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Organic Vs. Paid Social Media: It’s Time to Adjust

If you're a regular social media user and have been for a long time, you may have noticed recently that you're seeing less from the companies, pages, and groups you follow and a lot more advertisements. Facebook, and now Instagram, have implemented new algorithm updates that have completely changed the way each users' newsfeeds populate content.

In an effort to promote more meaningful conversation, Facebook now places posts of people you are closest to, or at least interact with more frequently, at the top of your newsfeed. The company decided that this change could help create a more personal social media experience on the seemingly ever-growing platform. With over 2.85 billion active monthly users, it makes sense that Facebook wants to show you content that will interest you, and ultimately make you stay longer on the site. What this means for businesses though, is that unless you are paying for your content to be seen, it will likely stay hidden beneath the depths of the Facebook algorithm.

What is the difference?

An organic social media strategy is one that focuses on improving KPIs without the use of paid ads or boosts. Perfecting visual content, captions, hashtags, and post times are all examples of what goes into building an organic social media strategy. A paid social media strategy is one that uses the paid features offered on social media for advertisements or boosts

How does paid social media work?

When it comes to Facebook and Instagram, you have two options for paid social: boosted posts and ads. Boosting a post is a great option to increase reach on posts that have already been published to a page or profile. Businesses can make selections for budget, run time, and audience location. There is a minimum of $1 a day, with no minimum run time, so boosting works well for any size budget. 

An ad is a more sophisticated way of incorporating a paid social strategy. Usually, these come with a higher budget and added analytics options to meet very specific goals. The audience is notified by a small section of text that reads "Sponsored Content". Otherwise, ads appear the same as any other post. LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and many other social media platforms offer paid options as well. 

How does the algorithm affect my strategy? 

A high organic reach is becoming harder to achieve. Organic reach has decreased to a 5.2% average; a far cry from the 49% average reported in 2015. Reach is one of the most telling KPIs when it comes to social media marketing; it reflects the number of people who are shown your content. When reach stays low, fewer users are given the chance to interact with the content. Essentially, reach can create a ripple effect to other KPIs performances, like engagement or watch time. If the KPIs your business wants to focus on are building a larger audience or increasing engagement, a low reach will make that a harder task.

Why should I combine both strategies? 

Organic social is still the foundation of any good social strategy. Content should be engaging, relatable, and appealing to the audience. Otherwise, no matter how much money your business spends promoting its content, there won't be any interest in it. Paid social options should be thought of as supplemental, but necessary, components to your social media strategy.

Staying ahead of the trends and changes is crucial in all aspects of business, and social media is no exception. A solid social media presence builds brand loyalty, improves brand awareness, and can increase sales for your business. Make sure that this piece of your digital marketing strategy is properly executed and given the time it needs to be successful! Contact Technical Resource Solutions to discuss how we can find a social media strategy that works for your business.

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