Paid vs. Organic Posting: Striking a balance with your Social Media Program
When social media was a new concept, just about anything you posted would get a decent number of eyeballs on it. Now, as we have gotten used to social media and there is a TON of different apps out there, your business message can easily get lost in the sea of info.
As you probably know, utilizing PAID ads for your social media program can definitely get results, but it can also become expensive quickly. The key is to develop a social media program that combines effective organic social media activity with paid ads to help balance out your overall plan, so you achieve your desired goals WITHOUT blowing all your marketing budget in one fell swoop. Below are tips regarding each type of social media activity to help you organize an effective SM marketing plan that combines both organic activity and paid activity.
ORGANIC SOCIAL MEDIA
Organic simply means user generated content. This could be a simple blog post (such as you are reading right now), a text post on your business social media account, a self-shot picture or video showing something to do with your business etc. This activity should comprise the CORE of your social media marketing activity and can be handled by yourself, a team member, or an outsourced agency *such as Mid Atlantic Social Media & Marketing ?
Organic activity also included any replies to comments or messages by those who follow your accounts, so you want to have someone in charge who can respond quickly to any activity on your accounts AND who will also keep the accounts updated regularly. Because there is so much activity on social media these days, unless you are posting consistently (meaning daily and sometimes multiple times per day) your content can get lost. Here are some of the reasons why organic activity is vital for your social media program and some tips as to go about it effectively:
- It’s cost effective-The only thing that organic activity costs is your time or if you are paying an agency, you will spend money on their fees, but the cost associated is usually much less in comparison with social media ad fees. And while it is rare, an organic post can sometimes go viral and be shared with hundreds or even thousands of accounts thereby gaining serious visibility for your business with only 1 well-constructed post.
- It demonstrates authenticity-Organic activity shows that you care about your business and your audience and allows you to speak about specifics of your business and your team. This type of content can be seen as more valuable to building your brand vs. a paid ad that is designed only to sell your products & services.
- Organic helps to build & nurture your audience-When you speak directly to your target market, you can begin to develop a real relationship with them. You can listen to their needs, give insight into your business and help to build FANS of your business vs. just customers.
While the above certainly represent the PROS of organic social media activity, there are also some CONS as well…
- Your reach is limited-Due to the competitive aspect of businesses competing for your time AND the fact that social media companies push PAID content more so than organic (for obvious reasons) a simple organic post may not garner much reach at all. As such, it can be difficult to create content that sees a lot of activity for your business.
- Organic can be time intensive-Due to the above, organic activity can be quite a burden on the time of a business owner. Creating posts, choosing images, researching hashtags and keywords and making sure posts are created and scheduled DAILY can become a huge burden. This is one reason why many businesses outsource social media activity to firms who specialize in handling this for businesses.
Now let’s take a look at some of the positive aspects of PAID social media activity:
- Extensive reach-Paid ads can reach a lot of your audience, no question about it. Whereas an organic post may only be seen by a handful of your followers, a paid post or ad can be seen by EVERYONE who follows as well as their friends and others in your target market.
- Highly targeted activity-One awesome feature of paid social media activity is the ability to show your ad to a very specific group of people. Even if your page or account doesn’t have a large following, a paid ad can be targeted to the exact people you are looking to attract for your business. This can include gender, location, social media interests and more.
- Quick results-One of the main differences between organic and paid activity is the time in which you can expect results. Organic activity can take weeks and even months as you build an audience, nurture it, and begin to see real results whereas a paid ad can see activity within a period of just a few hours. If you are promoting a specific sale or event, a paid ad can get visitors to your website or offer extremely quickly.
OBVIOUSLY, one of the downsides with paid ads is simply the expense. Paid ad campaigns can take a bit of trial and error and can result in lost dollars as you figure out what ad and audience works best for your message.
As you can see, it is really necessary to include BOTH organic and paid as part of your social media program and achieving a balance is vital to ensure you maximize the positive activity your accounts receive and minimize both the time and money spent on the overall program. We at Mid Atlantic Social Media & Marketing work with each business to help strike that balance as we learn about their target market and create content to speak directly to them, as well as paid ads designed to illicit quick and profitable activity. Honing in and perfecting this balance over time ensure that a businesses social media account becomes more effective and profitable with and every passing month.