We’re often asked the question – “which is better: organic social media or paid social?” As social media managers, we come across business owners of all shapes and sizes with one common goal – to grow their brand using social media. However, it’s interesting to see these businesses take wildly different approaches to social.
Some businesses choose to focus solely on organic, opting to spend time posting content across various channels, whereas others are all about pumping money into paid ads. However, if you want to get the most out of social media, combining both organic and paid is crucial.
It’s massively short-sighted to focus just on paid social media. Any adverts that you run on social are posted and run under your business page, making it critical to have a strong organic strategy set in place.
In this blog we’ll take a look at how powerful the two sides of social can be when used in synergy, and how damaging it can be to neglect either aspect.
First off, let’s take a very basic look at what makes up each side of social media.
Aspects of Organic Social media
- Posting regular, quality content
- Responding to comments and messages
- Using hashtags to join conversations
- Social listening
Organic social is essential because it allows you to build and maintain an online presence. Posting valuable content and interacting with your audience will help you create an engaged community of fans, who in time can be nurtured into loyal brand ambassadors. When you put in time, care and attention, organic social can become invaluable to your business. What’s more, it’s incredibly rewarding.
Aspects of Paid Social
- Developing bespoke advertising campaigns
- Making use of powerful targeting
- Retargeting users and building custom audiences
- Paying to reach more users
Paid social can be massively effective when done right. When you put your ad budget in the hands of the experts, you can push out multi-faceted campaigns that hit the right people at the right time. Intelligent tracking will allow you to build custom audiences and retarget them with exclusive offers and products. With ad types to suit a huge range of objectives, paid social is versatile and powerful.
Sure, paid social has the ability to offer immediate results that, often, are worth paying for. However, organic social is a cost-effective long-term solution, but it takes work. Ultimately, combining the benefits of each type of social will generate you the best possible results.
Don’t Be Blinded by Dollar Signs – Organic Social Media is VITAL
If paid social is so great, why don’t people just throw all their cash at that? When people see the incredible results that can be generated by paid social, often they want to put all their budgets into powerful ads. However, this misses the point of social media marketing entirely. Social media is about engaging with people, joining conversations and building relationships. Simply posting adverts and not paying attention to your business page will look cheap and damage your customer relationships in the long run.
People who have seen your adverts may well check out your social page to see if your brand looks reputable. If you haven’t posted content for months, they might think you’re dodgy. Similarly, if a user messages your page with a query after seeing your ad, failing to respond could easily lose you a potential sale. It’s a no brainer, organic is crucial to making social work.
On the other hand, paid social is crucial to ensure that your social presence is growing, and that your content gets seen by a wider audience. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a massive amount of followers, you will need to spend some money to have your voice heard. Thinking strategically rather than throwing money at boosted posts is crucial to get the most bang for your buck.
Retargeting – A Powerful Tool for Any Marketer
An effective way to combine paid and organic social is to retarget users who have engaged with your content. Retargeting is a method used by any advertiser worth their salt, and it’s simple to do. First up, post a really great piece of content. If you have a decent following, or you nail your hashtags, it should get a decent organic response. You can then use advertising to retarget any users who have engaged with the post with an advert. This ad could promote an offer, or the product featured in the post. Ever seen those ads that seem to follow you around the internet? Yep, that’s a form of retargeting. Clever, right?
How to Strike the Balance
We could go into massive detail here, but we’ll keep it short and sweet. There’s an art to social media marketing, but there are some basic golden rules to follow. Here goes:
- Post regular, quality content onto your page
- Reply to all comments, messages and reviews
- Implement a hashtag strategy
- Promote successful content
- Build sales funnels and advertising campaigns, targeting your desired audience(s)
- Retarget people who have engaged with your organic content and put ads in front of them
What DMT Think
We asked our organic and paid teams what they think about the issue, and where they’d put their money. Let’s see where their loyalties lie!
“As a content writer, I find it rather frustrating to see the phrase ‘death of organic’ being thrown around. Yes, organic may not produce big profits, but it does something just as important and that’s giving your brand a voice and an avenue to speak with your customers. Quality content is so important and paid social simply wouldn’t work without it. Take the time for unique, engaging content and you won’t have to always rely on advertising to share your products – your customers will do it for you.” – Aimee, Head of Content
“Organic and paid social media—you shouldn’t have one without the other. A solid organic strategy improves your online presence and reputation, and a paid strategy increases your brand’s reach and awareness to targeted audiences. When managing both aspects of social media correctly, business can reap huge awards both socially and financially. Some of our best-performing E-commerce clients are achieving £50+ ROI figures as a result of mastering both sides of the social media advertising coin: Organic and Paid.” – Matt, Paid Social Exec
“Organic and paid social hugely complement each other. Running ads on a brand that has little to no activity on organic social channels does not encourage the consumer to engage with the brand in the long term. Whereas if you have no paid activity on a solely organic channel, content will struggle to fully reach your audience, due to Facebook’s algorithm. An ad is very different to organic content on social channels, but both are needed for balance” – Eleanor, Head of Paid Social
To sum up, it’s important to deliver a balanced social media strategy to get the best results. Paid social isn’t a guaranteed win without planning, thought and attention, and even a stunning campaign will struggle without a brilliant organic social media strategy to back it up!
If you need help with your business’ social media, get in touch!