Understanding Paid Social vs Organic Posts

As a business, you might be wondering what forms of marketing you can take under your control and manage without spending money. At a glance, social media may look like one way to market yourself for free. But a deeper look at the benefits of paid social media marketing shows that it’s one of the most profitable and targeted ways to market.

So what is the difference between paid social and organic social? Organic social posts are anything you post on your feeds that appear in front of your existing followers. Paid social posts have the power to reach audiences that don’t already know you, but are a perfect fit to do business with you.

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. The more money you put behind the boost, the more people you will reach and the longer your campaign will remain effective.

But even though paid social posts can reach the widest audience, let’s start by looking at why organic social is valuable in its own way. Because in the end, the more people you convert into social followers, the more likely they are to spend money with you.

The value of organic social

People who follow your business on social media are doing so because they care. They want to support the business they are seeking updates on. And they are looking for reasons to spend money with that business.

So keeping up a regular cadence of speaking to this audience is incredibly important. Once you have a customer invested in what’s happening with your business on a daily basis, you want to hold onto that investment and build it further. Regular organic social posts are the key to this. 

For that reason, your organic social presence should be as informal as you’re willing to go. Show the faces behind your company. Show the fun things your employees are doing. And in times like we’re facing in 2020, it is a great way to show what causes you support.

You should also be minimizing your promotions in organic social posts. Avoid salesy talk and don’t try to get people to buy things here. Instead, focus on valuable content that can educate, tell stories, and inspire creativity. 

You can still mix in things like big sales, giveaways, store hours, etc. As long as these things are the smaller percentage of your posts, you won’t look like you’re taking advantage of your followers. You need to show that you care about them.

Organic social posts are also effective at building up your online resume of sorts. When new customers end up on your page for any reason, they should see a robust history of posts that let them “catch up” on everything you’ve been sharing. 

In fact, a recent Animoto survey shows that 58% of consumers visit a brand’s social pages before visiting their website. What you are sharing on social is often more important than what you show on your actual website. A blank social media profile will be a huge turn off to someone researching you through this channel.

You can’t ignore paid social

If organic social is like having a casual chat with a longtime friend, paid social is akin to a professional job interview. 

When you’re paying to put social media content in front of strangers’ eyes, you need to strategically craft your message to put your best foot forward. This isn’t like sitting down for a beer with someone who knows you well and has already committed to spending time with you.

With paid social posts, you might know who you want to reach, but those people likely don’t know you yet. And first impressions really matter.

The process of setting up a paid social media campaign involves a few major factors. The first being choosing your goal.

Do you want the customer to follow a link to your website? Do you want them to engage with your post? Do you want to collect lead information in order to reach them via email or elsewhere? These are all options that ad management systems on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow you to select.

Following this selection, you can carefully craft the targeted audience you want your post to appear in front of. Location, age, gender, interests, behaviors and languages are all traits you can target. You’ll then see an estimated audience size that your targeting will reach. 

The Placement feature on Facebook Ads Manager allows you to choose where your ad does and does not appear. Use this for highly curated post creatives.

This is also the place where you can choose specific placements for your post. If you’ve made a video sized for Instagram stories, you can remove all other placements and ensure that your post only appears in stories.

Though it may be time-consuming, creating multiple ads that are curated for specific placements will be a strong look for your business. Avoid taking a single ad creative and just sharing it everywhere at once.

Finally, you can determine the budget and schedule that drives your post. These factors will also determine the estimated audience results that the platform gives you.

A great way to determine ROI is to check the “cost per result” data that your ad manager will provide to you. This is based on your overall spend compared to the reach and engagement that your post receives. This is updated over time and can be tracked throughout your campaign.

An effective paid social post includes a strong call to action and gets right to the point. A new customer needs a short snapshot of what you do and why you should be paid to do it. Unlike organic posts, these posts should focus on selling and creating a sense of urgency.

Combine your organic and paid strategy

The line between paid and organic posts is often walked by boosted organic posts. This is when money is put behind an organic post in order to make that post appear in front of a selected audience. 

The Boost Post button on organic Facebook posts allows you to easily put money behind your content.

The boost feature on an organic post gives you a basic version of Facebook Ads Manager, where you can select an objective, add a call to action and choose your target audience. This is a good way to learn the tools available to you, and use posts you’ve already made to reach new people.

And even once you get to the point of balancing your paid and organic strategy, boosting organic posts can still come into play when you notice certain posts performing well. Even just a few dollars being put behind a popular organic post can lead to a strong ROI. Here are a few things to consider when choosing which posts to boost.

So with the differences and separate values of organic and paid social media posts explained, all that is left is to choose what you want to post. What content is right for your brand? What products need a boost and resonate strongly with social media audiences. Feel out what’s right, and when you need a partner in setting up social media strategy, contact us to get your business started on the right foot.