Organic reach: How do you boost yours? It’s one of those things that you might find to be a mystery, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Today we’re talking to Rebekah Radice, a social media strategist and the Chief Marketing Officer of Post Planner. With her help and expertise, Post Planner managed to double their Facebook organic reach.
Rebekah has one of the top 10 social media blogs for 2015 and 2016, according to Social Media Examiner. She’s the author of the e-book, Shine Online, and she has been featured on NBC, Social Media Today, Steam Feed, Maximize Social Business, and others. She’s also a keynote speaker and is passionate about educating entrepreneurs and future business leaders.
Some of the topics that you’ll hear discussed today include:
- Some information about Post Planner, as well as details on what Rebekah’s position as CMO entails.
- The biggest challenge with Facebook that marketers struggle to resolve.
- How Post Planner has achieved such great success with Facebook, and why organic growth is their main focus.
- How having big, crazy goals and a narrow focus contributed to Post Planner’s success.
- The importance of visual marketing and letting your personality shine through in your content.
- Rebekah’s advice for marketers who want to improve their Facebook organic reach.
Quotes by Rebekah:
- “There is no need to have a huge budget. There’s no need to have a huge team.”
- “We weren’t just talking about the things that people were interested in, but about problems we could help them solve.”
- “There’s room [in content marketing] for everybody to inject a little piece of personality, your sense of humor or who you are and what you do.”
Nathan: Facebook Organic Reach, it’s one of those unicorns marketers love to chase, but does boosting your organic reach have to be a mystery? Hey, I’m Nathan from CoSchedule and on this episode of the Actionable Content Marketing Podcast, you’re going to learn how Post Planner doubled their Facebook Organic Reach with a little advice from their Chief Marketing Officer, Rebekah Radice. While you’re going to learn a few of the tactics that have worked really well for Post Planner, the main lesson lies on their strategy. Rebekah and her team rock the jobs to be done methodology, a framework that helps them share the right content to build the right audience. I’m going to let Rebekah share the details. Let’s check this out.
Hey Rebekah, thanks a lot for chatting with me today.
Rebekah: Oh, my pleasure. So excited to be here.
Nathan: We are super excited to have you. I guess just diving into it, I want to know, could you just, from your own perspective, explain what is Post Planner.
Rebekah: Sure. Post Planner is a tool that basically helps any business, any entrepreneur, brand, agency get predictable and what we call mind boggling results on social media.
Nathan: I love it. Mind boggling is a great word.
Rebekah: It’s a fun word, I just like saying it.
Nathan: The tool is really designed to help really boost social media engagement. I’m just kind of wondering in your role as Chief Marketing Officer, what does that all entail at Post Planner?
Rebekah: As I said, it doesn’t matter what size of company you are, you could be a one man shop, you could be a 500 person company. The idea is that we give your team full social media support. That is through data science, and that data science in our algorithm is what you are talking about that increases the level of interaction, the level of engagement in your content and it’s all based off of predictability.
Being able to look at content and know that it’s got a proven track record, that it’s got a history of performing well already across social media and knowing that instead of having to bounce all over the internet like I think we’re so often doing these days trying to curate great content, instead of that, you can run any source of content through Post Planner and immediately see through our star rating system exactly how well that’s performed. With that, you can make that determination that, okay, well, if that’s performed well in the past, I can assume it’s going to do well for me.
Nathan: Yeah. It sounds like that’s something that we like to do a lot at CoSchedule too is, do something just long enough to be able to get some data, understand if we should repeat that sort of thing or not. You guys are kind of making a tool that takes that guess work out of the equation.
Rebekah: That’s exactly right. Rather than having to worry about if I post this is my audience going to like it or are they going to react to it, is it interesting to them. Instead, you can take a look at maybe a blog post or a Facebook post and you can see the exact page that that was shared on, you can see the level of interaction that they got and with that you can make a very solid determination as to, okay, there’s a lot of similarities.
