What Are The Benefits Of Social Media - Organic vs. Paid Social Media

Alice Bucher
Alice Bucher

Organic or paid social media?

This question can be considered from different perspectives and analysed for your own company. A purely quantitative view is possible - i.e. what is the benefit of maintaining a social media profile in terms of visibility or traffic acquisition - or a qualitative view that includes aspects of brand management.

The fact is that during the pandemic, the visibility of own posts among followers of company profiles on most platforms has actually declined further, unless they have been activated by additional paid media initiatives. Currently on Facebook, for example, only about 5.25% of followers see a post with an engagement of just 0.07%. So focusing purely on a quantitative assessment of organic social media posts will not make people particularly happy in most cases.

So what is the point of organic social media?

Even if these numbers are not particularly encouraging, there are very good reasons not to underestimate and even expand organic social media nurturing.

Trust, visibility and dialogue

Your social media profile is a crucial first touchpoint with your brand and product. You build trust and visibility here. Active community management helps build relationships with your target group. Use the dialogue opportunities and post regularly.

For example, posting weekly on LinkedIn increases the engagement rate twice as much, and even more if you post daily. (LinkedIn Blog). 68% of German B2B buyers first validate potential partners, solutions or products with their own online research. Besides Google results, social media profiles are one of the first important touch points of a potential user journey. According to a Marketforce survey, 81% of social media users say they give more importance and trust to what their friends share on social media.  

Organic social media supports paid media effectiveness

However, your organic social media work also greatly supports the efficiency of potential paid social media initiatives. Correlate the data from your organic content with that of your paid media initiatives. This will give you relevant insights into which content and motives are best accepted by your target groups. Many platforms also use the data from organic social media activities for a more efficient playout of ads.

Ultimately, these insights, used correctly, also support you in budget decisions, paid strategies and further planning.

Addressable followers are growing

Needless to say, for many companies, the number of followers is still an important KPI for measuring success. But interacting with a broad social media audience, answering comments or questions and feeding your target group with relevant and specific content where they spend the most time significantly increases the efficiency of your social media work.

Not only the company profile plays an important role, but also the boss, employees and partners can massively support the organic distribution of your content (employee advocacy).

And again and again the algorithm

For a long time now, there has been more content on the web than the world's population could ever consume. No one but the platforms themselves know the details of how activities on their profiles are processed and made visible. Nevertheless, the experiences of users accumulate to form an incomplete picture, and the platforms themselves also give repeated indications of the factors according to which content is evaluated and distributed. Thus, as a rule, new features and products that the platforms develop are always preferred, at least in the early days. In principle, however, similar patterns emerge:

- Interactions with the source: from whom does the post come and how strongly have users but also friends of the users interacted with this source

- Format of the content: what type of content is a user most likely to interact or dwell with

- Interactions with the content: content with high engagement rates is preferred at best

In addition to these basic factors, platforms offer other options in the feed. A discussion of information on the respective algorithms will help to optimise your social media work.

One thing is clear: there is simply no such thing as free traffic - producing content, posting and maintaining the community is time-consuming and costs resources. Running organic social media professionally is neither easy nor effortless.  

Long-term development of the reach of an integrated paid/organic campaign. Optimisation of the paid media budget through growing organic reach.

No Organic without Paid Social Media

Although paid and organic social media usually have different goals, they work better together. Paid helps to expand reach to new users significantly, quickly and easily. Often, paid initiatives also open the door to interacting with potential new but also existing customers and users.

According to a Hootsuite survey, integrating paid and organic strategies is beneficial to businesses in several ways. For example, 65% of respondents say they achieve better ROIs from their social media activities through a better understanding of the interplay.

From strategy to execution:

The most successful companies that use social media professionally thus build an integrated strategy of organic and paid social media work over the long term. In doing so, they usually differ from the less successful companies in that they manage to build an active community, to realise an authentic and transparent communication, based on a precise and constantly deepening knowledge of their target audience. They often experiment with different tactics or A/B tests and measure data and results according to clear parameters in order to become more precise in targeting and better at storytelling. In this way, they still manage to grow credible and strong organic profiles at lower click costs for paid media.

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