In the dynamic world of social media, businesses often wonder if they should concentrate on gaining followers naturally or through paid methods.
But here’s the crucial point: You might be approaching this issue the wrong way.
A widely accepted marketing principle suggests that it usually requires seven engagements with a brand before a consumer decides to buy their product. It’s evident that brands must incorporate both organic and paid media into their overall strategy.
Keep reading to explore the distinctions between organic and paid social media, view examples of each approach to social media marketing, and discover how to devise an efficient strategy that harmonizes both.
Organic vs Paid Social Media
You might be thinking about using the same content for both organic and paid social media, but it’s important to realize that they have some key distinctions.
What is Organic Social Media?
Organic social media refers to the practice of businesses or individuals creating and sharing content on social media platforms without paying for advertising or promotion.
This content is typically original and not boosted through paid means. Organic social media content can include text posts, images, videos, blog articles, and other forms of media.
In addition to posting content, organic social media also involves engaging with the audience through actions like responding to comments, fostering discussions, and building relationships with followers.
While organic social media may have limitations in terms of reach and targeting compared to paid social media, it remains an essential part of a well-rounded digital marketing strategy.
The content shared can vary depending on the platform and typically includes a mix of:
- Written posts.
- Blog articles.
- And more.
In addition to sharing branded content, organic social media involves actively engaging with the online community. This engagement includes responding to comments from users and encouraging discussions on the platform(s).
Why Does Organic Social Media Matter despite Its Limited Reach and Conversions?
Even though organic social media may not deliver extensive reach and immediate conversions, it serves several vital purposes. The primary objectives of organic social media include engaging with the existing follower base and nurturing long-term relationships with customers.
Furthermore, organic social media provides a platform for companies to establish their brand voice and authenticity, creating a genuine connection with their audience.
Now, let’s examine some examples of organic social media posts from different brands to illustrate their significance.
Example # 1
In this example, BRIDES made a list-style article for a specific group of women. When users click on the post, they go straight to the brand’s website to read the whole article.
The brand also talks with people who leave comments and tries to get more people to visit their website, especially the popular blog posts.
Example # 2
Social Platform X, formerly known as Twitter, provides brands with a unique opportunity to maintain a light and engaging tone in their content without the need for direct product or service promotion.
The Delta Airlines example effectively exemplifies this approach. Delta has created an interactive word game designed to captivate users, ensuring ongoing engagement. Furthermore, the brand actively encourages users to leave comments, fostering increased visibility and interaction.
What is Paid Social Media?
Paid social media involves using advertising funds to promote content on social media platforms. Unlike organic social media, which mainly reaches existing followers, paid social media allows content to be targeted at specific audiences.
This strategy offers benefits such as the ability to create content for targeted groups, expand reach in a controlled manner, boost overall engagement, achieve short-term goals like lead generation or sales, and measure campaign performance.
Paid social media ads typically come in formats like video ads, image ads, carousel ads, and text-only ads.
Usually, paid social media ads come in these primary forms:
- Video ads.
- Image ads.
- Carousel ads.
- Text-only ads.
Video ads are versatile and can be employed on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and more.
Brands have the option to either craft specific content for distinct target groups and platforms or enhance their existing organic content to reach a broader audience.
Example # 1
Interestingly, this serves as a prime example of effective paid advertising. In this instance, the advertisement is endorsing the leading B2B advertising platform, urging relevant businesses to utilize its services for advertising.
Example # 2
This example presents a screenshot of a video ad on Snapchat. These ads are strategically positioned as users watch their friends’ Snapchat stories to introduce new products.
The ads are designed with a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom and a clickable product highlight in the lower left-hand corner.
Example # 3
Our final example is an Instagram video ad seamlessly integrated into a user’s newsfeed.
Lately, it appears that video ads have become the preferred format, with static image ads becoming increasingly rare.
This video ad also incorporates a clickable “Shop Now” button, providing users with the option to like, comment, or share the ad for deeper engagement.
How To Create A Strategy To Align Paid And Organic Social Media?
Now, let’s get into the exciting part: crafting a comprehensive strategy that combines both organic and paid social media efforts.
As previously mentioned, it’s not about choosing one over the other; instead, it’s about finding a balance that leverages the strengths of both.
Let’s break down the steps for building a sound strategy that combines these approaches to deliver maximum value.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Setting clear objectives is fundamental to any strategy. These goals not only guide your efforts but also provide a way to measure your progress.
Start by establishing your overarching business goals. Then, define specific objectives for each channel, be it organic or paid social media.
These objectives might include increasing brand awareness, driving web/app traffic, generating leads, or boosting sales. Assign which approach aligns with each goal to determine success.
Step 2: Identify and Engage Your Target Audience
Understanding your audience is essential, not just their demographics but also their online behaviors and habits.
Research and identify your target audience(s), using these insights to create relevant audience lists for paid social media campaigns to reach new users.
Step 3: Choose Platforms and Develop Content Themes
Select the social media platforms that align with your audience and business goals. Keep in mind that different platforms cater to different audiences and content formats.
Your content should be consistent with your brand identity, incorporating themes, topics, messages, and visuals that resonate with your audience, even if the content varies between organic and paid efforts.
Step 4: Plan and Schedule Organic & Paid Content
Organize your content calendar, which should include a mix of content types like images, videos, polls, and stories. Ensure that organic content provides value and encourages engagement.
For paid social media, align campaigns with your content calendar to create a cohesive strategy.
For instance, you might run ads for a new product launch alongside organic content to boost immediate sales and strengthen your brand’s organic presence.
Step 5: Create, Launch, and Optimize Campaigns
This step mainly focuses on paid social campaigns but applies to both approaches. When setting up paid campaigns, make sure you’ve already defined your content and audience in previous steps.
Set specific campaign objectives aligned with your ad content, considering nuances on each platform.
Monitor the campaigns, allowing them to learn and improve. Regularly analyze performance metrics for both organic and paid content, and apply insights to adjust your strategy.
Hence, combining organic and paid social media is vital for building a well-rounded online presence. While organic efforts emphasize authenticity and engagement, paid social media extends your reach and offers quick, scalable results.
Both are integral to a comprehensive marketing strategy, helping your brand establish a strong, consistent, authentic identity in the ever-evolving digital landscape.