Weighing the options between Organic vs. Paid Social Media?
We'll save you some time – for the sake of maximising conversions while keeping your budget in check, a hybrid approach to your social strategy can help initiate the best outcomes.
In our latest workshop, ‘Investing in Social – Building your Integrated Paid and Organic Strategy’, our experts discuss the different opportunities - and challenges - both paid and organic social media marketing present in 2023, including the case for a hybrid approach to help initiate the best outcomes, along with practical guidance for effectively integrating the two.
In this Article:
- The case for a hybrid social strategy
- Standout examples of an integrated social strategy
- Challenges of implementing a hybrid approach to your social strategy
- Defining your approach – proving ROI and external support
READ OUR KEY LEARNINGS FROM THE SESSION BELOW, OR WATCH THE FULL WORKSHOP HERE
The case for a hybrid social strategy
With deprived marketing budgets and limited resources, the use of organic social media has somewhat shifted in recent years, as what is now a cost-efficient way for brands to engage audiences and convert new customers.
However, this standalone approach often takes much longer for businesses to achieve their intended goals as audience reach is limited, for instance, an organic post on Facebook reaches around 5.5% of page followers on average. On the other hand, a paid social strategy offers advertisement to a much larger pool of people - yet it requires a larger budget along with a certain degree of expertise.
Therefore, with a heightened pressure to demonstrate tangible business results and prove ROI, integrating your social strategy can help get the most out of your investment by using organic to strengthen relationships with existing customers and paid social to attract new ones.
Below our experts discuss the differences in way organic and paid social strategies are perceived, and how they support each other for better outcomes:
Common misconceptions surrounding paid social marketing
Organic and Paid social Media strategies serve vastly different purposes, with the former predominately used to establish brand presence and nurture relationships with existing customers, and the latter primarily aimed to target new audiences and drive conversions.
Ines says, “you often hear those typical misconceptions – ‘paid social only works with big budgets’, or ‘paid social eliminates the need for organic’ and is ‘something that you can set up and forget about’.
It's important for us to challenge those misconceptions and understand that paid social is effective for businesses of different sizes and can be complemented by organic activity – depending on what you want your wider social strategy to achieve.
Whether that goal is brand awareness or lower funnel activity, you should aim to work towards that and decide what sort of tactics will get you there – more organic or paid efforts.”
Standout examples of an integrated social strategy
Ines says, “you put content out across your own channels and expect it to work yet that reach ends up being quite limited organically and you then require additional support from a paid perspective.
This sort of challenge was brought to us by one of our charity clients who weren’t sure that their content is reaching the right audiences. We carried out an audit and found that out of the 32 posts, that they were seeding a month, it was reaching less than 2% of their own audiences - which is a huge waste of resource, time and budget that is put behind creating all this content.
In turn, the posts that were supported with paid activity were the top performers in terms of engagement rates and an increase in followers of the back of it - this is a perfect example of how these two strategies are now inherently intertwined.”
Geo targeted audiences
Owen adds, “I worked with a pharmacy direct who struggled with reaching their intended target audience through paid social. After a thorough analysis and understanding of who they wanted to target, we found the most value came from people over the age of 60.
So, we looked at creating a strategy around that by specifically targeting retirement communities across the UK and geo locating in areas where there's a high propensity for those age groups, from this they're paid activity skyrocketed and they begin creating organic content that was based on the community challenges.”
Challenges of implementing a hybrid approach to your social strategy
Owen says, “we’ve worked with lot of businesses where the ownership of paid social is kept separate to organic and there is no communication between those teams. This sometimes leads to a focus on achieving your paid strategy goals over your organic goals.
That’s when you need to make the case of bringing those things together by asking yourself:
- What are we doing in terms of organic activity?
- How do we bring those efforts together?
- How are we managing reputation?
- How are we reinforcing brand measures versus consideration and conversion?
- And how are we making a piece of strategy come together?
Often, we see the challenge of brining that story together so all stakeholders are on the same page - that for me is the number one blocker for in-house teams and something that kills an integrated strategy.”
View our Round-up: Organic Social 2023 – Trends and Opportunities for your Growth Strategy
Defining your approach – proving ROI and external support
Proving ROI of ‘nuture’ activity through organic social
Owen says, “your measurements must be meaningful to your business, and customers, or consumers at large.
For organic you typically look at reach or impressions, but that out of context doesn't really mean much. You must aim to contextualise the funnel, and all the measurement components surrounding that, so you get a better understanding of your performance month on month in correspondence to that whole picture.
For example, you begin to understand whether the impressions you’re achieving is having an impact on what's happening lower end of the funnel. Again, if you just look at things individually, you can tell whatever story you want, it's your context of everything that matters.”
View our ROI 101 article: 7 Ways to Get Genuine Stakeholder Buy-in for your Marketing Strategy
What to keep front-of-mind before investing in external support
Ines says, “I think it’s highly valuable for in house teams to commission consultancy and training programmes.
Thinking about an integrated strategy can feel super daunting, so seeking the assistance of an external party to carry out an audit and communicate what is it that needs to change to achieve your social strategy’s end goal, that is something that we have seen works particularly well for clients that have limited budgets.”
Owen adds, “I think one of the big things that's overlooked is an understanding of where your social strategy sits amongst other marketing efforts. Integrating as a business also matters, in terms of the role social plays in customer experience and other dependencies in the business. All these need to make sense for your full marketing and business objectives.
If you're investing in your social strategy this year, make sure you're getting the most from your time. GO! offer cost-free agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.