging
The last point I want to make clear is that your 30-minute pop-in to your feed isn’t the finish line. There’s just a bit more to your organic marketing day.
Later in the day, make a point to circle back. Respond to the engagement you’ve gotten while away. Don’t leave them hanging.
Let’s face it. It’s the worst kind of host that starts a conversation, then just walks away. It’s not a great marketing strategy either.
Don’t leave with no closure. Choose just a couple more times to drop in on your post and respond.
I really recommend a timer here too. Safeguard your schedule when you go on social. Organic marketing becomes expensive when you waste your life scrolling on it pretending it’s “productivity.”
Check-in on your posts. Make sure people feel heard and seen. Then…be done.
Quantity Brings Quality or The Kevin Bacon Effect
I know I talk constantly about “ideal clients.” But when you’re building your organic marketing snowball - you don’t need to be that persnickety. Just chat through your feed.
This is a quick, generous, and easy spree of comments. Just interact with the posts that you find interesting enough.
And then have some faith about what the algorithm - and each person’s network - will provide.
Everyone is connected, more or less, online. We’re all, basically, Kevin Bacons. So when you intersect with each post - you’re going to also intersect with that person’s network. Somewhere in that universe, you’ll find ideal candidates.
So, while I want you to only work with ideal clients, I want you to welcome all into your organic marketing.
Keep up your end of the engagement. Let the organic marketing gods do the rest.
Satisfy the Robot, but Post Like a Human
Because organic marketing has the word “marketing” in it, you may be tempted to use every post to make a pitch. Don’t do that.
Be warm, be open, be you. Just because you’re signaling to an algorithmic robot doesn’t mean you have to act like you’re one too. Post like an effing human.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by what you see online. You might get the idea that you need some extreme idea or perfect hair and abs. You need to go viral, right? To make organic marketing pay?
Pleeeeeez…don’t worry about that BS.
Just let people into your world. Give them something honest to respond to. Drive their curiosity with questions. Give them ideas to comment on and a human to cheer for.
In your posts, put forward a mix of business and just…your life. Give a positive but honest glimpse behind the scenes. Let them see your desk and your dog’s Halloween costume.
And look - brace yourself. There will be people who won’t connect with you. That’s fine. That’s good.
Organic marketing creates silos of useful connections. Just make it clear who you are. Be consistent. Be there for them. And let the snowball do the rest.
Did you set your specific goals? Do these goals involve taking your passion and creating a profitable business out of it? I could be the mentor for you.