For example, CoSchedule Post Planner, we’re very similar in our audience, in the content that we’re putting out there. We could look at the type of content that you’re sharing on your Facebook page and we could see that, whoa, you’re just getting a huge amount of interaction and engagement on a particular type of content. We might want to test that out with our audience assuming that we have a very similar audience to yours. With that in mind, their appetite for that content is probably going to be pretty similar on our page as it is on yours.
Nathan: Yeah. That’s really smart. Look at someone who is sharing content similar to you. The tool behind the scenes that you guys are building is something that I have always really liked and have dabbled in just a little bit with trying to make sure that we’re sharing the sort of content that gets that sort of engagement.
I guess I’ll just dive a little bit deeper into this topic that we want to talk about today. I know that at Post Planner, you guys do tons of different marketing projects to actually promote and sell that tool. You guys have really awesome blogs, you guys are doing twitter chats, webinars, podcasts like this one and of course there’s the Facebook engagement site which is where we’re going to chat through a lot today. I’m wondering what is the biggest challenge that you’ve seen marketers struggling with to resolve with Facebook?
Rebekah: Facebook is constantly changing, right? Everyday it feels as if there’s something new you need to learn, something new you need to keep up with. I think the biggest challenge that we hear today, we heard yesterday, a month ago, three years ago, and I think it’s going to continue to be a trend is it’s just getting seen, getting their content seen, getting found, getting that engagement on Facebook. Whether it’s organic reach where you’re seeing your numbers dwindling or you’re feeling as if you’re getting lost in the noise.
I was reading an article by Neil Patel and he was saying that there are over 3 million links shared on Facebook every hour these days. When you look at the data like that, it can start to feel a little overwhelming. For us, that’s really the need or the problem we’re trying to solve every day for our users is how do you get over that hurdle? How do you get yourself out there, get yourself out in front of your competition and how do you consistently create or curate content that allows you to do that day in and day out and connect with a wide audience, connect that with your audience so that you’re training them to come back and engage and interact with your content. Like I said, I just don’t think that engagement, organic reach being able to be seen or found by your audience is a problem that is going to go away anytime soon.
Nathan: I know that you guys have been really hard at work to resolve that same challenge for your own team at Post Planner, could you give me some of the low down on the success you’ve had with Facebook at Post Planner?
Rebekah: Facebook has been the backbone of our social media presence since the inception of the company five years ago. Post Planner was really born as a Facebook app, in fact we were built right inside of Facebook. It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago we moved outside of Facebook so you can now access Post Planner outside of Facebook. We interact with other social networks but since our beginning are with Facebook, that has been kind of our bread and butter, I guess is a good way to put it. Over five years, we have built that page up to about, we are closing in on about 400,000 fans as of today.
What I really wanted to better understand, what had gone into all of that in the time prior to me and everything leading up, we partnered with Simply Measured and asked them to do deep dive just a whole case study around our growth. They looked into our growth over a year span just to get a really good idea of not only what type of growth we have seen but what were the tactics that were the most successful, what really garnered the biggest growth spurts for us throughout that year.
What they found was that we had grown our fan base 193% in a 12-month period and what was really critical to us as, I still consider as a startup, but a bootstrap startup, we grew that 193% with nearly no paid commotion, less than 2%. Almost all of our growth is attributed to organic growth which is why that’s our main focus. Our heart and everything we talk about is with those business owners, with those entrepreneurs, with those companies that aren’t working with a big brand budget and they are really out there struggling to get their content seen by their audience and they don’t want to have to pump out $100 a day to do it.
What we did was we pulled together every bit of what that growth looked like from beginning to end, every tactic we’ve put in place, and we’ve simply measured an e-book together this year, just outlining every single one of those tactics. For me, what I love so much about it is exactly what I just mentioned. There is no need to have a huge budget, there’s no need to have a huge team. Everything that we did can be duplicated by anybody else out there.
Nathan: Wow, congratulations. Doubling your growth essentially, that’s super impressive.
