Why Organic Posting Is Not Enough & Paid Social Media Needs a Place in Your Marketing Strategy

Technology has been trending towards fewer in-person social interactions, but COVID-19 is permanently changing how we live. The restrictions have made social media strategy quite crucial for businesses. Now more than ever, online social networks are extremely prevalent as a communications and marketing tool. For individuals, social media channels allow friends and families to stay connected but for daily life, it provides an affordable and convenient tool for consumers. For businesses, with more people online more frequently, not having both an organic social media presence and a targeted paid strategy is a big miss that allows competitors an opportunity to get ahead.

Below are some stats provided by Sprout Social that align with why we, as businesses utilizing digital marketing to reach, connect with, and target our audience, need to have a paid social media strategy.

  • 70% of Gen Xers will purchase something from a brand they follow on social media
  • 30% of Millennials will engage with a brand on social media once a month
  • 60% of Baby Boomers are looking for promotions on social media

According to Animoto’s latest survey, 58% of consumers visit a brand’s social pages before ever visiting their website. And that’s an 81% increase from last year! When these consumers visit your social pages, it’s the organic content you’ve shared that they’ll see.

Organic Social Media Vs. Paid Social Media

Organic Media is when you’re making posts for “free” on your business page. You’re really not posting for free though because time is of value and there is someone behind the content, graphics, and content calendar. When you make organic posts, it only goes to a percentage of those who follow you. Organic social posts will show up in the feeds of people that follow you. Your posts will be shown to more people as your audience shares and engage with them.

Paid social media is when you have money behind it. That ad spend helps you reach a larger, more targeted audience. Paid social posts will show up in the feeds of whichever audience you decide to target. You can target audiences based on demographics, location, interests, and more.

Social Media Platforms Where Businesses Should Be

Google is number one and YouTube (which is owned by Google) is number two for platforms that get the most user activity. But, Facebook (number three) is a big player when it comes to social media and the internet overall. About 70% of the population is using Facebook. It’s been around for 15 years and has evolved into an extremely useful digital marketing tool. Facebook is largely where people’s eyeballs are at! Here’s what we know about the daily access of Facebook users. 

  • 51% (over half) get on several times a day
  • 23% of users get on once a day
  • 26% get on less often
  • 75% of people log in to Facebook at least once per day

Understanding your audience is key to knowing what social media platforms your business should utilize for both organic posting and paid ad strategies. Matching your audience with the known demographic data that’s available for each social media channel will yield better results. SproutSocial gives us a useful overview of social media user demographic data by the network. Take a look to see what gender, age, income, location, and education level users fall into for the social networks. There are many networks with a variety of user bases to pay attention to. It may make sense for your business to not only pay attention to Google, YouTube, and Facebook but also look at targeting audiences on Instagram,  Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat. If you’re unsure what networks your business should target, schedule a digital marketing strategy call

Organic & Paid Social Media Strategy

The first thing we have to look at is reach. Consider the number of people who actually see a specific organic social media post and note that this number decreases year after year. Surprisingly, only 5.5% of people who follow your page will see your post. If you’ve got a big brand with lots of followers, that count could be even lower. That’s a lot of time and effort into getting followers – is it worth it?

Stop the madness! If you don’t have followers, you’re really wasting time creating social media graphics and content. Some of your digital marketing budget should be spent to work at getting followers and likes partly because people do look at the number of followers on a page. It shouldn’t be the main focus but, again, keep in mind that over half of the time audiences look at the social media page of a business before ever visiting their website.

Do you need a quick refresher on the Facebook algorithm rules? 

This is how it’s determined which organic posts and paid ads a user sees and in what order, every time they check their news feeds. In the 15 year history that Facebook has been around, the social network has evolved drastically in user experience, functionality, data collection, and prioritization. What users see, what data is collected on users, and the priority of what posts and ads are shown will continue to increase in complexity over time.

Organic Social Media Posting is Not Free

While it’s true that there is no cost to having a Facebook business page or to post on it organically, remember that time is not free. It’s important that organic social media posts represent a brand well. Good content creation from concept, to images, to copy, comes at a cost and time is valuable! Social media posting is time consuming not to mention making the posts themselves and scheduling a consistent calendar. Without many followers, however, or when considering only a 5.5% reach to those who like your page, overall it’s a lot of effort for potentially not a lot of reach from organic social media posting.

