Paid Social Media Advertising vs Organic Social Media: Myth Busting

Social media marketing has become a very important part of every brand’s marketing strategy. Existing social networks constantly enhance their platforms while new ones emerge. With new trends, the social media landscape is changing and evolving. That leads to shrinking of organic reach as leading networks increase the use of their paid channels to monetize platform investment.

But let’s take a step back and first clarify what’s organic and what’s paid social media.

Organic social media is the use of social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat – alongside with (free) publishing tools to build a social community, interact with it, share posts and respond to customer comments and messages.

Paid social media is using the paid option these social networks offer to boost the reach of posts, ads and videos, or sponsored messages based on a specific user profile e.g. demographic. These type of social media is charged on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, and also allow for use of measurement that shows the path to conversions, transactions and sales.

The right use and balance of organic and paid social media can help you reach marketing and sales goals, but there are many myths associated with the use of both. So let us clear out the air and explain which beliefs are myth and which truth when it comes to organic and paid social media.

Myth #1 Social media is about content and conversations. This is partially a myth since social media is also about commerce. More than half of people use social to find shopping inspiration, and nearly half already consider buying a product but confirm or change their decision based on reviews and comments they find on social networks.

Myth #2 Large brands that have large number of likes, have greater organic social media reach. This is not true. Several different researches show that Facebook organic reach lingers around 6%, meaning that large brand pages that have more than 500,000 likes have only 2% organic reach which is expected to continue to drop in the future.

Myth #3 Organic social media marketing can’t really generate quality leads. listening comes only from organic social media. Another misconception. Organic social media is usually associated with raising brand awareness and increasing customer loyalty. But in truth, organic social media lets you listen to people. Therefore, with careful monitoring of mentions and conversations about your brand, you can identify customer pain points, successfully provide the right advice and sell them your product or service.

Myth #4 Organic social media is more effective because it’s more authentic. The truth is slightly different. Social ads target specific audiences and offer a direct solution to their problems, eliminating users’ need for further search and exploration, which makes them highly effective. In fact, it is believed that paid social media is 60% more effective than organic reach in helping marketers reach their goals. Additionally, over 40% of marketers plan to increase spending on paid social.

Myth #5 Most companies use either organic or paid social media only. This may be true to some point as many new small businesses who are just starting can’t afford to use paid social, or still don’t have enough data about their customers to run successful paid campaigns. But, most companies use both, organic and paid social media. And only 13% of larger companies do only organic social media. Organic and paid social media have different but useful benefits, that’s why most brands combine both for best results.

Myth #6 Organic social media reach grows along with the social footprint. This used to be true for a while. Since 2012 till now, Facebook Reach has been on a steady decline. From 16% in 2012, it went down to 6.5% in 2014, which is a 60% decline, leaving brands who already struggle to engage their audience hit the hardest. Now, in order to reach wider audience, it’s best to use paid ads in addition to your organic posts.

Myth #7 Paid social media is earned social media. We must say false. While paid social media can help you to increase your reach, as the name says, it’s paid not earned social media. The benefits you gain from organic social media are earned over time, with hard work and dedication to growing your network and cannot go away, unlike paid social media where you reap benefits as long as pay for them.

Myth #8 It is not necessary to target and engage groups based on shared interests or passions. Again, another mistake. Whether you are using organic or paid social media, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Different customers are concerned with different problem, and you need to find different ways to approach all of them separately. The best way to do it is to target audiences based on their interests, passions and shared values. It will help you build your audience and strengthen the relationships with all segments.  

Myth #9 Social media doesn’t need planning; you can post when you feel like it. This is a myth you should stop believing right away. Just like with other marketing activities, social media marketing required planning and setting a strategy, testing and measuring results. Organic social media can help you develop a strategy, test various messages and establish a measurement plan. Then, you can use this data to set up your paid campaigns and target specific audience segments. You can’t have balance in your combined campaigns if you don’t plan, test and measure results.

 

Once you understand when, how and why it is best to use each, organic or paid social media, you will be more effective in delivering your brand’s message, connecting with your audience, strengthening and nurturing relations with your customers, learning more about them and developing the right approach.

Striking the right balance of the 4 main organic and paid social activities: (1) listening, learning and responding to your social community, (2) engaging groups and creating conversations based on shared interests or passions, (3) supporting your content marketing, (4) micro-targeting audience segments based on interests, remarketing lists or lookalike audiences via paid ads, will help you get closer to your goals. Luckily for you, we know the right formula for balancing organic and paid social media and making your social presence noted and profitable, so drop us a line to get a free quote.

 

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