Rebekah: Yeah. It was impressive, it was incredible to be a part of and just watch how much we tweaked in paying attention to what was working and what wasn’t, and changing some things out. But overall, where we started in our strategy really remained the same for the most part, that mix of content that we’re sharing. Like I said, it was exciting to be a part of and something you don’t see every day but the fun for me is we’ve maintained that level of growth as well over the last six months and have continued on that journey which is I think very exciting as well to know that everything we’ve put in place is still working.
Nathan: Yeah. I want to dig a little bit deeper into that, you just mentioned strategy. I was just wondering what kind of goal or mindset did you have at Post Planner to reach that kind of growth, that kind of success?
Rebekah: Post Planner, we’re a little crazy with our goals as I suspect you guys are at CoSchedule.
Nathan: Oh yes, big goals.
Rebekah: Yeah, yeah. As they’ve been called the bee hags, they carry audacious goals. Every single one of ours is one of those. We’re reaching for the moon on every single one and everything we do leads back into our overall company goals which has so much to do with engagement over on Facebook and social media because we know that engagement turns into conversations, it turns into those opportunities to go deeper with our audience and then it turns into those opportunities to turn a thing into a contact, into a lead, into a possible new user.
One of the big things that we did was a complete overhaul of all of our content and our content strategy. We ensured that every bit of our content was in alignment with what those company goals were. A little over a year ago, we made a huge shift internally to the jobs to be done methodology, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it.
Nathan: Yeah. I know a little bit about it, but could you explain that just a bit further?
Rebekah: Absolutely. The idea is you’re moving away from that traditional persona based marketing, where you’re looking at maybe we have two personas. For Post Planner, I had done a ton of work on who was our exact user at Post Planner and built her ad and figured out exactly how old she was and what she looked like, and how many kids, down to the nitty gritty.
And then we started listening in and we really became aware of it through intercom, desk trainer and their podcast and they were kind of in the midst at the time of making this huge shift as well. The idea is that people actually come to you and hire your company, your product, you service, because they want you to perform a job. They want to know what it is, that job is that you can do from them.
We took a look at the company, and we said, huh! What are the jobs that we actually perform for people? What we figured out was what became a big overhaul of the app at the time then to that our top three jobs to help people find amazing content out there on the web, to plan that content out by being consistent in their social media strategies and then to post that content.
All of those jobs really became the foundational pieces of our content strategy and our strategy of course, on Facebook. Everything we did was around not just those three jobs but the social networks that we served. All of a sudden we started to look at all these content that we had created. We were scratching our heads going, huh, we have a ton of content that some of our top traffic content for, oh social networks at the time, we didn’t dabble in which was Instagram, and we went, why are we writing about Instagram when we can’t actually help people with Instagram. That was a big learning experience for us and figuring out what are we going to write about that we actually do.
It’s the whole idea of eating the dog food, what is it that not only do we do every single day but that we can help marketers with. We just revamped from beginning to end our content strategy based on those three jobs that we performed and then also the social networks that we were focused on and then as we started to move into Instagram and Pinterest, we expanded that a bit. But for us, that was I would say one of the biggest changes we made that had an immediate impact in all of our content and then it also impacted what we were sharing, what we were talking about, what we were out there talking about on podcasts or creating videos around. It really spidered into absolutely everything we did and we saw a huge change because of that, because now all of a sudden we weren’t just talking about the things that people were interested in, but we were actually talking about things that problem we could help them solve within their business.
Nathan: I really love the jobs to be done methodology, that’s something that we’ve tried too, maybe not as heavily as you guys have done. To think about the sorts of content that we can help people resolve after they click through. If we share something on Facebook when they click through, can CoSchedule help resolve that issue? It sounds like by changing your content strategy, you are already targeting an audience that would be interested in Post Planner even though a lot of times blog posts are top of the funnel.
