Organic vs. Paid Social – Where to Put Your Money?

Social Media Marketing

 

Social Media has become synonymous with successful marketing strategies around the world. People who laughingly refused to market on Facebook ten years ago, are now flocking to social media pages to grab their share of pie. Through social media marketing, brands can access a larger and more diverse customer base across demographics. Social media has allowed marketers and brands to interact with their customers and prospects effortlessly, at half the expense of traditional methods.

A lot of companies struggle with social media marketing as they aren’t sure of whether to build their brand through organic or paid posts on social media. Having a better idea of what organic and paid marketing is and the impact each has, will help companies form a robust marketing strategy.

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So, lets dig in.

What is Organic and Paid Social Media?

Organic social media refers to the process of posting on social media without boosted distribution. This allows people to find such posts by themselves or through their friends and interests.

Paid social media refers to the process of posting on social media with boosted distribution. This allows posts to be targeted to specific demographics across a wider geographic reach.

Organic and Paid, What Each Brings to The Table?

Image Credit: Marketing LandImage Credit: Marketing Land

Organic and paid social media go hand-in-hand. It is important to have a healthy mix of organic and paid posts, as they are both important to maximise ROI.

Organic social media helps in maintaining online presence, community building, brand building and developing a brand voice. Regular posts and interactions are the necessary aspect of brand building, as they give a voice to the brand and also help create personalised interactions. Organic social also helps in creating brand validation. As people get more and more socially conscious, they are likely to check out a company’s social channels to identify the brand’s values and verify if those values align with their own. Social media channels also act as a platform to share the latest product updates, media quotes and articles with a wider audience.

On the other hand, paid social media helps fill the void that is left by organic social. Paid social media content lets you reach out to a wider audience, optimise for conversions and get quicker results. Paid social media also accelerates conversion by putting appealing content in front of a selected audience with a call to action.

Organic vs Paid-Which One to Go With?

Both organic and paid social media content are vital for a brand’s marketing strategy. As Scott Rogerson of Community Elf puts it, “If a company runs a paid social media campaign, the first thing that may happen is someone will click on the company’s profile. If the company doesn’t have organic content on its Facebook page, then the customer can’t learn anything about the company’s character. They most likely won’t click through to the company’s website or download its content.”

However, organic reach has reduced drastically over the last few years. For every 1,00,000 followers, as few as 2 percent of them are able to see organic posts. According to a study published by EdgeRank, the organic reach of Facebook pages dropped by 60 percent from 2012 to 2014. Additionally, a report by Social@Oglivy found that bigger brands had reach of just 2 percent on their social media posts.

Paid posts have proved time and again, that their reach and engagement was higher than organic posts by leaps and bounds. Take Wall Street Journal Facebook posts for example.

Social Media Marketing

Image Credit: Technology Advice

This post is paid content and has impressive number of likes and shares. On the other hand, take an organic post from WSJ for example.

Social Media Marketing

Image Credit: Technology Advice

The difference is obvious and proves the point that paid posts show far better results. This makes paid posts more cost effective than organic posts. The ROI is higher than organic, which pays off in the long run.

Across different social media platforms, the paid social content is better.  A company cannot post the same content across different platforms and expect good results. Each platform has its own specific audience and sensibilities. Paid posts help a company navigate through these factors easily to provide customised content for a diverse audience.

The landscape of social media marketing has changed. What was once a free utopia is now a vast battlefield with multiple brands looking for a victory. If you want to see your company perform well on social media, go for paid social content more as the return is higher.

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