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Effective organic social: a marathon, not a sprint

9 min read

There’s no silver bullet to social media marketing. There, I said it!

If someone’s selling their secrets on nailing organic social for overnight success, don’t buy them, because, in fact, nailing organic social overnight isn’t possible. In a world where real-time analytics rule the roost, it’s easy to get caught up in the smoke and mirrors of ‘quick wins’. But, when it comes to building social for the long haul, patience is a virtue.

Balancing the short and the long

Conventional wisdom has it that above-the-line channels – such as TV, radio and outdoor – are the most suited channels to long-term brand building. But, the reality is, social can also be an above-the-line marketing channel…if you’re willing to put in the work, that is.

Paid social does a great job of helping a brand activate sales in the short term, there’s no denying that. But, building an organic brand community on social media is often overlooked. It can add incredible amounts of value and really help brands remain visible (and famous) in the long term.

Here’s how to do it in practice

If you haven’t changed up your organic game in a long time and are wondering why your notifications aren’t flooded with likes and comments, the truth is effective organic social doesn’t happen overnight. 90% of it is watching the grass grow, so here are 4 tried-and-tested ways to head your organic social in the right direction:

  • Build customer loyalty via community engagement

Community engagement is the cornerstone of any successful social media strategy. It brings authenticity, transparency and value, connecting with audiences in a meaningful way to build brand equity.

When you’re creating a new product, make your audience on social feel part of your journey. Can they vote for the next flavour, have exclusive access to tasting events or a sneak peek behind the scenest? Plant-based food brand THIS took community engagement to the next level when updating the packaging copy for their plant-based mince, asking fans to comment their suggestions to be in with a chance of having it featured on-pack:



What’s also important to remember is that you’re fighting for social space and the attention of your target audience. As for this example, there are now many meat-free brands adopting a fierce, challenger mentality, but what sets THIS apart is they care more about value than vanity metrics. If you want to hear about our work with THIS, see our case study

  • Harness the power of UGC

User-generated content. It can be good, it can be bad, and it can be ugly. BUT, the hardest thing isn’t really curating the outputs, it’s getting someone to care enough to share content in the first place.

Stories are quick and easy ways for people to share and create content from a brand, but getting them to do it on-feed and not just Stories now can be tricky. Here are some simple tactics to try:

  • Host incentivised challenges and competitions
  • Create a brand or campaign hashtag
  • Ask them to share! Don’t just expect it
  • Share user stories and testimonials
  • Showcase existing UGC to encourage shareability

Last year, we ran a UGC competition with holiday home manufacturer ABI which generated over 80 entries on Facebook alone! It’s now one of the best-performing content types on-feed: a crucial part of our social media strategy.

  • Nail customer service

Nailing customer service on social requires a blend of responsiveness and empathy, with a healthy helping of human touch. First thing’s first, swift response times are essential; ensure you have automated holding responses in place for any hours you’re out of action, and have a clear response time aim (both internally for your team, and transparently with your audience). For example: if you know you can get back to your audiences within 24hrs on weekdays, tell them!

When it comes to responding, it’s key to personalise messages. No copy-and-paste responses, but actual human touch that people expect if they were to go into a bricks-and-mortar retail destination. Be empathetic – understand their perspective, make them feel heard, start to resolve their problem and give them a clear next step. A nice way to bring this to life is by having your team sign off using their name, rather than the brand’s name.

Challenger luxury bedding brand DUSK do this well. Click here if you want to read more about how we grew their social audience by 100%.


  • Stay on the social beat

Content is king, but consistency is queen. You need to really immerse yourself into each platform – as communities can vary between them. Get to know what makes them tick and what makes them ick. Use every opportunity to show you get them, which ultimately puts you in the best position to create content that resonates with them. Again, this doesn’t come overnight, but you need to start somewhere!

A few ways you can change up your day-to-day to stay on the social beat include:

  • Tracking hashtags, mentions and keywords associated with your brand
  • Keeping an eye on the competition – across media, social and beyond
  • Consuming news in your space – both consumer and trade
  • Staying active on channels where quantity doesn’t penalise your performance – e.g. Stories
  • Engage with influencers, experts and like-minded brands in your space

A great example of a brand going above and beyond as a result of staying on the social beat can be seen with Warburtons. Content creation sensation, Max Balegde, posted about his obsession with crumpets – and soon after, a pair of GIANT crumpet slippers landed on his doorstep. He was of course thrilled with the reactivity and relevancy of the mailer and decided to share a video with his 3.5 million followers:


#stitch with @Max_Balegde AHHHHH BEST GIFT EVER @warburtonsuk #uk #crumpets

♬ original sound – Max_Balegde



In the whirlwind of social analytics and trends, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that genuine success on organic social doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a steady journey, filled with twists, turns and uphill battles. But, meaningful organic social will eventually help you get where you need to be, ultimately converting social followers into brand fans.

So, the next time you’re crafting that compelling TikTok or capturing the perfect shot for the ‘gram, remember: organic social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Embrace the journey, nurture your audience and watch as your efforts bloom into a thriving social community.

Want to level up your organic social game? Get in touch



  • If there’s one thing that needs debunking about social media, it’s that any type of social media can lead to instant success
  • Quick wins brought about by paid social won’t last forever, or grow the brand the way you intended. Slowly chip away and push your brand organically to experience sustainable growth
  • Think more about your long-term goals – both organic and paid social will help you get there, but consider how much priority each needs
  • Get involved in your community to show your audience love and ultimately build long-term brand equity
  • Spend more time in your community than out of it – get to know what makes them tick, what makes them ick and everything in between