The social media marketing landscape of the past few years has seen a move away from a pure organic strategy to a more balanced approach. The new social media marketing structure includes paid (promoted) posts, but also still relies on the authentic consumer engagements earned with organic posts. To amalgamate both of these approaches, you will want to create a hybrid strategy drawing from the benefits of each. Creating this strategy requires understanding how each marketing approach can support the expansion of your brand.
Understanding Organic Social Media Marketing
Organic social refers to all the “free” posts a brand will publish, and their social media engagements with customer and audience bases. Organic social is often hard to discern as marketing because it entails the creation of genuine relationships between brands and customer bases. This is often the most consistent social media marketing method because it requires no additional investment. It also serves as a window into your brand’s services, products, ethics, and customer care relations. For many brands and influencers, organic social will be a primary means of establishing transparency and attentiveness to consumers’ needs and reactions to new posts and products.
Advantages Of Organic Social Media Marketing
Until now, many small to mid-sized companies have relied entirely on organic social media marketing. An infinite amount of organic social media marketing can be carried out because it comes as no cost to the poster, and frequent posting is encouraged to “remain relevant.” Typically, the more you post, the more social media platforms’ algorithms are likely to position your posts within newsfeeds and homepages. This will often lead to increased engagements, which increase the likelihood of visibility online. Organic social media marketing is often regarded as more “trustworthy” or “transparent” than paid social because it is still considered a tool of Communications and Public Relations Departments, as opposed to direct marketing.
One of the more reliable tools of organic social media marketing is the usage of hashtags to increase visibility. Hashtag campaigns are free, which encourages audience participation. This tool is ideal for promotions, discounts, competitions, and giveaways as well as highlighting a specific industry or specific geographic location. These organic social strategies can earn your company:
- A steady consumer base growth
- A community of consumers whose values and interests align with your brand
- The ability to “listen” to your audience with direct interactions
- Increased control over brand reputation
Understanding Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social media marketing refers to the posts published in exchange for payment. Paid advertising can be bought from a platform such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as popular pages, sites, or media personality(ies). This form of marketing is used by brands to stretch the reach of their posts, and access audience bases different from their own. Paid social is generally charged per-click, per-like, or per-view. Companies decide on the form of paid social media marketing best suited to their brand based on their target audience. For most brands, the top social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will be the first choice.
Advantages Of Paid Social Media Marketing
The limitations of organic posts constitute paid social’s most significant benefits: algorithm breakthrough and targeted audience reach. Current social media algorithms define how much of your audience you can reach, often relying on factors beyond your control. Paid social media advertising, as offered by social media platforms, ensures your content has prime visibility on the feeds of your target audience. The fact that you can select this audience based on your buyer personas and be certain to reach a considerable number of potential consumers make this marketing method particularly efficient.
With recent studies showing that the majority (64%) of adults look to social media for shopping inspiration, you can be confident that your paid ad campaign can garner you the following:
- High conversion rates
- Increased audience base
- Increased engagements
- Lower acquisition costs
- Re-inforced brand values
Combining Organic And Paid Social Media Marketing
It is now incredibly difficult to establish successful social media marketing strategies using only organic techniques. Non-sponsored posts on Facebook have been found only to reach 2% of followers. While this number can be improved upon using frequent, interactive posting, brands will likely need to use paid social to maximize their reach. To optimize your marketing content without breaking the bank, you will want to establish a ratio of paid to free posts (1:5 to 1:10 being appropriate standards for emerging companies) and use both methods simultaneously. At Touchline Marketing, we’ve been able to package a balanced program for small business that includes:
- the monthly creation of custom blog content
- the monthly creation of custom social content scheduled at a regular frequency throughout the year
- target audience building through website pixels and tags
- lookalike audiences
- social media remarketing & boosts
- featured paid ads
- lead generation using lead magnets and landing pages
Remember that paid social is no substitute for organic social; your acquired audience base will still need to feel engaged and valued with frequent free posts.
A Final Word
With social media use reaching unseen levels, it is now more important than ever to establish a digital marketing strategy that unites all known efficient tools. While both organic and paid social have been proven to be marginally effective on their own, a combination of both is likely to earn you the full engagement and customer base expansion that you seek. Stick to a consistent paid to organic ratio to expand your reach rapidly.
You don’t have to do it all on your own, and you don’t have to jump into a large and complicated digital marketing plan to start. Your small business benefits from social media exposure. Contact Touchline Marketing to learn how we can help you develop a balanced social media presence and leverage our Digital Marketing Starter Program for Small Business.