Digital / Pounce Marketing / Social Media Marketing

Organic vs. Paid Social media? We tell you how to choose


Organic vs. paid social media – what does your business need? Most people waste time thinking about choosing between the two – which is pretty understandable since the choice is quite tricky.

But actually, the correct answer is that you need a bit of both to achieve your goals.

Organic and paid social media both are equally essential tools that help businesses cover a wide range of functions. Do you want to create awareness? Organic social ads are here. Do you want to increase website traffic? Paid social ads have got your back.

So, if you’re thinking of entering the digital marketing industry, this is the right time to do so. With almost everything going online, you can integrate both strategies into each other and make your ad campaigns stand out.

Let’s get a deeper insight into this.

Organic vs. paid social media: Which is your digital saviour?

Before choosing one, you need to know the difference between both types of social media.

Organic social media

Organic social media is the free content that every social media user, including businesses, share on their newsfeeds. This includes videos, photos, memes, stories, tweets, snaps and many more.

Businesses use organic social media for a variety of reasons, but most of all, it’s because it is free. You don’t have to spend a single penny on posting organically to your account or in reaching out to potential customers. Quite simply, it is the first step towards digital marketing.

Some reasons why businesses use organic social media are:

  • Establishing their brand image and creating awareness
  • Showcasing their offerings to a large number of social media users and building relationships with them
  • Staying connected with customers throughout their purchase journey

When you post organically on social media, three types of people can view your content, including:

  • Your followers, also known as organic reach
  • Your followers’ followers, when your followers share your posts
  • People following or using your hashtags

With 3.96 billion social media users, organic reach may not be successful most of the time. Since the digital transformation has saturated social media platforms, many businesses are now looking for different ways to be “seen” and “recognised” by their customers.

And that’s where paid social media comes into its own.

Paid social media

Basically, this is advertising through social media platforms, but at a cost. This means you’ll need to pay money to the social media platform you want to share your content on.

By using paid advertising, you’ll know your target audience, and can then target them more effectively by either boosting your organic content or designing a new one. You can also post different types of ads specifically targeted to the people interested in your brand.

Since the pandemic, social media users have significantly increased their screen time on social media. They now prefer online shopping through ecommerce stores.

So, how do users know about an eCommerce store? Yes, you guessed it right, through paid ads.

Businesses don’t only use paid advertising to target potential audiences. They also use it to:

  • Create brand awareness
  • Establish new followers or customers base
  • Promote their newly-launched product, deal, or event
  • Increase website traffic
  • Generate leads and increase conversion rate

Upsides and Downsides of Organic vs. Paid Social Media

Organic and paid social advertising both have some pros and cons that every business needs to know before choosing one.

Why Organic social media advertising should be your choice

  • Super-affordable
  • Requires less attention and fewer efforts to manage
  • Increases website traffic
  • Builds trust of customers and enhances credibility
  • Targets a large audience
  • Generates higher return on investment (ROI) in the long term

Why you shouldn’t consider social media advertising

  • Requires more time to give results
  • Not easy to analyse or optimise

So, how is paid social media advertising going to help you?

  • Give instant results
  • Easy to manage and optimise
  • Provides detailed analytics
  • Effective audience targeting
  • Generates quick and high ROI

Reasons why you shouldn’t consider social media advertising

  • More expensive
  • Requires more attention and maintenance

Simply put, if you are tight on budget and have enough time to receive results, organic social advertising would be the best bet for you. On the other hand, if you have a bigger budget and need instant results, you should go for paid social advertising.

Why should you combine Organic and Paid social media for your digital campaigns’ success?

The main purpose of an integrated social strategy is to cater to the needs of your existing customers organically while targeting new ones with paid ads.

Undoubtedly, paid and organic content are the two foundations of an effective social media marketing strategy.

According to a BrightEdge study, paid and organic search generate more than 70% of revenues for most B2B businesses.