The Value of Paid Social Media Ads 

Putting money behind your content and running paid social media ads improves your reach. Businesses that prioritize a marketing budget to allow for the incorporation of paid social ads get better data, better insights to their audience, and better results throughout their marketing funnel. Social media networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases. Furthermore, SproutSocial offers these meaningful statistics as evidence that paid social media advertising drives customers to businesses.   

  • 37% of consumers find purchase inspiration through their social media channels
  • Social media is the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of Millennials
  • Non-customers are three times more likely than customers to visit a retailer from social media ads
  • 50% of consumers said that seeing user-generated content would increase their chances of buying products through a brand’s social media

Think about this. The people who have liked your page, already know your brand and are in your marketing funnel or may have already purchased. Businesses have to build their cold audience with top of funnel advertising so they don’t just ‘keep circling the drain’. Because social media platforms have user data that allows digital marketers to create specific target audiences, it’s one of the best ways businesses can get in front of their future customers.

Paid Social Ads Improve SEO

For businesses that are already doing content marketing or working on SEO, not promoting that valuable content is a waste. Don’t just produce content and do nothing with it! It’s a better strategy to amplify that marketing content with a budget behind it. Paid social media advertising will indirectly help from an SEO perspective too!  

Paid Social Ads Have a Strong ROI

Paid social media advertising makes earning traffic quick, easy, and affordable. Compared to other types of marketing, the ROI on social media ads is unbeatable. Customers do a search when they need a service. Google Ads has, however, has gotten a bit out of control to where some cost-per-click (CPC) is as high as $100–just for a click (not a lead, not a sale). While targeting is improving and they are working on new programs that will make advertising better, paid social ads on other platforms also have a strong ROI. For example, right now on FB, the cost-per-click (CPC) is as little as 12 cents just to bring someone to your website – that’s hard to beat! 

The single biggest predictor of whether people will purchase is whether they’ve heard of your brand before. 

A Google search is of less benefit if a consumer doesn’t know your brand. People are, obviously, more likely to buy from a brand they know, have heard or, or that their network recommends than one they have never heard of. That process of brand awareness should start long before people are ready to buy and they click on your organic listing or paid search ad.

Paid Social Ad Budget

One beautiful thing about paid social media ads is that a strategy can be built to work with any budget. The more money a business has invested in a social media advertising budget, the more built out the strategy can be. And, thus, the more robust and effective it will grow over time. Businesses with lower budgets can still have a strategy but will also have to lower their expectations for results.

Your Competitors Are Already Runnin Paid Social Media Ads

 If you’re not in the paid social media ad game, you will only get further behind. Paid social media ads help businesses gather valuable marketing insights. Businesses will know what their audiences want to see based on the data returned from their paid social media ads. Your competitors are gaining marketing insights which give a significant advantage over those not running paid ads. The data that is returned from a paid social media strategy is information sales reps benefit from greatly. It helps know what angle to take with customers based on the success of ads that have been running.       

 Organic & Paid Ads Work Together

You can post organically and turn that into an ad. That organic benefit of those followers who are liking, commenting, and sharing before an ad gets posted to a cold audience. The more shares you get, the better rates you pay for your ads. Social networks want engagement so that users stay on their platform longer. Likes, comments, and shares on your Facebook ads are calculated as a sign that people like your ads. Ads that get activity will get more visibility more often. Here are some tips to help your organic postings and paid ads work together.

  • Start conversations that get people talking to each other
  • If you’re not getting likes, comments, and shares–post anyway ane keep in mind that you don’t get in shape the first day
  • Post when your audience is online – while this is debatable, you can test posting at different times
  • Never post content that will get you down-ranked
    • Links to sites that use scraped or stolen content with no added value
    • Borderline content (a.k.a offensive but not prohibited content)
    • Misinformation and fake news
    • Misleading health information or dangerous “cures”
    • “Deepfake videos” or manipulated videos flagged as false by third-party fact-checkers
  • Post high-quality videos longer than 3 minutes 
  • Post often and be consistent 
  • Leverage Facebook Groups that are meaningful to your audience
  • Let your followers know how to prioritize your content in their newsfeeds

With Facebook’s move towards increased transparency in how the newsfeed ranks content, your audience has more control than ever over what they see. Let people know that when they follow or like your page, they can also check the “See First” preference to let the algorithm know that your posts are important to them. Of course, this tactic works best when you are consistently producing content that resonates with your audience and directly supports your Facebook marketing strategy. Lastly, empower your friends, colleagues, and employees to advocate for you.