How to integrate organic and paid social media as a marketing strategy

Social media as a marketing strategy is a powerful tool and, when used right, it can be game-changing for a lot of businesses. A general strategy should integrate a consistent organic strategy on selected social media platforms, whichever platforms you have chosen to focus on.

What is organic social media?

An organic social media strategy is any social media activity that occurs that doesn’t include any paid promotion. This includes sharing photos, videos, and stories used to increase the awareness of your brand without paying budget to the social media platform itself. 

Why is it important?

Having an organic social media strategy is important as it can significantly grow your brand awareness with little/no budget when done correctly. However, this method is generally more time-consuming than paid ads. Organic posts also usually have a significantly lower reach than paid social media ads. Research in 2022 found that Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm restricts the average visibility of non-promoted content to 5.2 percent

Brands generally use this organic social media to establish their personality and tone of voice, build a community of people (for example, the Girls in Marketing community) and provide a place of support for new and returning customers. 

What is paid social media?

Paid social media is the method of displaying advertisements or sponsored messages for a marketing purpose on social media platforms. Brands can use this method to increase the amount of reach and impressions they receive in a hope that this will increase sales. This term is more commonly used as paid ads

Why is it important?

Paid ads have become increasingly important over the past couple of years as social media platforms change their algorithm to cater for accounts that spend their budget on paid ads. 

As the online world changes, there has been an increase in people using online shopping channels including eCommerce and social media sites. Therefore, paid ads have naturally become a larger part of brands social media efforts overall and brands should make a conscious effort to create ads with care.

How can you integrate both methods?

It’s not essential to use these methods simultaneously all the time, as having an entire organic social media strategy may work better for you and your account. However, if you are using organic social media and paid social media together, these should complement each other and work together to maximise your social media efforts.

1. Remember WHY you are doing what you are doing

When you are creating so much content for social media, it can be way too easy to lose the purpose of everything you are doing. For each piece of content you produce, whether this is a paid ad or part of your organic social media strategy, you should always keep the purpose at the forefront of your mind. This purpose may be directly your audience to a new product or to sign up for your email newsletter. 

2. Ensure the content complements each other

You don’t want to make the mistake of repeating yourself in each method of promotion. If you’re working with a team, make sure it’s made clear which each piece of content is for and what this content will consist of. The last thing you want to do is find out your efforts have gone to waste due to duplicated content.

3. Make sure all your messaging is aligned

It’s also important to ensure all your content is consistent and aligned. Generally, your paid ads should look the same as your organic content – the only difference should be that the paid content is aimed to attract new customers. This is important as it’s likely that a certain amount of people will click through to your main profile after a paid ad has caught their attention. 

4. Have different goals for each marketing method

It is clear that paid social media and organic social media will have different goals. As discussed previously, paid social media is likely to be used to increase your brand awareness whereas organic social media is generally used to create a connection with your audience. Keep these goals in mind when creating content for each marketing method.

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