In the world of digital marketing, the debate about whether organic or paid is best rages on. And for good reason, because whether you’re talking about PPC, organic search or paid advertising, they all have benefits to consider.
Much the same can be said in the world of social media marketing. In fact, research shows that 86 percent of marketers now combine paid and organic social media tactics to achieve their goals. But, if resources are tight, the choice between paid and organic social media marketing can be a difficult one to make, although the simple fact that you’re considering both shows you’re on the right track.
In this article, we’re going to frame the argument for both an organic and paid-for social media marketing strategy, giving you the benefits of each to help you make the right decision for you and your business.
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Organic social media
Although we’ve made the distinction between organic and paid-for social media, it’s important to note that no social media marketing you do is free. While you do not pay for your ads, the concerted effort it will take to create a social presence people will notice will take significant time and resources. That cost could be considerably more than the paid-for approach.
In an organic strategy, rather than buying your way to the top, you try to ride the algorithms to visibility by sharing the informative, helpful and relevant content your target market wants to read and interact with. If it’s successful, an organic approach can help to build trust, develop a bond with customers and humanise your business in their eyes, all of which can have a powerful effect on your bottom line.
The benefits of an organic approach to social media marketing include:
· Increased brand awareness – Although initially, you will enjoy greater visibility with paid ads, organic social media offers an unrivalled potential reach.
· Humanising your brand – Consumers prefer dealing with people far more than a faceless entity. Done well, organic social media marketing allows the consumer to see the people behind the brand and develop a personal relationship.
· Building the brand’s reputation – Organic posts that answer customer questions, engage with the audience and respond to or share feedback all help to build the brand’s reputation over the long-term.
· Giving customers a voice – Giving your customers an open line of communication can be risky, but if you’re a business that does things properly then listening to your customers and reacting to them quickly can bring a number of benefits for your business.
Paid social ads
With organic reach on Facebook down to 2 percent, it’s understandable that some marketers will choose to use paid ads to reach their customer base. However, Facebook is certainly not the only paid option they have. Twitter and YouTube – at 34 and 33 percent respectively, both take a big chunk of the advertisers’ spend. But why are paid ads so popular:
· They’re cost effective – Paying for your visibility might not seem like the best use of your budget, but with organic social media so crowded, paid ads can get you in front of the people of the matter.
· They’re quick – An organic campaign can take months or even years to gain any traction, and some never will. With a paid ad, your brand can appear in the newsfeed of your customers almost instantaneously.
· They’re targeted – If you know your customer base then paid ads let you target them very effectively. You can determine factors like the age, job title, location a, d gender of the people you target.
· They’re flexible – If your ads aren’t working out, you can easily stop them, rewrite them or try a different platform altogether.
· You can see real results – It is relatively easy to measure the success of your paid ads against a number of metrics. This can help you fine-tune your campaign and focus on the most effective ads.
The decision is yours
The best option for your business depends on a wide range of factors such as your sector, location and how established the brand is. However, as a simple rule of thumb, if you need results fast, paid ads will give you the visibility you need. If you’re happy to play the long game, an organic social media strategy will benefit your business in time.