© Digital Storyteller 2020
© Digital Storyteller 2020
There are two types of marketing available to businesses today: paid marketing and organic marketing. Paid and organic social media are different tools that achieve varying end goals. That being said, it’s critical to understand the pros and cons of both. We introduce you to “Paid vs. Organic Social Media: A Complete Guide.”
Unlike organic social media, paid social media is, well, exactly that, paid.
Paid social media marketing includes posting paid advertisements on social sites and paying to boost existing posts to reach a greater audience of viewers. For example, we’re sure you’ve received an Instagram ad or Facebook ad.
More recently, paid social marketing has increased as consumers have grown more comfortable with the experience of buying directly from their Instagram feeds, for example. Where ads may have once been seen as an annoyance or clogging one’s feed, the ability to target such specific audiences has become a foot in the door for successful paid advertising.
In fact, the best paid social media marketing likely means that at a first glance you didn’t even realize it was an ad! In cases like this, the business targeting you deserves a round of applause. Ads that come off naturally, and not salesy, are the goal when it comes to paid social media marketing.
Overall, paid social media advertising is best suited to target new audiences and convert them into clients. Paid social advertising is commonly used to accomplish the following:
While one option is to attract a new audience, reaching outside of your business’s typical bubble, most often, the best use of paid social media advertising is to target audiences that have already shown an interest in relevant topics.
For example, in running a paid ad campaign on Instagram, a recently opened vegan bakery might target local audiences that have recently liked or saved vegan recipes. They know, based on this audience’s previous behavior, that they would likely be interested in their vegan bakery.
To provide a further example… If someone were trying to attract Digital Storyteller, (or any of our employees for that matter!), they might show us an ad for a monthly wine or chardonnay subscription. Well… Because everyone knows we love ourselves a glass! Oh wow, you didn’t know that? Well, it’s time for you to check out our awesome Chardonnay Review series with Andrew Marr, Digital Storyteller’s Owner and CEO.
In this case, organic doesn’t mean twice as expensive—thank goodness! However, your content WILL be healthier than your competition’s through the use of organic social media marketing. But first, what is it?
Organic social media marketing includes the ‘free’ content that your brand shares to your unique accounts. Well, free in terms of money. Organic content creation requires a great deal of time and effort.
The content that you include in your organic strategy may include blog posts, video, visual graphics, infographics, client testimonials, the list goes on. When your business shares organic content to your social media channels, you can assume that it will be seen by one of the following consumers:
As a business, organic social media marketing should be at the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. But why? “Because [organic marketing is] the best way to nurture a connection with your customers at scale.”
Businesses use organic social media tactics to establish their brand voice, build relationships, engage with prospects and clients, and provide stellar customer service.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these.
Establishing your brand voice is ideally something you want to do before rolling out your organic social media marketing strategy. Your brand voice determines so much! Your brand voice is the distinct and consistent personality that your business takes on.
Coca-Cola, for example, has a great and clear brand voice. “The Coca-Cola voice is positive, friendly, and down-to-earth… On the market for over 130 years, [their voice’s] purpose [is] to evoke happiness. You can see polar bears, families getting together to have dinner (and a Coke) or friends dancing and smiling—in every marketing campaign you’ll see the concept of happy-life.”
Think about it this way, you probably talk to your Grandma a little differently than your best friend.
Inviting Grandma over for dinner might sound something like, “Hi, Grandma! I’d love it if you joined me for dinner at my house on Friday night at 7 pm” whereas making plans with your buddies might sound more like, “Hey man, wanna grab a pizza Friday?”
Although this example might not be exactly the case with everyone, you can understand the differentiation based on who you’re planning to address. Determining your brand voice works the same way. Identifying your brand voice should start with pinpointing WHO you’re targeting and go from there.
Lastly, making sure your brand voice aligns with your business’s values and goals is critical.
Take a minute to think about those few Instagram accounts or select news pages you’ve always followed on social media. Chances are there have been other news outlets or Instagram accounts that pop up, however, the accounts that you’ve been following longer, you’re more likely to trust and support.
