Social media marketing efforts and campaigns can be divided into two main identifiable categories; organic social media and paid social media.
While social media paid advertising has been on the rise for the last few years to the point that you may have heard the expression ‘you have to pay to play’, we strongly stand by our belief that organic social media is not dead.
In this article, you will learn
- What organic social media is
- How organic and paid social media work together
- Tips to increase your organic reach
What is Organic Social Media?
The word ‘organic’ itself means
“relating to or derived from living matter” and “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.”
Thus organic means natural, living, without additives or chemicals.
Add the word social media to the word organic and you should see a picture emerge of what ‘organic social media’ means.
Organic social media is a way of posting to social networks without the addition of paid campaigns or advertising boosts; it’s a natural way of posting, promoting and sharing social media content online.
Organic vs Paid Social
When we compare organic vs paid social, there are many similarities and only one big difference.
Let’s start with things that are the same since there are so many similarities
Organic and paid social both
- Need social media strategy to work
- Require a content strategy
- Promote a product or service
- Can be found across all social media channels
- Enhance the online presence of a business, brand or person
- Work for any type of content
- Help with SEO efforts
- Can be found across all social networks
As for the differences, here it is.
- Organic social media is free, paid social media is not
Are you surprised it is that simple?
You should not be.
While strategy for organic social and paid social is vastly different, both types of content need the same ingredients to work!
Great copy, the right keywords, amazing visuals, a well-researched and executed campaign and a solid content distribution plan.
If you are a social media manager and you truly believe that organic social media is dead, we recommend you go back to class!
Organic Social Media Efforts Enhance Paid Social
This statement clarifies why posting organic content is crucial to a successful paid campaign.
Someone who is targeted online by a sponsored post or paid ad will often go search for this company online after clicking through but before making a purchase.
This ‘social proof’ they are looking for is the way the next generation of consumers shops; more often than not, a consumer in 2019 relies on online reviews, a social media presence, as well as peers and influencers to tell them what to buy, where to shop or what to brand to support.
If the brand running an ad has zero online presence, no organic marketing strategy, no organic posts to engage their (new) audience, the most likely outcome will be no sale.
“Organic social is where you build and foster a positive community around your brand. This is the place to answer questions, deal with criticism, and graciously accept praise. It’s a place to share news and updates, and to reward your customers and followers for taking the time to engage with you.”
Organic traffic and paid traffic are not mutually exclusive.
Your organic posts on your social media platforms will help your Facebook Ads, your Pinterest Promoted Pin, your LinkedIn Ad (you get the point) perform better.
Tips To Increase Organic Reach
Organic reach can be increased by doing many small things that together make a big difference.
In a previous article, we shared 11 ways to organically increase Facebook Likes. The goal of increasing likes is to enhance the Facebook Page’s audience and thus reach.
Content plays an important part in increasing organic reach. One way to accomplish increased organic reach is to create more evergreen content. Evergreen content is defined as content that is always relevant, and not tied to a season or trending topic and is not dated. Content also needs to be engaging and shareable.
Activate your communities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to help increase your reach without paying! Sharing your content to these communities will help you reach more people and help your content be seen by more people.
One Additional Tip From an Ad Specialist
We are not going to get into the debate about Facebook boosting vs ads in this article. There are situations that warrant boosting vs ad placement and vice versa.
A great tip to increase reach is to boost a well-performing organic post.
We always recommend you test anything and everything for yourself, no matter who provided the info. If your goal is to reach a new audience and bring awareness to your Facebook Page and brand, boosting a well-performing organic post can do that.
NOTE: Wait at least 24 hours for the organic post to get some traction before boosting that post to get the most out of it!
Web Traffic is Traffic is Traffic…
Content marketing, as in blogging, still remains an effective way of driving traffic to your website.
Isn’t that the end goal of most paid marketing campaigns?
Search engines are crawling sites 24/7 looking for new content; evergreen content is necessary in order to be found online by these search engines.
While consumers are seemingly spending less time engaging with blog content, blogging is still a great (organic) content marketing strategy to drive web traffic and enhance SEO.
While online conversations have shifted from forums to blog comments to social media sites, to vibrant communities in a span of just a few years, consumers are still Googling for answers.
Blog articles account for a lot of free traffic to websites.
That’s all organic.
The Bottom Line
A small business with a small marketing budget might feel the pressure to choose organic vs paid social.
We highly encourage small business owners to consider running complementary organic and paid campaigns.
A social media manager and Facebook Ad specialist hired separately should be encouraged to work together to reach the desired results.
In order for multiple people to work on multiple campaigns for one brand, it is imperative that a social media strategic plan is in place before any content is created or any ads are run.
Can one person be in charge of both organic and paid social?
That is something only the professional in question can answer.
In the marketing industry, we find a lot of subject experts.
Someone who is a brilliant copywriter might not be great at taking photographs while an organic content manager might loathe placing Facebook ads and a graphic designer might despise video editing.
Stick with what you know best, and expect your specialists to do the same.
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You’ll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.