Opinion Article Written by Owner, Audrey Buchanan
The Difference Between Organic and Paid Social Media Strategies
Contrary to popular belief in the digital marketing world, organic social media management and social media advertising are not the same thing. While there are some areas of parallel and overlap, the goal behind each of these job descriptions is vastly different. An organic social media managers main goal should be to connect, engage and grow an account’s target audience in a natural and native way that aligns with the original intention behind the creation of social media platforms in the first place.
Social media in its most pure and organic form is all about creating connections, building community and fostering the sharing of moments, memories and ideas about life. Although this may be hard to believe due to the current makeup of most social media profiles, these platforms were not built as places to sell items or services.
social media was never intended to be used as a sales pitch for your company, it was created as a space for people to engage, connect and communicate with others.
But something, or someone, has to pay the bills to keep the lights on. Enter social media advertising. Paid advertisement opportunities were Facebook’s, and later Instagram’s, way of keeping these channels free of charge to users, and many early adaptors of social media advertising found great success in leveraging their products and services on these platforms. As these channels grew in popularity, many companies began seeing the opportunity to connect with their target market online and as they began flooding these platforms, a cross-breed of organic marketing and paid advertising was born.
Today, you’ll see companies using their social media profile solely as a sales platform, with every post geared towards trying to get you to buy, buy, buy their stuff. There’s nothing organic about these pages, they’re simply using a free platform to try and integrate a paid strategy and quite frankly, it’s not working. And the reason why is simple: social media was never intended to be used as a sales pitch for your company, it was created as a space for people to engage, connect and communicate with others.
The Emergence of Influencer Marketing
Add to that the emergence of influencer marketing and you’ll see why being organic is so effective. Within this hybrid strategy of organic social media marketing and paid advertising, a new form of advertising has emerged called “Influencer Marketing.” This is a form of marketing that involves partnering with a credible, well-known and largely followed Instagram user, also known as an influencer, to do paid endorsements of your product or service.
Successful Influencer Marketing requires finding a potential influencer who fits your target audience niche, reaching out and fostering a relationship with them to do ongoing paid promotions of your products. These are usually photos that the influencer takes themselves, with a suggested caption and a specific ad hashtag (#ad) to alert followers of the paid nature of the post.
The reason this form of marketing has become increasingly more effective than traditional advertising or even advertising via organic methods is the presence of one of the most important factors in the online community: trust. An influencer’s followers trust them and when you have their following’s trust in you, you’re one step closer to a successful digital marketing strategy.
Another reason it’s so successful is the ability to still be organic even in a paid setting. The best ads, don’t look like ads at all. Influencer marketing takes a regular post, that fits within the influencer’s branding and infuses your product into the setting in a seemingly organic way. Have you ever been scrolling through your Instagram feed and after liking a photo realized that it was a sponsored post? That’s influencer marketing at its best.
Final Thoughts: Let’s Keep Social Media Organic
The most successful brands on social media are using the platform for what its intended for, and that’s what makes them so successful. They’re using their feed to build brand identity, and keeping the advertising where it belongs: in ad campaigns.
Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with a salesy post or a promotional message here and there, but it shouldn’t the main pillar of your social media marketing strategy. Take the time to foster connections, be transparent and create an experience that your target audience will actually want to follow along and engage with.