With the increase in social media usage across the US in the past year, social media marketing should be a key element of any business’s  advertising strategy. When planning how your business will use social media, one fundamental aspect to understand is the difference between organic and paid social media marketing.

It’s all in the name – organic social media marketing is any content that can be shared or responded to without cost to the business. Paid social media marketing is when an advertiser pays to share content with a specific audience. A holistic approach to social media marketing, combining both organic and paid tactics, is most effective as each type can achieve different goals. Paid tactics can yield faster results, but a strong organic foundation is important.

Here we will explore a few goals that can be accomplished with organic and paid tactics as well as give examples of content and best practices for each.

Organic

Build Your Brand’s Personality

The main goal of organic posting is building your brand’s personality and voice to create a genuine online presence. In other words, you can utilize your page as a way for existing and potential customers to get to know your business, the people behind it, and the things that are important to your brand.

In a survey done by Animoto, 58% of people said they visit a brand’s social page before visiting their website. If a potential customer sees your brand out in the wild, chances are good they will stop by your social media page to see what you are all about before heading to your website. This is also a reason to make sure the basics of your page, like contact info and hours, are up-to-date.

Content Examples:

  • Employee spotlight posts.
  • Guided behind the scenes videos of your offices or facilities.
  • Announcing a new product or partnership.
  • Sharing how you are supporting a charity or social cause.
  • Showcasing work you have done in the past or current projects.
  • Celebrating business milestones you have reached.

Delight Your Audience

Organic social media marketing is a great way to delight your audience with informative, entertaining, or inspiring content that gives value to existing fans or followers to assist in creating loyalty and retention. A bonus will be if your audience finds it interesting enough to share, thus expanding the reach of your post.

Content Examples:

  • Sharing content related to amusing holidays like National Pizza Day or National Puppy Day.
  • Writing and sharing blog content that helps solve a common problem or gives in-depth knowledge of topics your customers encounter.
  • Content from other businesses or influencers that would be valuable to your audience.
  • Jumping on the bandwagon of funny viral memes or challenges.

Manage Your Reputation While Also Nurturing Relationships

Businesses that are most successful on social media look at it as an opportunity to listen and learn from their audience. Social media platforms offer a unique channel for customers to interact with a business. It can be used as a form of customer support if users reach out with an issue or question. Depending on how they choose to start the interaction, it can be done publicly or privately. This is essentially the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing which makes it very important for businesses to quickly respond.

Best Practice Examples:

  • Respond to any and all negative feedback by being transparent and acknowledging the concern as well as detailing the solution.
  • Recognize and thank positive feedback to show loyal customers they are appreciated.
  • When you have the capacity to monitor it, you can have chat features on social platforms that offer it.

While organic social media marketing has many benefits, it also has limitations. The reach of organic social media posts has been declining for a while now. For example, on Facebook the average organic post will reach 5.2% of a brand’s followers. In addition, the average engagement rate in 2020 was sitting around 0.25%, meaning much of what your business posted organically went unnoticed by your existing audience. A business that only posts organically will find that goals like an increase in brand awareness and customer acquisition are slow to be achieved. This is where paid social media marketing comes in.

Paid

Increase Brand Awareness

If you want to build your customer base and followers, you need to get more eyes on your brand. Many social media platforms offer very specific targeting based on things like demographics, occupation, and interests. You can utilize these to get your brand in front of your ideal audience and people who are similar to your existing audience. The goal is to get people interested in your business and what you offer so that when they have a need you can fulfill, they think of your brand automatically.

Content Examples:

  • Capitalize on your success by paying to “boost” organic posts that have had high engagement so it is seen by a larger audience.
  • Partner with an influencer to create promotional content they can share with their followers who are your ideal customers.
  • Promote your most viewed blog article or one that contains information many people will find helpful.

Generate New Leads

Paid social media marketing can be an effective tool for lead generation, something essential to many businesses. Using the platform’s targeting options you can ensure you’re presenting ads to users who are most likely to be interested in your product or service, thus creating better quality leads. If someone has an interest in your business it is vital to capture their contact information so you can nurture a relationship with them.

Ad Examples:

  • Host and promote a contest where an action like submitting an email address or filling out a short form has to be completed to gain entry.
  • Promote a discount for signing up to receive promotional or informative emails.
  • Employ the lead ad formats available on several social media platforms.

Drive Traffic to Your Website

The more people who visit your website, the more chances you have to capture their contact information, or better yet, their dollars. Again, you’ll want to use those handy targeting options offered by the platforms to get your message in front of the right audience in order to entice them to click through to your site. Once there, you can gain more insight about them that you can utilize later for re-targeting ads.

If driving traffic to your site is your goal, make sure you have an action in mind for users to complete. For instance, you may want them to watch a promotional video to spread product awareness, maybe you want them to fill out a contact form to get more info, or maybe it’s as simple as you want them to make a purchase. Whatever the action is, you’ll want to make it clear in the ad and the lading page what you want the user to do once they are there.

Ad Examples:

  • Promote a short-term sale you are running to tempt users into making an immediate purchase or sign up for a consultation.
  • Use the platforms’ visual ad formats, like Facebook’s carousel or Instagram’s collection ads to showcase your product selection.

There is no clear winner when it comes to paid vs organic social media marketing. Both play key roles in a successful social media marketing strategy. If you’re not sure where to start with your social media marketing or you’re wanting to take your results to the next level, Amplified Digital can help! Let’s get started today!