Social media continues to prove its importance in digital marketing campaigns. The channel isn’t all about content promotion and engagement anymore—it has grown to be a hub for lead generation, remarketing, and customer support portals for brands. In fact, 88% of all companies are already using social media for their marketing. If you haven’t done so yet, then you’re way behind.
If you know your way around the different platforms, you’d know that with the right strategies, it’s possible to generate organic traffic for your website or drive customer engagement from social media. However, using paid campaigns can give your pages a big boost in visibility as well.
As a digital marketer, you have to be proficient in choosing which of the two methods to deploy to reach the metrics you’re gunning for. To help you decide, you should learn more about organic and paid social media strategies below.
Organic vs. Paid Social Media Strategy
An organic social media strategy encapsulates any social media marketing effort that is free—no ad spend nor fees are required to boost a post. This means that the audience you reach will be existing followers or people who have opted in to subscribe to your brand’s content. Traction will be dependent on the actions of those who see your post, such as sharing or tagging people in the comments section.
A paid social media strategy, as the name suggests, covers any action on a post that uses money for boosting. These posts usually have a “Sponsored” tag. Using this strategy can broaden your target market and get your desired audience to see your posts, and maybe even perform a desired action such as clicks or sign-ups.
How Do They Differ?
A distinct difference in these strategies is that one requires ad spend while the other does not. Choosing one over the other will naturally have an impact on the results of your campaign. Below are some common social media marketing efforts and which of the two strategies can better help each action.
1. Community management
Community management refers to the continuous online engagement your brand has with your customers. This can happen through the comments sections of social media posts, online discussion threads, and exclusive groups (ex. Facebook, LinkedIn) of your industry or those created by your company.
Responding to those comments and creating brand relationships are better done through organic efforts than paid. For one, customers are aware of the sponsored tags on posts. Cultivating conversations on organic posts come off more natural for customers.
2. Brand building
If you’re a new company, it’s quite tricky to circulate your brand’s name in the digital world. With the barrage of information that users see on their feeds every day, it’s easy for users to miss your post.
This is where paid tactics come into play. With the proper audience targeting customization and budget size, it will be easy for you to reach potential customers who may have an interest in your brand. Doing this via organic methods may result in slower ROI, especially since social media algorithms now prioritize accounts or pages with boosted posts over those without.
Retargeting is a critical digital marketing strategy—it can increase branded search by 1046%. But for you to retarget audiences effectively, you must deploy paid social media tactics. You’ll be able to customize your post to be displayed to people who have visited your page recently, or those who like similar interests.
4. Content Marketing
Content marketing has broad coverage, but in essence, it’s defined as posts that present value to the reader. Both organic and paid strategies can contribute to this—preferably in that order.
With an established audience, you can create posts that incite engagement and keep the conversation going as natural as possible. For article links that you want to share, you can use paid tactics so that more people can see that your page offers relevant and useful content. This can also attract new followers and improve the performance of your organic posts in the future.
5. Lookalike Audiences
Targeting lookalike audiences is a paid feature on social media advertising platforms, like Facebook. It helps you reach other users on the social network who closely resemble the profiles of your existing followers. This is a great lead generation and brand awareness tactic that can help boost your brand name in the platform’s extensive user base.
6. Interest-based Targeting
Last but not least, there’s interest-based targeting. Similar to lookalike audiences, you can use paid campaigns to target audiences based on self-identified interests. For instance, if you are selling bags and shoes, then you can choose to target users who have expressed an interest in fashion. This will result in more clicks for promoted ads through the platform.
A Balancing Act
Organic isn’t dead—it helps promote brand authenticity and trust. However, paid efforts produce ROI higher and faster.
The truth is, you need both organic and paid social media strategies to reach your marketing goals. As the examples above illustrated, some social media actions perform better using organic methods, and some with paid. The key is to strike a balance between the two and identify which actions need which strategy.