With the beginning of the new financial year just around the corner, many businesses will be considering budget allocations and spending for the coming year. Long gone are the days when social media was deemed an afterthought. Instead, it is now the primary way we humans communicate and interact, whether it is with each other or businesses we use. As such, anyone in business with something to sell or share must be using some form of social media advertising to remain competitive. This basically boils down to two main forms of social media advertising: paid and organic.
Which type of content is best for your business? Where does the line between paid social media and organic content overlap for the best results?
Paid Vs. Organic Social Media
First things first, paid organic media is not free. Sure, you do not have to pay to post or to share it, but you have to take the time (or pay for someone else’s) in order to create a post that is worth reading and sharing etc.. i.e. something of value. As social media mogul, Gary Vee, often says “content is king” and this is because regular and genuine content allows us to interact at large with our audience. Without it, there is just old school advertising (only online).
Nothing happens in business unless someone asks for the sale – this is why “marketing is queen”. The biggest paid social media platforms include Facebook and Google ads campaigns. They are more targeted and can guarantee certain levels of exposure and to hit certain metrics i.e. Facebook can allow you to set a budget to reach X amount of people over a certain amount of time. However, competition for online advertising space is fierce and costly.
The New Marketing Mix: Feed the feed.
As the largest platform, lets use Facebook as an example of mixing organic and paid content. Both your organic and paid advertising originates from and will be seen in your feed. The key is to integrate organic content as well as paid content in the feed to keep it interesting and engaging. Whilst a paid ad may find and attract a customer, many will want to ‘click further’ to get a better understanding of you or your services. Now more than ever, buyers review your organic content before taking action.
Whatever metric it is you rely on (sales, conversions, subscriptions, or new followers) you will need a consistent and good mix of paid and organic content to attract and grow your results.
Make Ad Copy Align and Keep the Message on Brand
If you are advertising a special offer on Instagram, make sure that if the ad redirects to your website or fan page, it has the same message and look as the original engagement so that there is no confusion. Naturally, this applies to across all platforms that you are using. Whilst all platforms have a different culture of communication, make sure that your message is consistent and authentic across platforms. Keep in mind your brand guidelines and the culture of your service and offering – as well as the platform you are posting on.
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Target New and Existing Customers with both Paid and Organic Social Media.
Paid social media is not all about gaining new customers. In many cases, paid-for content is directly retargeting previous clients who have shown interest in a service or product before. At the same time, organic content e.g. an informative blog, may include very useful information someone finds on a Google search, which eventually leads them to you. The key is, both forms of content are important to drive existing and new business.
Test and Measure
Many businesses make the mistake of only tracking paid advertising and forget about organic. As mentioned earlier, there is a real cost to organic content creation and therefore the results of these efforts should be tracked with the same focus and importance. Overtime, this allows you to determine trends and and responses to your content, and leads to improved and more relevant content creation. It also allows your the date to compare the ROI between paid for and organic content creation.
Organic Content Develops your Paid Content.
What works in your feed and resonates amongst your tribe can be used to develop future paid advertising campaigns. If a blog or video has overwhelming engagement, then it may indicate what would likely be successful in a Youtube paid campaign or sponsored Facebook video.
Every business is different. Some will rely more on paid advertising whilst others will rely more on organic. The key is not to only use one method exclusively. Set your overall budget, and then test, measure and find the optimum balance between paid and organic that works best for you and your goals. And remember, one you do once rarely works in social media. Commit to a long term overall social media strategy and go for it!