Rebekah: What we saw was we were completely out of alignment with once you start to really get to the bottom of what jobs to be done is all about which is offering to people a solution to the job they’re looking to you to perform, we were putting out all kinds of content around social media which it’s still terrific content but it’s bringing people in with maybe a misconception about your business. I think that’s where, as marketers, we have to take a really hard look at are we putting content out there just for the sake of putting content out there or is it actually serving a much higher purpose? Is it your point moving people through that funnel effortlessly where you can lead them from one piece of content to the next experience or interaction with your company and they’re getting to that aha moment very quickly because they see the value in everything that you’re providing and everything that you do. There’s not this huge disconnect when they actually sign out for your product or for your service and that’s what we were seeing too where people were like, oh wait a second, you’re talking about this but you don’t actually do this. That’s where I think it really brings everything together and all of a sudden everything’s working in unison.
Nathan: I think that’s just kind of a mindset shift that would set you apart and make sure that you’re sharing that sort of content. I’m wondering, you have mentioned with talking about simply measured in this case study that you guys worked on with them. You had mentioned that you had some really big takeaways from that. Could you share a couple of those? What kind of content tended to actually help you after you figured out the strategy?
Rebekah: I’m not surprised at how well visual marketing did for us but I was surprised that it made up almost a significant portion of our engagement. The reason I say that is because we’re pretty balanced in our mix of content, we’re sharing everything from our evergreen content, filtering back through all of our older blog posts as well as any of our new blog posts. We have a tool within Post Planner called status ideas and it’s exactly that.
It’s a status idea generator for those days when you’re feeling less than creative and you can go in there, we have tens of thousands of ideas on how to come up with something for your latest contest or to promote your event that’s coming up so we give you exact verbiage and you can just take that and tweak it or we have theses status ideas that you could take, maybe a quote and just pop it right on to a graphic. We’ve been mixing all of that up, testing to see how well each one of those do. In a way, I knew that visual marketing was just killing it over everything else, but it was over 90% of our engagement with visual marketing.
Nathan: I know something that you guys do and a tactic that we have kind of tried to replicate just a little bit is that you will share a graphic that has nothing but just a little bit of fun text on it or helpful text, inspirational text with no links to anything. I think that’s just a really neat tactic that I’ve seen you guys try. I don’t know if there’s something else around that that you’d like to share?
Rebekah: Yeah. That’s actually one of our big strategies which is that engaging content. When I talk about the perfect mix, it’s not just finding the right type of content. We talk about quality content, value of your content, relevancy of your content, all of that is incredibly important but it’s also what we call fishing analogy where you’re putting those links out there that is so often you will post your latest blog post and it just doesn’t get very much interaction. People just don’t really care on Facebook about my blog post, or the latest article from another top blog that I shared.
What we have found is there’s actually a method to sharing those visuals, where you don’t have any links. There’s not a specific call to action, all they are is that dated content that goes back to the fishing analogy that Josh, our CEO, has talked about so many times, where you’re putting that out there to really get people talking, get people engaged and excited and interacting with your content. I think we all know what that does with the Facebook algorithm now helping get you out there into the newsfeed so that more people are seeing your content, more people are interacting, hopefully more people are sharing your content.
Then, you’re leveraging, you’re kind of riding that wave of interaction into that blog post. You’re giving that blog post a little pick of a pants from the engagement that you’ve seen off of that visual, maybe it was just fun, maybe it was silly, maybe it was inspirational, motivational. we played around with all of notes, we kind of figured out with our audience what they want from us over the years. We tend to be a little silly as a team and that’s definitely what our audience likes. They also like things that are feel good, inspirational, but motivational not so much, that’s not really their cup of tea, I guess that’s the way you can put it.
It’s figuring out what works for your audience. Too often, we hear I’m a serious company and I don’t know that kind of fun, engaging content is going to work for my brand. To that I would say I think there’s room for everybody to inject a little piece of your personality, your sense of humor or who you are and what you do outside the 9:00 to 5:00. That is really what connects people to you and it is what’s going to increase your engagement, this is what the app is all about. It’s designed to help you find that kind of content.