Moreover, it also stated that organic advertising contributes to 53% of website traffic, while 15% of the traffic comes from paid advertising.

Of course, these statistics are the industry averages, not solid figures.

Yet, the study showed how a business must use a combined organic and paid social strategy to increase its revenue as a whole.

Here are a few things you must keep in mind while formulating an integrated social and organic marketing strategy:

Save your money from monetising every promotional post

Before investing your money in paid ads, determine if this ad can actually help you reach your objectives and goals. Remember that paid ads aren’t the only option; you can also create and post engaging content organically that persuades people to share.

Suppose you’re just about to launch your new collection. To inform your followers about it, you don’t have to use paid ads. Instead, create interesting posts, attractive videos, and publish backstage stories – all organically.

For example, ZARA launched its new woman collection as an organic post on Facebook.

Many companies also use organic social media to compete with each other with fun banter. Who doesn’t know about the Burger King vs. McDonald’s war?

However, in 2019, Burger King announced on social media that it is joining hands with its counterpart to support its charity cause.

“A day without Whopper.” Classic, no?

With that being said, if your organic strategy isn’t taking you closer to your goals, you definitely need to invest in paid ads.

Boost organic wins to your paid strategy

The best way to move towards paid strategy is identifying your organic wins (content popular among your target audience) and promoting them with paid ads. This reduces risks as you don’t have to develop an ad separately for your paid campaign.

To determine which organic posts should be boosted, you need to run through your analytics report. See which posts have received the most number of likes, conversions, views, etc.

Once you identify, allocate a small budget and boost them weekly or monthly.

Retargeting Ads to keep your organic audience your best friend

Retargeting ads are directed towards people who already have know-how about your business or have interacted with you before.

They could be people who just visited your social media or website organically or those who added your products to carts but didn’t purchase them.

This approach is relatively cost-effective since you are not attracting new customers.

Retargeting ads remind your organic audience about your brand. These ads convince them to return, sign up, or make a purchase.

Don’t forget the three crucial steps: Automate, Analyse and Optimise

This is the most important step that could make or break your social media strategy. So, while allocating all your money in a paid ad, distribute it into chunks and invest each into two or three ad samples.

Now, publish these test ads and see how they perform.

Pay close attention to the CTA, visuals, reactions, ad placement, and audience targeting. Additionally, you can also test these ads based on different audience demographics, such as age, gender, and location.

Once you’re satisfied with the ad’s performance, you can then post it to a larger audience.

But wait, your job doesn’t end here. After posting an ad, you need to use good social media analytics tools to measure the ad’s performance. These tools also help you identify your shortcomings and give you suggestions to improve them.

For example, Facebook Analytics helps you review your organic and paid content simultaneously, as well as giving you deeper insights about your ad’s performance metrics, and generating reports.

By analysing your performance, you can optimise your ad campaign and change what is not working for you.

Finally, you need to focus on automation since a combined paid, and organic social media strategy comes with everything a little more – more money, workload, and time consumption.

Thus, you must maintain a balance among every business function to focus on the most important things. To automate your workload, you can design a content schedule, assign the posts to different dates, and publish them when the time comes.

Alternatively, you can also set up custom notifications for boosted posts.

Develop an integrated social media campaign to make a home in your audience’s hearts and minds

Organic and paid social media are equally crucial in developing an efficient marketing strategy. While organic social advertising is cheaper and helps create awareness, paid social advertising requires money to target audiences more accurately.

When advertisers use a combined organic and paid social marketing strategy, they simply add more value to their campaign.

An integrated strategy works amazingly to boost organic posts, retarget customers, and optimise an ad campaign – all at once!

However, you have to make extra efforts to manage both organic and paid ads simultaneously. Although Facebook provides a deep analysis of ad performance, some people still find it pretty challenging to manage.

Still don’t know how to manage your organic and paid social media campaign? Hit us with a message or a call and allow Pounce to help you out.

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