Why you need a hybrid paid and organic social strategy

Paid and organic go together like.. birds of a feather? Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi? Peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce? (try it, it’s surprisingly delicious).

Yes, it’s true.

Paid and organic should have a beautiful relationship. Like Jlo and Ben Affleck or Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (okay, definitely not). But you catch my drift.

So, what is organic and paid social?

Organic social is any social media activity without paid promotion. Anything you put out on social media for free, basically!

Paid social refers to anything on social that’s influenced by dollar! 🤑 In other words, ads or sponsored posts that you pay a social network to display to audiences beyond your followers. People who won’t yet know how awesome you are, that’s who.

What’s great about organic social?

There are lots of benefits:

  • It won’t cost you a penny (if you don’t want it to)! Apart from paying for creative geniuses to develop content, of course
  • It’s a great way to establish your personality, voice and build trust
  • It’s a fantastic place to build reputation, community and gain feedback from your followers
  • It’s a place where you can really add value without asking for anything but likes and engagement in return

Smart insights say the time a user spends on social media is 2 hours 27 minutes, so it’s well worth spending time there ( I didn’t need to tell you that, did I?).

What’s great about paid social?

Again, there’s loads of big old thumbs up👍about paid social too:

  • Increase brand awareness and attract new prospects
  • Being incredibly targeted about who you’re reaching 
  • Reinforce the values and messaging that you share through organic social
  • Connect with audiences you won’t reach through organic (those who don’t know you exist yet)
  • Generate leads
  • Drive conversions

We’ve seen a lot of success with our clients through paid social. Others feel that way too, with social media ads spend projected to reach over £180 billion worldwide this year (2022). An annual growth rate of 11.76% according to Statista. Money talks. 

They’re both great! So why do both? Why not one or the other?

As organic reach continues to diminish across social platforms (due to the sheer volume of content and changing nature of the platforms), it’s increasingly important to invest in paid social opportunities to reach a broader audience. And for all the other reasons listed above.

Likewise, if you’re running ads in paid, people will often click through to your page and check out your organic social media to see if you are who you say you are and if you can be trusted.

Therefore your organic needs to be top notch to maintain some social proof. And again, for all the other reasons above.

Now you know why they’re both so important, how can you ensure they’re a match made in heaven?

My top 5 tips for a happy marriage between organic and paid:

  1. Map your customer journey and stages of the sales funnel (awareness, consideration, conversion), ensuring organic and paid intertwine.
  2. Ensure content is consistent across both paid and organic – including artwork, copy style and calls to action. They don’t need to be the same, no siree! But they need to be similar, you need a consistent tone of voice!
  3. Make your pounds go even further by using organic social media to determine which content is most popular with your audience before running it as an ad. If it performs well in organic, it’s likely to do well in paid too!
  4. Authenticity is key. Use organic user generated content within paid ads (get agreement from the user first of course!) – polished and designed ads have diminishing returns in a world that wants to see more of the real world in social.
  5. Be open to feedback in both organic and paid and make changes on the fly! Remember, creative is subjective and at the end of the day what your audience responds to is the most important thing!

    The main thing is to be flexible and remember that great marketing is omnichannel, using multiple channels to promote a service or a product. Organic and paid are a key part of the bigger picture. 

The main thing is to be flexible and remember that great marketing is omnichannel, using multiple channels to promote a service or a product. Organic and paid are a key part of the bigger picture. 

If you want to learn more about how social media can fit into your wider marketing plans we can help. Get in touch.

Mel is a creative digital marketer who loves working with the public sector, charities and businesses to help them achieve their goals. She's been working in marketing and communications since 2011, and when she's not being a dynamite marketer she loves reading about psychology, travelling, running or hanging out with her daughter Mia.