How to Create Strategies for Organic vs. Paid Social Media Marketing

By Ian Heinig / 6 July 2018

86% of marketers use both paid and organic tactics in their social media strategies. Use these tips to choose the right channels and optimize your paid and organic marketing strategies on social media.

Organic social media can be used to develop your brand. To grow further, though, you often must use paid social media. Combine organic and paid social media marketing to accelerate growth and boost revenue as much as your budget permits.

According to a recent study, 92% of small businesses plan to increase their investment in social media in 2018. So how should you balance your investment in social media?

92% of small businesses will increase their social media investment in 2018 2

Organic marketing is critical because it lets you develop and maintain a brand presence. Nurture your audience with a content-driven experience that leads to engagement and eventual loyalty.

Consider that 86% of marketers use both paid and organic tactics in their social media strategies, according to a recent survey. If you have the budget, paid marketing shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a quick and effective way to gain traction and drive conversions with customers.

Today we discuss how to effectively blend organic and paid social media marketing. Expect guidance on channel selection and tips to maximize success with each type of social media strategy.

1. How to Use Organic Social Media

  • Minimize promotions and maximize personality
  • Hide or delete unwanted comments
  • Use hashtags to join conversations
  • Align content to the platform

2. How to Use Paid Social Media

  • Distribute content with paid ads
  • Leverage the best targeting options

How to Use Organic Social Media

Organic marketing on social media is perfect for building your brand.

If you regularly post valuable content, you will engage and grow your audience. Each post is an asset that increases your brand's value in the eyes of your followers.

The complicating factor here is that the organic reach for brands on social media is declining steadily. Organic reach on Facebook currently sits at 2% – or less, according to Hubspot.

Facebook organic reach
(Source)

Organic reach used to translate to free advertising for brands on social media. However, as each social network has pushed toward paid advertising, algorithms have changed accordingly.

Effectively, the chance of reaching your audience without paying is increasingly minimal. As social platforms increase their user and advertiser bases, growing your audience with organic content will become a harder task.

Despite these diminishing returns, a robust social media presence is essential.

For example, if a website visitor clicks-through to your Instagram, this interaction should deepen the customer relationship. A social profile full of content is a key touchpoint that will demonstrate your credibility and allow you to engage this prospect further.

Since organic marketing only reaches existing followers, ensure that your engagement strategy works to reinforce your brand image, retain users, and grow your following from within.

Here are some tips to maximize your organic social media marketing:

1. Minimize promotions and maximize personality

Personality is what connects people to your product. Rather than flyer your profile with promotions, provide value that will increase word of mouth. As the chart below shows, Facebook is the best place to highlight your brand's personality.

Social platforms where consumers prefer brand personality graph
(Source)

2. Hide or delete unwanted comments

An effective social media profile inspires confidence. According to Brightlocal, 88% of people trust online reviews from other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Promote engagement by presenting a streamlined profile that increases positive perception for your brand.

3. Use hashtags to boost your visibility across social networks

This helps create a conversation around a common thread and taps into an existing sentiment. Here’s how to conduct hashtag research for your brand.

4. Align your content to the platform

Certain content types work best on certain platforms. For example, thought leadership lives on Twitter. Instagram rewards the use of positive quotes and beautiful pics. Facebook users want video. In fact, Facebook ranks live video higher in the News Feed.

Use the networks’ native analytics or tools like SumAll to determine which content type is ideal for your audience. Below is a chart that shows actions that work well on all platforms.

consumer sentiment on brand behaviors on social media
(Source)

How to Use Paid Social Media

Unlike organic marketing, paid social media doesn’t suffer from limited penetration. Compared to the ‘post and wait’ dynamic of organic marketing, paid social guarantees that your ad will be seen.

A wealth of psychographic targeting factors allow you to maximize the impact of your advertising. The native analytics of each platform will further help you optimize the performance of your campaigns.

Depending on your objective, you can use paid social media channels to:

  • Drive immediate traffic to your website, perhaps to announce a new product or service
  • Generate leads by driving downloads for gated content
  • Boost brand awareness by circulating attention-grabbing ads
  • Offer time-sensitive promotions that will enjoy improved visibility

For best effect, align your advertising with the behaviors and expectations of the platform.

For example, Facebook users are online to chat and be entertained, so humorous video ads would be well received. Likewise, a white paper is best promoted on LinkedIn or Twitter where the mindset is more receptive to business.

Here are a couple ways to use paid advertising on social media:

1. Distribute your best content with paid ads

Paid advertising can help you scale your content strategy far better than word of mouth.

If you’ve invested in a resource like an ebook or an interview with an industry leader, promote it with targeted ads. If you have a ready following, paid content distribution is a cost-effective way to drive engagement and ROI for your content strategy.

But what if your social presence is fledgling? Use paid ads to grow your fanbase. With few followers, the impact of a single piece of content is low. However, targeting users similar to your existing or ideal audience will swell your ranks faster than waiting for word of mouth.

In the example below, Campaign Monitor offers up a swipe file to those interested in email marketing.

Campaign Monitor Ad

Serving ads for valuable gated content is a great way to generate leads within a qualified audience.

2. Leverage the Best Targeting Option for Paid Campaigns

Paid advertising on social media lets you reach and convert your audience with unparalleled precision. You can choose to target your audience in a variety of ways:

  • Based on interest: You can target users by a number of chosen interests or groups. If your company sells cameras, you could target people who’ve expressed interest in photography and Nikon.
  • Retargeting: Each platform offers retargeting to help you reach people who’ve already visited your website. The benefit of retargeting is that a conversion is more likely when you know the prospect is interested. You might also upload an email list and use Facebook Custom Audiences to serve ads directly to subscribers. In the following example, we see two ads that show in the Facebook sidebar to reach former web visitors.

Facebook sidebar ads

  • Lookalike audiences: Upload a list of customers from your CRM and the social media platform will find users that match these profiles. If you know who your customers are, this can make customer acquisition feel easy.

Organic Marketing vs. Paid Marketing on Social Media

Paid social offers immediate results that are worth paying for. Organic social media is a cost-effective and long-term solution.

Ultimately, combining the respective benefits of each type of social media strategy is optimal.

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