Does Organic Content Still Work on Social Media?

Every year we hear that organic content has stopped bringing the results marketers need. Brazilian star marketer, Luiz Henrique Ferreira speaks about the continued importance of organic content in tandem with a robust paid content strategy, personalized interactions and publishing best practices.

1. Social media has largely become a ‘pay to play game’ for brands on social media, but how much should marketers focus on organic content? What strategy do you see for FMCG businesses with multiple brands?

It’s true, the free lunches ended some years ago, but some types of content can still perform pretty well organically. When you work with a beautiful, tasty product like we do, of course it’s easier. But not everyone has great eye candy to take pictures of, so we have to be smart, and create something that performs well. Great content can be created by anyone - it all comes down to this point: knowing your audience. Not only does each industry have its own unique differentiators, but each product like cookies, cars and beer does too. Each audience also has its preferences - and you must understand this better than your competition. If you say what your audience wants to hear, in a language they understand, and in an alluring way, you can still get some juice from organic content.

2. If you were speaking to a CMO or VP, how would you explain the importance of measuring the performance of your and your competitors’ paid strategy on social media?

Measuring performance is great (and fundamental) for quick access to results, to calculate ROI, and to see how the market is doing too. Who’s getting the best numbers from organic, and who’s promoting all of their content? If your brand doesn’t need to promote everything, and your competitors do, it can earn you some leeway with your company’s board. It can also lead to something that’s very hard to measure: love. Your brand enthusiasts need to be close to you, and they will be, if you give them what they’re looking for.

3. What was your top-performing organic content of the year and did it receive more engagement than your top-performing paid content?

Most of our top-performing organic posts were promoted at the right time, after their organic reach maxed out. We use a performance prediction assistant for that, and it works very nicely. The one with the best organic reach was a sweet math problem that our audience felt compelled to answer. We promoted that content after a few days:

We also had one that went full organic, and it got the 2nd best reach of 2018. It was a special sale promotion that we ran for a client of ours:


The best paid post was one in which we presented a new Easter product. This one got 3x more reach than our best organic post:


4. Do you think Dark Posts going public is good for marketers? What advice would you give to marketers on this topic?

Dark posts are good when you have a specific strategy to hit a specific audience, be it for location, gender, or any other demographic. They work quite well when your message isn’t for everyone, and it may suit your media strategy or it may not. It all depends on your specific needs. If you are in doubt about using Dark Posts on a frequent basis, simply try it. Results vary and you may be pleasantly surprised.

5. How important is understanding your audience persona in crafting quality content to spark meaningful engagement?

Well, I have spoken “a little” about that topic in the first questions, and well, let’s keep it straight: understanding your audience is the most important thing you need to do. It’s the basis, it’s the starting point of any content strategy. If you don’t understand what they want, you might not deliver what they expect of your brand, or worse, deliver something they definitely don’t want to see. We must be close to our audience, live their reality, tell their stories, share our truth. It’s all about empathy and love.

6. Everyone's talking about meaningful conversations on social media, but how does a business like Fini become part of those meaningful conversations, what can FMCG businesses do?

We participate in real conversations, I mean, real topics we can put the brand into. We would never insert the brand into a conversation theme that’s completely unrelated to what we do and what’s in our brand guide. We connect to an audience that is familiar to us, that consumes our products while watching movies or playing video games, for example. So, if we try connecting to an audience talking about housing, it would be something completely unexpected and wrong-headed. We connect ourselves to moments. Of course, creating moments is also part of the strategy but brands have to be natural, and tell a true story. Connecting a beer brand with an activity that demands intense focus, like chess, would be strange.

7. Over the years, we've seen social media marketing teams grow and evolve. What challenges do you think businesses face most often when scaling their social media teams?

It depends what level of importance your company places on social media. In the beginning, a few years back, it was really difficult to prove we needed a specialized team and specific people to run online communications. Many of us have heard speeches like “my nephew can handle that, he’s online all day long”, but nowadays the situation is becoming clearer. Since the importance of social media has grown, demand has too. The more we work, the most work we get, the more people we need to hire, the more specialization we need. Content, analytics, social listening, trendwatching, business intelligence, SEO, SMO, influencer marketing are all terms that barely existed in 2010. Now they form the cornerstones of social media operations. Not all of us have teams with enough people to run all those activities specifically, so it’s up to us to decide which specializations bring the most value at any given moment. So, we start with understanding our audience, then building content, creating paid promotion strategies, social listening, and it goes on from there. 


A son, a brother, a father², and a friend, but also Communications Manager @Fini in Brazil. Luigi is a journalism graduate, and digital marketing communications & web analytics specialist, who made an appearance onstage at Engage Prague 2015 for the Smart Storyteller Award, and at Engage Prague 2018, for a communications with millennials workshop. He also spoke at Engage São Paulo, on the subject of Social Media Content.

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