Despite all of the pressure that social networks are putting on brands to spend money on paid social in order to reach their audiences, it's important to understand that both organic and paid social media are needed to be truly successful.
Organic social media is the use of the free services and tools that each social media platform provides to its users. This includes posting status updates, links, and images with captions for your audience. The purpose of organic social media is to build a community of loyal followers and customers through posting relevant content, and interacting with those who interact with your brand. If you want to show customers your true values and culture, while also learning about the values of your customers, organic social media marketing is the best way to do so.
Paid social, meanwhile, is identified as paying for social media platforms to display advertisements or sponsored messages to users of the social network based on user profiles and characteristics, with each one of these advertisements or sponsored messages incurring a cost, depending on the type of ad served. For example, pay-per-click (PPC) ads incur a cost each time your ad is clicked by a user.
Before you dive head-first into your social media strategy implementation, you need to identify the ways in which you can connect your paid and organic efforts to ensure a streamlined user experience between those who see your advertisement and become interested, and thereafter visit your social profile to learn more.
Here are four ways you can complement your paid efforts with organic tactics to maxise your results.
1. Organic social boosts validity
When users see an advertisement on social media, the next step is usually to visit the brand's social media profile. If you don't have an organic social media strategy to augment paid efforts, you're most likely lacking in the areas of followers and engagement.
In addition, an organic strategy can assist with word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing as people will visit your social profile to see what others are saying about your brand. With 88% of people trusting online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts, and 81% of people saying they're influenced by what their friends share on social media, an organic social strategy is imperative to building positive brand perception and share-of-voice.
If you don't currently have an organic strategy which aims to constantly post content, engage with users, and address customer joys or concerns, the users you're targeting through paid efforts could discredit your brand's validity.
2. Organic social media is the only way to truly connect with potential customers once they're followers
While paid efforts help to spread awareness of your brand, organic efforts further connect you with your audience, which can reap long-term benefits.
Social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than paid marketing. One reason organic social media marketing is so effective is because brands and customers can learn about each other simultaneously, as both brands and consumers are posting and sharing content they feel is important or relevant to themselves.
In addition, if potential customers who found your brand through paid advertising have questions, they can connect with you directly through social. Using paid tactics also enables you to gain insights about the audience that best receives your messaging. In understanding these tactics and their results, you're better able to push organic messaging that aligns with your target audience's interests and demographics.
In this way, you're using paid and organic to complement, not replace, one another.
3. Organic social media is cost-effective and a long-term solution
No matter the size of your company and its budget, all companies begin at about the same starting line when they set out to market their brand on social media.
You don't need a large budget to be effective on social media, as the most effective social media accounts for brands are those who create the most clever, transparent, and attention-grabbing content - not necessarily the biggest spenders. In this way, the reach and success of your social media strategy is only limited by the creativity of your company and its marketers.
Engaging with your social media audience through organic efforts - such as answering questions, providing or responding to feedback, or simply starting a conversation about your brand - makes it easier for your brand to develop a strong reputation that's sustainable in the long-term.
4. If you don't start your organic growth now, you'll always be behind
If you haven't started strategizing your organic social content yet, you're already behind the curve - 91% of brands are already active on more than one social media platform, some 65 million businesses already have active Facebook Pages, and 84% of B2B marketers are using social media in some form.
The silver lining of this is that there's an abundance of successful social media stories and campaigns out there that you can research and learn from to help your brand set up a savvy social media strategy before just jumping right into it.
With social media being such an influential platform that customers use when deciding which brands to give their loyalty to, your social media profile needs to not only speak to your current audience, but also look and sound like your advertisements.
As you can see, for brands that want to be successful on social media, it's not a matter of choosing either paid or organic approaches - both need to be used strategically in order to reach your audiences and then maintain the relationship.
By using each type of social media marketing strategy in the best and most appropriate way, you can achieve great results by providing an engaging brand experience for your customers.