Deciding between an organic or paid social media strategy can be challenging, but embracing both organic content and paid campaigns together may be the most effective choice as social media increasingly becomes a pay-to-play channel.
Dec 24, 2023
Organic and paid social media are two distinct approaches used by brands to reach and engage with their audience on social media platforms. Organic social media refers to the natural, unpaid use of these platforms to build and engage a community. This includes posting content, such as updates, photos, and stories, that appears in followers' feeds without paying for advertising through the platform's ad offerings. Organic social media relies on high-quality content, consistency, and effective strategies to demonstrate they will create engagement with users and grow your account followers. In contrast, paid social media involves paying for advertisements or sponsored content to appear in the feeds of a specific target audience, regardless of whether they follow the brand's page. Paid social media provides immediate reach and is often used for specific marketing campaigns or to boost visibility in a crowded digital space. This approach allows for precise targeting based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, offering quicker visibility and measurable results.
Organic Social Media is Difficult
While organic social media is increasingly more difficult for brands, this can also reflect a lack of content quality in organic content shared by brands. Meaningful engagement from organic content requires brands to create accessible and high-quality information, which does not always translate well outside of business priorities that determine social media investment. Many businesses prioritize immediate impact and sales goals, which are more easily measurable and achievable through paid social media. As a consequence, the time and resources needed to develop impactful organic content is often deprioritized. This creates a cycle where the lack of investment in quality organic content leads to reduced effectiveness, further reinforcing the preference for paid strategies. To avoid content quality issues, a realistic assessment of content strategy and trying new approaches will help balance business objectives and more effective investment in the creation of meaningful, engaging social content. Promotional organic posts, like product launches or new features, have their place. These can be strategically used without feeling intrusive, blending seamlessly with your overall social media presence.
Advantages of Organic Social Media
Organic social media is a vital part of a brand's digital strategy despite content challenges, algorithm preference for advertising, and frequent platform changes. Organic social content offers a unique opportunity for brands to promote themselves and their products without paying for each impression. While promotional messages do not perform well compared to other types of content, brands are still able promote their products or services with careful planning. The best approach is to minimize promotional content and invest in organic social media content that provides value in other ways, or at least in such a way that an average consumer will equate it to a sales pitch. This approach fosters a more authentic and meaningful connection with your audience, enhancing brand loyalty and trust in a way that paid advertising cannot replicate.
Any content your handle shares and receives engagement for will help raise brands awareness. Social media content goes hand and hand with your organic presence. This provides you with an opportunity to showcase your brand's unique personality, making your business more relatable and memorable. Brands and businesses achieve their most effective engagement on social media by focusing on authentic methods of delivering value, such as educating, motivating, and entertaining their audience. This approach establishes your brand identity as a source of reliable information, inspiration, and enjoyment, and also creates signals for the respective platform feed algorithm which will help your overall visibility.
Interacting with your audience through organic social media content offers a unique chance to connect on a more personal and authentic level. When a consumer chooses to engage with your organic channels, this interaction is driven more by their affinity for your brand or willingness to engage with your content in a meaningful way. By actively responding to comments and messages, you demonstrate attentiveness and create a sense of community among your followers. Taking this further to showcase user-generated content adds another layer of authenticity and trust to your brand image. Additionally, interactive events such as a live video session or Q&A event can provide a unique engagement opportunity which can be more meaningful through real-time communication with your audience.
Over half of today's consumers actively engage with brands through social media, making customer and community management an essential aspect of a brand's organic online presence. This interaction provides a direct and cost-free way for customers to connect with brands, offering instant feedback, inquiries, and engagement. As a result, maintaining a responsive and interactive social media presence is crucial for brands to meet customer expectations and foster community relationships. This need for direct, organic interaction remains highly valued, and many brands and businesses have active customer service channels through their social media handles. It also allows you to understand your audience's needs and preferences with a new qualitative layer of data, leading to more tailored and effective communication strategies.