Paid vs. Organic Social Media: How to Strike a Balance
Presently, there are is a contention of doubt on two fronts in the social media marketing area.
First is the clash based on which is the best digital marketing tool, Pay-per-click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO).The other front of battle is Social Media and which is the best: organic or paid social media.
There are currently 2.078 billion active social media accounts in the world; this represents, amongst other things, an enormous number of people to potentially target. Thus social media marketing has become such an important tool for business to count in their lead generation strategy.
However, the question still exists, which is the best way to reach people across the social media universe? Before we find answer to this, let’s understand the types of social media:
Organic Social Media
Organic social media is when you use the media’s free tools in order to turn targeted audience into customers, share posts to inform and publicize and gain reviews and interact with your customers.
Organic social media is anything that happens on social media without paid promotion. It is the enumeration of your organic reach on social media.
Organic reach on social media marketing refers to the number of people who come across your post without you not paying anything.
These are people who happen to be on Social Media when you post about your sale and see it “organically”.
Elaborating it a bit more, when you post anything, but don’t put any money behind it to “boost”, you are creating an organic post.
If you comment on a business’s post in your news feed, and the “Sponsored” tag does not appear on the post, that action qualifies as organic. In other words, organic actions occur on non-ads.
Simply put, organic marketing across social networks can quite possibly be anything that isn’t paid advertising.
This is predominantly content driven and is primarily used to-- maintain a presence for the brand in the digital as well as real market, provide information to the customers about products and services, help build and maintain a strong bond with customers through constant virtual communication.
Content marketing is also a feature of organic social media marketing that can help you gain visibility across social networks.
Though the content itself may be placed somewhere on your homepage or another social platform (a Facebook post for a YouTube video for example), social is your best infiltrator out there in getting your content out in the fog of pictures, videos, and audio with every content marketer hoping it will ‘go viral lying otherwise untouched in an non-existent form .
Social media Marketing organically might appear cheaper but it also has its own limitations. To execute a successful ‘organic’ social media campaign can take a lot of strategy in the early stages.
You need to utilize multiple creative minds putting their heads together to come up with ways of keeping customers engaged as well as coming up with shareable original content, while also featuring varied content collection.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social media is anything that is influenced by advertising dollars spent. Any post in your news feed that has the “Sponsored” tag is paid social media.
If you then “like” that post, that is considered a paid reaction. Paid social media includes boosted posts, ads optimized for clicks, lead generation forms, video ads, among other objectives, and can be targeted by a variety of demographic and behavioral factors.
Paid or promoted posts refer to content that businesses have voluntarily boosted the reach of by paying to social media companies to promote their posts pertaining products and services, using one-time or ongoing payments.
These posts can be targeted toward specific demographic group and reach a bigger audience than organic content.
Contrary to using your free Facebook or LinkedIn page, Twitter or Instagram account, paid social media utilizes sponsored content or advertising to boost the content, website, store, promotion, etc. to reach a larger amount of people.
Organizations can essentially allot a budget to a particular product or service, and then target the audience. You need keep your ad content up-to date and unique.
This will help reduce the impression that you are spamming your target audience, whilst also maintaining a visible presence and consumers’ interest. Through social advertising, you could be saving money on your budget and be targeting accurately.
Obviously the success of your paid ads will also depend on implementing the right strategy—the correct projection of the target audience, both in quantity and quality; identification of the right tool for you; proper allocation of budget to a product/service.
You also need to have compelling, quality ads that will generate clicks in order to see any return on the budget you are spending.
Even if you are successful across paid advertising, there will always be a cost in order to gain traffic, and that money won’t necessarily translate into paying customers.
Why do we Need both and Which is Best?
Being rational, both have the potential to be used at the same time to great effect. Also, it completely depends on the industry, what the goals are, and what you desire from customers.
If you want to direct and drive in quantity and convert the expenses into income quickly, then paid social advertising will be the best for you. However, if it is tilted towards focusing on the client-customer relationship, organic would be well worth investing in.
Many page owners think that organic reach is enough to make an impact. This was true in the initial phase of social media, but is no longer the case.
Facebook, and many other social media networks, is truly a pay-to-play network. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all on algorithmic feeds, meaning posts are shown to the user based on past behavior and preferences instead of in chronological order.
Organic posts from the Facebook page only reach about 2% (and dropping) of the followers. Considering these statistics you might be wondering why to use organic posts in the first place.
However, this does not mean organic media is not required anymore. Although organic reach is low, it is still important to have an active presence on social media.
Your social media pages/accounts are often where people turn to for updates from your company or to ask questions.
Low organic reach doesn’t mean you should stop posting organically at once for all; it means you should focus more on a paid social media strategy while maintaining a solid organic presence.
Organic or paid social media—you shouldn’t have one without the other. A concrete organic strategy improves your online presence and reputation, and a paid strategy increases your brand’s reach and awareness to targeted audiences.
Managing both aspects of social media takes time and planning, but the results of a well-executed crusade are worth the effort.
For a beginner if you are doubtful about whether or not to put a little money towards marketing from your budget, one thing is true across the table— you need to be social in today’s digital world. Take some time to try out content with organic posts and see how your followers respond to it.
Once you feel you really understand what your followers want to see, give paid posts some serious consideration.