With social media advertising spend projected to be over $50 billion this year in the US alone, it’s clear that marketers recognise the value of social marketing. However, what may be less well known is that the most effective lead generation campaigns incorporate high-quality organic social posting alongside paid social campaigns.
Social media isn’t just about conversation and content distribution. It’s a valuable tool for marketers to increase brand awareness, establish themselves as industry experts, a more importantly, a place to acquire customers.
84% of B2B marketers are using social media in some form. (Hubspot)
In this article we look at why organic social media is a crucial component of the overall marketing plan.
What is organic social media?
Organic social media consists of publishing content through social media platforms using only free, non-sponsored means. Whether through posts, photos, videos, or stories, organic posts are visible to followers or algorithm-targeted accounts only. While these are indeed limiting factors, organic posts represent the best way to create and nurture a connection with customers at scale.
Much like a standard social user profile, brand profiles are managed through a portal or dashboard where businesses can post, interact, and cover the key details surrounding their organisation. However, unlike user profiles, business pages include metrics for monitoring post performance, and often have options surrounding paid-for social.
Organic social media vs. paid social media.
While the ultimate goal for both social marketing routes is lead generation, paid social and organic social use different methods and objectives to drive those leads. If organic social is building and engaging an online following through free resources, paid refers to anything on social media influenced by money. In other words, advertisements or sponsored posts that brands pay a social network to display to audiences beyond their core followers.
Organic social objectives can vary depending on the stage of a brand, but brand awareness is typically a key metric behind organic content. Unlike paid, which focuses on measurable and value-linked objectives, organic social has – or should have – less emphasis on driving sales. Instead, organic posts should contain user-centric, engaging, and non-self-indulgent content.
Which one provides the better results? Well, that depends. Organic posts generally perform well when a company has existing customers or followers, and they're great at building brand awareness. However, they usually reach fewer people, unless they are shared and reshared.
Paid social media is significantly more effective when attracting and converting an entirely new audience (think market development and diversification). Paid social often leads to increased traffic and conversions by using demographic and psychographic information to target ideal customer profiles and push sponsored content to high-value prospects.
Why is organic social media important?
On average, an organic social post on Facebook will reach just 5.5% of a businesses follower count. So, why is organic social media considered essential to a successful social marketing campaign?
It's free. Sure, high quality content creation comes at a cost, but publishing and sharing it is entirely free on most social media platforms. Posting engaging and relevant content optimised for online searches will increase your brand's online presence. Organic social is a cost-effective component of a comprehensive content strategy combined with other marketing tactics.
Demonstrating and communicating industry expertise through articles, success stories, and industry insight as part of a social strategy can help companies become a voice of authority or a trusted advisor. Through non-paid updates, brands can provide an honest look into what defines their organisation and build authentic relationships with their audiences in a way that makes them feel connected.
By building an engaged community through regular updates and customer support, companies can see increased brand awareness, valuable conversions, and even an uptick in new prospects. By posting at least one update a week, clients will identify that a business is active, engaged and more likely to provide the help they need.
Brand awareness is the number one reason organic social media is crucial to support any lead generation strategy. It's still measurable, but not through normal metrics. Instead of looking for conversions, marketers should measure interactions and shares. Social media provides marketing teams with a unique opportunity to put their brand out there, present their values, stories and skills, and gain positive exposure — and it pays off.
Once a lead is aware of a brand, they begin to identify it without assistance, seek to make purchases, prioritize it over other similar brands, and establish a loyalty that encourages recommendations to family and friends. It creates trust with your customers, creates positive associations, and builds invaluable brand equity that propels your brand to the top of the "go-to" list.
Like other search engines, Google doesn't rank social activities as part of its Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). However, while organic social posts won't appear on search engines, there's no doubt that they indirectly boost a website's ranking. Think of it as a word-of-mouth tactic. As marketing teams publish high-value content on social media, they drive more leads to their website. As the site receives more visitors and interactions, it's considered more valuable, and thus, Google raises its ranking.
How do paid and organic social media posts complement one another?
Paid social media efforts may be more effective than organic in reaching a broader audience, as organic reach shrinks across digital platforms. Even though organic reach is on the decline, organic social media has many advantages. It allows firms to market their products and services for free to a devoted audience while also expanding their network via social sharing. By combining the power of both tactics to create a symbiotic strategy, businesses can maximise their lead generation efforts and boost conversion rates.
The benefits of using paid and organic together:
A combination of paid and organic social help grow online presence rapidly.
Running sponsored ads in conjunction with organic will help reach new users.
Boosting organic posts that are engaging and high performing will help to influence algorithms and extend organic reach.
Use paid ads to break into new markets and organic content to retain new prospects and audiences.
Paid social helps to drive leads, while organic social converts them into customers.
Integrating paid and organic social media
It's clear that organic social has been and will play an essential role in lead generation campaigns as businesses continue to expand online. It allows companies to market their products and services for free to a devoted audience. Through engaging and client-focused messaging, organic social can convert low-quality leads into long-term clients.
However, organic social media alone won't drive campaign success. Choosing between paid-for and organic social media is a false equivalency, and the most successful marketing strategies incorporate both approaches. By using paid social media to drive leads and boost high-performing organic content for further exposure, marketers are in the strongest position to build an audience and grow their business.
With more than 4.5 billion people on social media, maintaining a positive online presence is crucial. But, managing organic and paid-for social isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Content creation, proofing, visual planning, reporting, and even monitoring — it takes considerable time and expertise to maintain a social media profile to a high standard.
Our team of senior consultants and specialists help SaaS entrepreneurs and marketers to drive growth by bolstering their online presence. If your business needs help integrating organic and paid social media as part of your marketing strategy, get in touch.