Organic marketing techniques to keep your brand visible in difficult times
When marketing budgets are tight, these tactics can help to make sure your brand doesn’t disappear
May 6, 2020
As businesses adjust to new ways of living and working, B2B marketers face a particular dilemma. It’s rarely been more important to protect your business’s bottom line, reassure and secure your customer base, and avoid your brand disappearing from view. However, the resources for doing so have rarely been more limited.
Businesses that are lucky to have budget available can see the current crisis as a marketing opportunity. Investing in advertising when others can’t increases your Share of Voice (SOV). Those able to do so can be confident that Share of Market (SOM) will follow as an economic recovery eventually arrives.
But what of the many B2B marketers who haven’t got the freedom to invest funds in future growth? If your colleagues face being furloughed and your business is in survival mode, then paid media budgets aren’t going to be your first priority. However, you still need a strategy for staying visible and getting messages in front of your audience.
An organic marketing moment
Part of the solution lies in the way those audiences are responding to the current situation. Social media engagement is rising. On LinkedIn, we tracked a 55% year-on-year increase in conversations among connections in March, and a 60% rise in content creation. A growing appetite for discussing content means a growing opportunity for organic marketing.
Put simply, organic marketing means amplifying the reach and impact of your content beyond the size of your media spend. It plays a major role in multiplying effectiveness for paid campaigns. However, it can also step up to fill the gap when paid campaigns aren’t an option. The principles are the same: building a foundation with a compelling social media presence, posting regular and relevant content that keeps you front-of-mind for your audience, joining the right discussions to grow your visibility, and activating the power of your networks to introduce your brand to wider audiences. As content sharing and discussion increases, the potential gains in reach and engagement grow too.
Even before the current crisis, organic marketing was playing an increasingly important role on LinkedIn. It was doing so for brands as diverse as TED Conferences (owner of the most followed LinkedIn Page), Teleperformance (judged to have the best LinkedIn Page of last year) and Chanel (for which 30,000 views on a video post is nothing out of the ordinary). However, with LinkedIn session times increasing by 22% every quarter, building an organic marketing platform is an equally valuable strategy for any brand – and any budget. There’s a lot of attention and sharing to go around.
The growth in organic marketing activities on LinkedIn have provided some robust insight into how to go about it. Here are the tactics and techniques that can help:
Build a holistic, compelling LinkedIn Page
Your LinkedIn Page is the foundation of any organic marketing strategy on our platform. It’s an always-on marketing asset that keeps you connected to your key audiences and provides a 360-degree view of your brand, products and culture. The insights and tools that come through a LinkedIn Page help you to know and grow your audience. They keep you plugged into relevant conversations happening on LinkedIn and make it easy to respond.
Audiences on LinkedIn want a deeper understanding of the businesses they encounter, which is why the most effective LinkedIn Pages tend to be those that showcase the different dimensions of an organisation. The ‘Life’ and ‘What We Do’ sections of your Page can be a particularly valuable asset for organic marketers. They’re an opportunity to push people to the forefront and humanise your brand at a time when audiences really value a sense of connection to others. Try to leverage every visual opportunity that your Page represents by using strong, original imagery.
Paying attention to detail helps to ensure that your Page is discoverable. LinkedIn data shows that Pages with complete information (description, name, logo, company type, industry, employee size, and location) get 30% more weekly views.
Use free audience insights to plan your strategy
Your LinkedIn Page equips you with a powerful range of free planning tools to align your organic marketing with the issues your audiences are talking about.
With the Content Suggestions feature, you’ll be able to define your target audience, and then access real-time insights on the subjects and articles that people with this profile are engaging with. You can choose whether these insights are generated from your Page’s followers or from the entire LinkedIn community. In this way, Content Suggestions plugs you into robust, LinkedIn-wide data even if the number of followers for your Page is still relatively small.
We’ve designed Content Suggestions to make the insights as actionable as possible for organic marketers. Besides the list of topics that your audience is engaging with, you also get a list of the top articles driving greatest engagement. It’s easy to review this content and then share it with a customised message giving your brand’s perspective.
At a time when the world’s attention is focused on one dominant issue, this granular perspective can be very valuable. It helps you to identify how your particular audiences are starting to think about the way forward – and what their priorities might be. This is a great basis for planning organic marketing. As businesses start to develop strategies for the next few months, aligning your approach to their thinking can have a big impact on your influence.