Establishing a following base with whom you can build a relationship is critical. Ideally, you want to become a source that your followers look forward to seeing content from.
Maybe you post a weekly #MarketingMonday video, or consistently share new inventive vegan recipes. Whatever the case, your organic social media content should be a resource that helps build relationships your followers are equally as invested in.
Social media has changed the name of the game for marketers. While we once may not have been able to determine who we’re talking to and who actually views and appreciates our content, social media has provided the insight of every analyst’s dreams.
Growing your business’s organic social media presence and social network creates a platform for your consumers to engage with your brand. Whether it be getting feedback, growing relationships, or otherwise, having conversations with your audience through social media is key to ongoing organic growth.
Stellar customer service is an important aspect of every business. Whether B2B or B2C, ensuring customer satisfaction is the backbone of a successful business. That being said, it can cause frustration when clients don’t know where to turn to gain the support they need to solve problems and answer questions.
Social media can help.
Social media, for many, is often the most reliable source of information. The public nature of social platforms makes them a quickly accessible way for clients or prospects to directly get in touch with a brand. When we’re busy planning a company retreat or Happy Hour for our team, chances are we check social media for reviews and photos.
Additionally, when clients or prospects have issues or challenges, many turn to social media to have their problems solved. Whether it be tweeting Chipotle for forgetting your guac or DMing Nordstrom about a delayed package, social media is the perfect platform for quick, easy problem-solving.
While organic marketing has significant upsides and success factors, there are some notable flaws in pursuing a strictly organic strategy. Due to the ranking algorithms of social media platforms, not all of your content will be seen by all of your followers.
The recent decline in organic reach is due largely in part to the social platforms pushing to create a user experience that is both “meaningful” and “responsible.” The goal is to show followers more of what they like and want to see, which is determined by their ongoing engagement.
When a user likes, comments on, saves, or shares your posts, it tells the algorithms that they like that content. Based on their engagement, the platforms prioritize similar content with regards to content, hashtags, and accounts.
Getting your content to reach as many eyes as possible is the ultimate goal, and this is where paid social media tactics come in.
In many cases, the best practice is to implement a strategy that combines both paid and organic social media efforts. Keep reading for a few tips to consider when making the decision of how best to incorporate both.
Not all of your posts need to be boosted and paid. Best practice is to identify your best, strongest organic content, then boost that.
You may decide to boost a specific post that’s focused on an upcoming launch or product update, but your most relevant post during a given timeline may just be a well-crafted organic post that appeals to your target audience and builds a positive relationship.
Regardless of what you decide to boost, how often, and how much funding you allocate towards paid social media marketing, all of your posts should be properly optimized. Even a paid post can perform exceptionally well if it’s well optimized for your target audience.
Posts can be optimized in many different ways:
Overall, optimization is key to ensuring the best possible performance of your content.
We recommend building your organic audience before jumping into paid advertising. By analyzing your organic audience you can answer questions like: Who is looking at my posts? Where does my audience live? What is my audience interested in?
These questions can help tailor your content for the future to ensure that it’s best suited for both your existing audience and the audience members you’d like to earn.
In a perfect world, organic marketing would be everything. But in many cases, organic social media doesn’t provide the booming results many businesses strive for. That’s where paid is brought in.
Once your organic audience is identified, the goal is to continue growing your audience within that very same bucket. Paid social media is helpful in doing exactly that.
One of the most important aspects of both paid and organic social media marketing is to track your results. What’s performing and what’s not? What posts led to the great increase in profile visits? Which produced the greatest increase in new followers?
Paying close attention to the type of content that performs the best for your unique audience is critical as you continue to invest more time and money into ongoing content marketing. Social media channels collect an unreal amount of data from their users, much of which is available for review and analysis by marketers. Take advantage of it!
For more on how you can implement organic content creation to grab your clients’ attention, read on.
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