An introduction to organic social media marketing for startups

When you’re a company first starting out and money is tight, it can feel almost impossible to know how to grow your business without the big bucks being invested in marketing. 

In a world flooded by social media content, how do you stand out from the ever-growing crowd, with minimal expenses? The answer is quite simple: Organic social marketing. No, we’re not talking about organic fruit and veg… but a simple, cost-effective solution to your marketing needs. So cost-effective, that you don’t actually need to spend any money to start seeing results, unlike paid social marketing.

What is organic social marketing?

Organic social marketing occurs naturally as you develop your brand. Posting on social media frequently, engaging with your followers and curating mailing lists are all examples, and this blog post itself is organic social marketing too!

Organic social marketing is a great way for you to utilise the free tools that social media offers, without spending a single penny until you’re ready - and we’re here to give you the lowdown.

Getting started with organic

Now that you know what organic social marketing is on paper, you’re probably wondering how to level up your social media and implement organic into your business plan. The truth is, it’s probably not far from what you’re already doing.

If your business is posting on social media consistently already, you’re off to a great start, but there are a few things to consider if you’re actually serious about making the most of your social channels, growing your business and seeing real results.

Choose the right platform

It’s important to recognise that not every social media platform is going to be the right fit for your business. Let’s say you’ve just opened a start-up bakery. You’re more likely to perform better and see more growth on a visual-based platform like Instagram or TikTok where you can showcase your cakes and the creation of your baking masterpieces, rather than on a business-focused platform such as LinkedIn. Social media should be enjoyable, so find the platforms that speak to your brand and have fun with what you’re posting! People love to see personality shine through alongside your skills and services.

Social Media Channels

Add your branding

Once you’ve found your platforms, you need to consider your branding and how to incorporate your logo/colour scheme into what you’re posting. A coherent and visually aesthetic Instagram is more likely to appeal to new followers than a random assortment of colours, and it will also help get your brand recognised.

@viceuk, @mindcharity and @im_ohne are great, diverse examples of companies who know how to incorporate their branding into social media, making sure that their colour schemes, fonts and content are coherent with their branding and aesthetically tailored to their followers

If you don’t have the budget for a graphic designer to jump in and get you started, you can head over to free online platforms like Canva to mock up a brand kit for free within minutes!

Hashtags are NOT a waste of time!

You’ve got the visuals, you’ve got the posts, but how do you actually reach people?

You’ve probably been told that hashtags are spammy, and to avoid using them if you want to look effortless and cool, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Using hashtags can expand your organic reach by a significant amount if you’re using them in the right way (also - not using hashtags really makes you look uncool because nobody will be seeing your posts!).

Focus on finding your niche, and staying away from too many common hashtag cliches like #cake and #baking. These hashtags are way too broad, connected to millions of posts, and ranking highly for these hashtags is next to impossible. If you do your research and find more specific, less competitive hashtags with a few thousand posts like #ukbakery or #smallbakerybusiness, you’re much more likely to see an increase in reach and engagement with your posts, and subsequently your follower count.

You could even create your own custom hashtag that you can display in your social profiles for your customers to use, resulting in user-generated content (or UGC for short) that you can repost. Your own hashtag = free publicity!

Awesome examples of this are Apple’s #ShotoniPhone, #ShareACoke by Coca Cola, and New Look’s #ThatNewLookFeeling.

(Tip: Each platform has a recommended amount of hashtags per post, so make sure you’re not going over - or they won’t work efficiently!)

Connect with your audience

You have a product or service that is in desperate need of a consumer. How do you make sure that people are going to choose you over your competitors? By connecting with your audience. 

Social Media Audience

Make sure your content connects you with your audience by checking the following points:

  • Is the content relevant to your startup?

If you’re a bakery, it probably doesn’t make much sense to review new movies coming out - unless you’re a cinema-themed bakery, making a Scream (2022) themed cake. Think about whether what your posting makes sense or not - will your next post alienate, or engage your followers?

  • Is the content visually on brand?

Remember earlier, when we mentioned creating a brand kit? This will be a lifesaver to refer to when creating your social posts. If you create engaging content that looks aesthetically pleasing and on-brand, your audience will thank you.

  • Does your content speak to your target audience?

Consider exploring buyer personas and always keep them in mind when writing copy for social posts. A buyer persona is a fabricated account from your target audience based on their interests, pain points, age and other attributes. To learn more about this, why not download our free 5-step Marketing Plan? We’ll talk you through it step by step.

Be realistic with your expectations

If you’re expecting thousands of followers instantly from implementing organic social marketing only, you should probably reconsider your expectations. Although organic social marketing is a great pathway for smaller businesses to follow, unless you’re a Kardashian, you’re more likely to see a small and steady growth from organic interactions rather than waking up to 20k followers and a blue verification tick. Remember, slow and steady wins the race;  with proper, organic social marketing you’ll be sure that your followers are interacting because they're interested in what you’re doing, not because they’re spambots telling you about sexy singles in your area. If you’re looking for rapid growth, you might want to consider investing in some paid campaigns to reach your specific goals in less time.

What’s the next step?

Picture this: You’ve seen the results come flooding in - your follower count has gone from 20 to 200, your leads have increased by 20%, you’ve got more sign-ups on your mailing list than you imagined at the beginning. Now what?

The next natural step would be to invest in paid marketing, but when you’re a bootstrapped startup this is not always the answer just yet.

Boosting your posts is a great way to soft-introduce paid advertisements across social media, without spending too much money. You can tailor the post you’d like to boost to your target audience, and you can invest as much or as little money as your budget will allow. Using this tool is great for startups as you can set your own goals, such as increasing video views, post engagement, link clicks to your website or for reach and impressions.

Moving forward

If you’re looking to move forward with your business, organic social marketing is a great way to reach your startup to new audiences, with minimal expenses. In comparison to paid social marketing, you’ll save a fortune - but don’t forget that paid social marketing is an avenue that should definitely be explored when the time is right for you and your startup business. 

Remember, we’re always here to help if you’ve got any questions - why not check out our other blog posts, or drop us a line: 

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