We practice what we preach, we’re putting that out there and we’re also big believers in the majority of your content should not be action oriented, where you’re not constantly begging your audience to do this, or do that, or click here or sign up for this. You really want to build that rapport and those relationship with people and you do that through those visual pieces that are just fun, they’re just silly, they’re just there to kind of bind and connect you to your audience.
Nathan: I’m a big fan of their people behind the brand, so why does the brand have to be so static or corporately? I think everything that you’re talking about like this humorous side, the sharing just a little bit of the inspiration messages. I think all that’s great advice.
Rebekah, I have one more question for you. You guys have obviously mastered the art of Facebook engagement. I’m wondering for any other marketer, where should we start to work and improve our Facebook Organic Reach?
Rebekah: First of all, I think, hey, it’s taking stop. Really doing an audit of, and I know sometimes that’s a scary word, of your own Facebook performance. What have you been doing in the past that’s really working? What is that type of content that you’re sharing that has performed consistently well over and over and over again. I think too often marketers think, oh well, if it has worked well for a while it’s probably stagnant and boring, so I’m going to stop doing it.
We have proven over the last five years that when you have find something that works, stick with it. Give it all you’ve got to perfect and better that process. First of all, take stop, take a look at what you’re doing, take a look at your competition. Not from a I want to be a cookie cutter and steal their ideas point of view, but you want to see what are they doing as I mentioned.
To me it’s just smart marketing to look at what you guys are doing over at CoSchedule or any of our other supposed competitors, to see what are you doing that, wow, that is just amazing, how you’re wording this or how you’re presenting this content or how you’re engaging your audience and then think about how can you take that and turn that into something that’s uniquely yours. Because that’s another missed opportunity to where we all kind of live in these little shiloh and we’re not paying enough attention to what is actually out there.
Where the market’s headed to within your industry. I think that’s another good thing when you’re looking at your competition to see is there a conversation that’s happening that maybe you’re missing out on, that maybe you should be a part of and you really need to get your voice involved into.
Those would be my top two and then definitely looking at your posting schedules, diving into your Facebook insights, figuring out when is your audience online? What time are they engaging the most with your content? And maybe changing up the times that you’re posting, also looking at what time specific type of content is performing well and then testing like crazy what’s working and what’s not dependent on that type of content and then times that you’re posting.
Because I think again, we assume a lot as marketers that, oh, well because I’m in Pacific time, my whole audience is. In reality, you might have people that are engaging with you all over the country or all over the world. Looking at your insights, it’s very eye opening into those changes, just those little tweaks you can make to the timing of your content and then play around with how you’re positioning that content too. We talked a little bit about just posting some graphics with two or three words. We test down to the letter count of our context around that content. Are you doing longer form posts that aren’t getting a lot of interaction engagement, try one that’s maybe just 160 characters instead of 500, or a 1000 characters and see how those do. Play around with your content, but also play around with the context. Those would be my top three.
Nathan: Yeah. I think that is awesome advice, Rebekah, I know we just had this conversation before we started the show today but you have to start. Once you start, you have data to analyze it and make improvements and then ship again. I think everything that you just said reiterated to me the importance of getting out their doing something in analyzing your success and shipping again. Rebekah, that’s it. Thanks a lot for being here today and sharing how you have used jobs to be done to help grow not just your content but what you’re doing with Facebook. Obviously, some of the ways that you’ve dabbled that Facebook engagement and just giving us some behind the scenes look of what you guys do at Post Planner, thanks.
Rebekah: Oh my pleasure, thank you so much.
Nathan: You know those people you could talk to forever? Rebekah is one of them for me. Thanks a lot Rebekah for being an inspiration for us at CoSchedule to increase our organic reach on Facebook, and thanks lot to you for listening in on this episode of the Actionable Content Marketing Podcast.