Organic Social vs. Paid Social

Learn all you need to know about organic vs. paid social media strategies and find out which is best for your business.
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Did you know that social media influenced 71% of buying decisions in 2020

There’s no denying that social media plays a pivotal role in the marketing landscape today, and there are many ways to leverage it in your marketing strategy.

Let’s first dive into the difference between organic and paid social media marketing and see why these strategies work better in tandem.

What Is Organic Social Media Marketing?

Organic social media marketing is when you create your own content and use your social media channels to promote it. This includes following back and engaging with your followers. 

This is a great way to introduce your product to people, develop your brand, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. These types of posts are incredibly effective, especially when someone shares your post to their own network. When they share it, the post will be seen by their followers in addition to yours, which increases your reach.

Organic social media is 100% free digital marketing, promotion, and publicity. It’s pertinent for businesses to use the power of organic social media because of the immediate and constant accessibility prospects have via their mobile devices.

The goal of a B2B company’s social media strategy should be to create compelling content that’s catered to each social channel (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). This helps increase reach and engagement for your brand while building loyalty and driving in more sales.

You should strive to position your business as a thought leader in your industry and provide educational content that can help prospects and customers with their business/marketing challenges.

Organic content should entice your prospects so they feel compelled to click the link and continue reading the blog, eBook, or whitepaper featured in your social post.

Organic Social Best Practices

Gated Content Posts

To start, social posts that use gated content allow you to capture a lead’s contact information. Once you have their information, you can start converting them through various touches, like your SDRs calling them directly or nurturing them with additional resources in an inbound workflow.

Ungated Content Posts

The idea behind featuring ungated thought leadership content is to position your business as a trusted industry expert. People want to buy from trustworthy experts who know what they’re talking about, and sharing these free pieces of relevant content helps you accomplish this by providing value to your prospects and customers.

Lifestyle Posts

Lifestyle posts typically won’t lead to conversions, but they do serve a purpose in the overall B2B social media plan. Typically, social posts that feature employees gain a lot of traction because that’s the type of content your team wants to see.

Despite prospects potentially scrolling past these lifestyle-centric posts, they do drive more engagement and maximize your social profile’s reach, especially if your employees are resharing your company posts on their own social network.

These types of “surprise and delight” posts will help you gain followers and ultimately lead to your posts reaching more people. Showcasing holiday posts, memes, and personal posts brings humanity to your content while surprising and delighting your followers and LinkedIn community.

Posting at Optimal Times

It’s important to remember that each social media platform is different. What performs well on LinkedIn won’t perform at the same level on Twitter. The same goes for the day and time that you push your posts out. Cater your posting schedule to each platform to maximize the reach of your posts.

What Is Paid Social Media Marketing?

But wait—why should you pay for a social post when you can do it for free? Well, the average reach for an organic social post on Facebook is only 5.2% (Source). This is where paid social ads come into play. Paid social guarantees you’ll be seen by your audience because you’re creating content and paying for it to get more views.

Paid social media marketing is an excellent way to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and generate more sales.

There’s also the fact that outside of LinkedIn, most social media platforms aren’t set up for B2B marketing. Accounts on these platforms have a much harder time getting off the ground and achieving results vs. B2C social accounts.

While there might be more of a learning curve when it comes to running a paid social campaign, the results you’ll see will make it worthwhile. Just this past year, 24% more consumers reported making a purchasing decision after coming across a paid social ad (Source).

Best Practices for Paid Social Ads

Target the Right Audience

Targeting the right audience is what marketing is all about. The right messaging paired with the right audience is what makes paid social ads so effective. To determine your target audience, check out our post on proven strategies for defining your ideal customer persona.

Set a Clear Call to Action

It’s important to be direct in your ads with the action you want your audience to take. Trying to drive in sales? Include a clear “buy now” CTA. Looking to capture more leads? Share a link to one of your top-performing content pieces and add a “download now” CTA. The opportunities are endless, so before designing your paid ads, make sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish.

Keep It Short and to the Point

Since these paid social ads will be shown to people who may not be familiar with your brand, it’s important that you keep your video or messaging short and to the point. Determine which message will resonate with the specific audience you’re targeting and get it across quickly before they continue scrolling past your ad.

Measure Results and Make Changes When Necessary

Don’t be afraid to test out different strategies for your paid ads. You can tweak your messaging, try out different visuals, and switch up your calls to action in order to improve your results. When starting out, try a few different ads and then evaluate which one performed better for your target audience. Then you can optimize your ads accordingly.

Crafting & Implementing Your B2B Social Media Plan

Paid social vs. organic social is an unrealistic choice to make. Creating an effective B2B marketing strategy for social media requires a hybrid approach if you want to see results. The most effective strategy combines both types of social in a way that makes each one stronger than if it were run independently (Source).

As organic social media’s reach continues to diminish across all social media platforms, it’s becoming increasingly important to invest in paid social media to scale your reach and engagement.

Key Takeaways

So let’s recap. Organic social media tends to be more sustainable (and cheaper) than paid social media, but you should use both strategies if you want to grow your business.

Organic and paid social media each have their own place in the overall digital marketing landscape, but a combination of the two will help you reach more people and create more engagement.

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