Post daily to multiply awareness and engagement
Brands that post content to their LinkedIn Page on a daily basis get 2x the engagement levels of those posting less frequently. They’re also the brands that are most successful at growing their follower numbers organically. Top publishers have seen an average of 120% growth in their follower base.
Posting regularly works because it gives your community content to engage with and discuss. This keeps your brand present in their feeds, which primes them to notice and respond to your content in the future. It also puts your content in front of their wider networks on a regular basis, which has a direct impact on awareness and perceptions. Research by LinkedIn and Altimeter Group has shown that companies that are actively engaged on social media are 40% more likely to be perceived as competitive.
Maintaining a daily publishing cadence can feel daunting – but there are a range of techniques that can help. Try slicing up your business’s thinking into short-form posts that share a single, supportive insight or tip. Over time, this will translate your content into a broader range of engagement opportunities. You’ll also be able to supplement your own content by sharing and commenting on others’ posts. Checking your Content Suggestions regularly will give you a good supply of content to curate in this way.
The more content you post, the more insight you’ll be able to generate about the formats and topics that engage your audiences. You can use your Page’s Analytics tab to track the performance of your updates, and see the types of audiences that are following you.
Leverage brand codes, visuals and video
Increase the impact of what you post by thinking visually. Try to use striking, original imagery where you can – and invest some time in translating data and insights into compelling infographics. Where possible, aim to include video in the mix of content that you share – it’s 5x more likely to drive engagement than other formats. You’ll find some helpful tips for creating video content from home in this post.
To get the full benefit of organic marketing, it’s important that your audiences recognise the brand they’re engaging with. Try to find a way to use brand codes within your imagery and video, while keeping the content itself looking distinct. That way, people will understand that they’re engaging with new content – but they’ll also understand who it’s from.
Add social architecture to posts to increase their reach
On LinkedIn, as elsewhere, applying social media best practice to your posts helps to increase their reach. It makes your content more discoverable and motivates others to share.
When you share an update, you can mention anyone for whom it’s particularly relevant by typing @ followed by their name – and then choosing them from the drop-down list that LinkedIn generates for you. You might mention an influencer on the topic that you’d like to engage with, say thanks to third-party experts that you’ve quoted in your content, or credit the authors of posts that you’re curating for your audience. Whatever the reason, a mention highlights your post to those with a reason to share it – and can help put your brand in front of their networks.
Use hashtags to make your brand a part of the communities springing up around particular topics. Adding a hashtag to your update copy is simply a case of typing # followed directly by the copy for your tag, with no spaces or punctuation. Before adding your hashtag, you can test it out by typing it into the search bar on LinkedIn, seeing how many people are following it, and the types of content they’re engaging with. You’ll find more inspiration for relevant hashtags in the influential posts identified by Content Suggestions, and in the storylines that LinkedIn curates each day, which appear at the top right of your home screen.
Empower your employee voices
Employees are the greatest asset an organic marketing strategy can have – and this is true no matter how many employees your business has. A multiplier effect kicks in when the people who work for you start sharing content across their networks. Their combined reach is typically 10x that of your business alone. A good starting point for activating this potential is to click the option to notify your employees when you post a new update on your Page.
Your employees are a great amplification channel – but they are also far more. When they create and share content, they provide you with an authentic, trusted voice – and they demonstrate the depth of expertise your business has. Encourage your people to post when they can and in the format that suits them best, whether that’s organic video, short updates or long-form posts. Helping your business leaders to create in-depth content is particularly valuable. They’ll often have large networks that you can leverage – and if they don’t, posting content regularly will help to build them.
A straightforward way to encourage employees is to make sure that your LinkedIn Page shares what they post. Amplifying your employees’ content raises their profile, builds their networks – and encourages other employees to share and post in turn.
The ongoing value of organic
Effective organic marketing adds value for any business – at any time. The foundations that you build while marketing budgets are being squeezed won’t just help to keep your brand visible now. When the recovery comes, they’ll continue to multiply the impact of the paid media campaigns you’re then able to run. Investing time in an organic strategy for tough times means investing in future growth and profitability as well.