Think social media is just a fad? Hopefully, you’ve answered that question with a no. In fact, social media has probably been around for a long time.
The first recognized social media site was created in 1997. Six Degrees was designed to allow users to create profiles and connect with other users and friends. By 1999, blogging jumped into popularity, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Remember sites like MySpace or Photobucket? That’s okay. Most of today’s internet users don’t. How about Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter? Yep, those came online fast in the early to mid 2000s, and they are still the most recognized names in the world.
Even today, the social media landscape is always changing, ever-growing. Will Facebook still be a game-changer a year from now? How about five years, or ten?
Maybe we’ll have something new to us. Maybe an up-and-comer will change the playing field. It’s been done before, and you can better believe it will happen again.
But won’t change is their importance to today’s online marketing strategies. No, social media isn’t going to go away.
It will morph. It will change. But everything that’s in place provides us with a learning curve for what comes next.
Those companies that are using today’s technology will be miles ahead. They understand what works and what doesn’t. They build for today and the future. And that gives them strength in the online playing field.
The bigger the brand, the more they understand the importance of using social media as a part of their online marketing practices. According to a Pew Research Center study, 91 percent of all retail brands use two or more social media sites regularly to stay in front of their target audience.
They define their audience. They find out what social media sites they like best. And they give them consistency with postings in their preferred platform, over and over again.
What is organic social media?
Organic social media is created any time you place something on a social media platform that isn’t paid for. If you login to Twitter and post something live using the free posting, that’s organic social media. If you use a posting platform like Hootsuite or Buffer to publish information to one of your social media timelines, that’s still considered organic social media, even though you’re paying for the third-party platform to make the post.
If you post to a social media site without “boosting” the post, it’s considered organic social media.
Paid social media is quite simply pay-to-play advertising. If you boost a post, create a sponsored listing, or in any way pay to get your information onto a social media platform, it’s considered paid social media. All actions after payment are considered part of the paid process. So through your sponsored or “paid” post, if someone “likes” it, it’s considered a paid reaction.
Organic or Paid? Which is better?
As a marketer, you’ve probably honed in on the organic social media concept. If you can get a system in place, adding content to several social sites is your best bet.
However, paid social media might look great too. If you have a special event coming up, it could be a great way to drive interest.
Do you need both
The answer is yes.
If you’re on any of the social media sites popular today, you know how they work. You follow what you have an interest in, and their posts popup in your reader. Follow a few, and you might only gain a handful of posts per day to browse through. But if they’re active, or you follow a bunch, the posts could quickly grow into the hundreds, or even thousands.
You can’t gain traction when people are getting dozens of posts in their readers every day. Their attention spans only think about each post a fraction of a second before moving on.
Paid gives you more traction. Paid gives you the option of selecting your demographics, and being more visible in areas you choose. Paid also introduces your profile to new visitors and readers. If they like it – if you capture their attention – they click, and they follow.
And only then do you have a better chance of interacting with them through your organic social media feed.
How to incorporate both into your marketing strategy
The good news is with most social media platforms, you can work to create dynamic content all the time. Create organic social media posts on a regular basis, and use your best content to boost up into a paid strategy.
Start with a plan
We can’t stress this enough. The most important part of your strategy is to create a plan and stick with it, rather than continually trying to play catch up. Each platform has millions of potential followers ready for what you have to give. But if you have a sporadic plan at best, you’ll never reach out and capture the right attention.
People often jump into paid social media strategies too quickly. You don’t have to spend a lot on the paid side to figure out what your target audience wants. Instead, spend time on organic social media as well, listening to their comments. When they get excited about something, they’ll let you know through likes, comments, and shares.
Enhance and grow
Head out to some of the biggest names using social and you can scan through their feeds and see how they’ve changed over time. It can be an eye-opening experience. Social media isn’t a tool where you post, take it down, and post again. Instead, it’s a tool where you morph and change over time. Your ideas come together. You get more concise with what you present. You learn from your mistakes. You post based on what you see and believe. That shows your authentic side – don’t hide it. People love seeing this, and it gives them a chance to learn more about you.
The purpose of organic social media posts are to connect with your audience. If you do it the right way, it can be the cornerstone of your online marketing strategy.