Buffer, known for providing tools for making social media marketing easier, has just reported some troubling news. Their own social media referral numbers have tanked, big time. According to their own numbers, they’ve lost nearly half of their traffic in just over a year. So what’s happening?
Part of the traffic loss can be attributed to the slow-motion train wreck that is Google +’s demise; as user numbers and activity there taper off, it’s inevitable that referral traffic from that platform would also dwindle. Additionally, Google may not be accurately reporting referral traffic generated from Facebook’s mobile platform.
After taking those two issues into account, we’re left with a big purple elephant in the middle of the room: amazing organic content – something Buffer is known for – simply may not be enough to break through all the noise. There’s simply so much high quality content out there, online, on social media, and elsewhere, that no one source is standing out. It’s hard to be a remarkable tree when you’re standing in the middle of a forest full of remarkable trees.
Does this mean that the need for organic content is over? We don’t think so. The need to communicate with our customers, whether that’s in an informative or entertaining way, won’t go away. However, we do need to start having a serious conversation about what we think organic content will accomplish. The reach organic content is enjoying may not be enough to achieve your marketing objectives.
The use of paid tools, including sponsored posts and advertising, is really no longer optional for businesses that are serious about thriving in our brave new world. The trick is finding the right balance of messages and vehicles, both digital and traditional, to accomplish your goals. Organic content will also have a role. But we can no longer count on it as the primary tool needed to promote a business.