Growing a Social Media Following: Organic vs Paid

 
targeted social media

Social media today has a huge impact on the influence you have. Whether you’re a global brand or a working professional, a social media following with frequent interaction will help you achieve your marketing or career goals.

According to Bizable, in 2016 over 84% of B2B businesses considered social media as a major part of their overall marketing strategy because of its effectiveness in raising brand awareness. And according to CalidusCloud, social media is also the third leading source of web visits for businesses. These are solid indications that social media marketing has become an essential part of the modern marketer’s arsenal.

When it comes to building a social media following, there are two approaches: organic and paid. Which of the two is more effective in putting your brand out there? Let’s take a look at some fast facts.

What is Organic Social?

Social media marketing statsOrganic social media simply means posting content on free channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. SnapChat, and so on. Organic social basically costs nothing other than time and attention. Organic campaigns combined with highly shareable content can be effective in raising awareness and generating interest in your brand.

Another good case for prioritizing organic social is it gives you a chance to engage with your best customers and turn them into brand ambassadors—for free. According to Spiralytics, research shows that up to 69% of millennials will post a positive experience on social media.

So, if you’re not using organic social media tactics, then you’re missing out on potentially valuable PR for your brand.

What is Paid Social?

Paid social media means paying to advertise on social media channels. Like organic social, paid social includes sharing content that provides value to your target audience. But paid social has the added ability of ‘boosting’ content to a specific target audience. Social media marketers can home in on buyer personas and customer characteristics such as age, sex, location, industry, etc.

The primary advantage of paid over organic social is targeting vs blasting. Paid social allows you to target specific audiences instead of blasting a general audience that might not be interested in your brand.

Whereas the organic approach is like putting up a huge billboard on a highway where everyone can see, regardless if they care about your brand or not, paid social is more akin to having a list of people who subscribe to similar interests aligned with your brand. This way, you’re certain you’ll reach an audience that is more eager to hear what you have to say.

So, what’s the best way to build a social media following?

Organic and paid social provide different benefits for marketers and B2B businesses. While it’s tempting to look at them as two competing approaches to building a social media following, it’s best to look at their relationship as mutually beneficial.

Building an organic social presence allows you to engage with your followers and see what type of content resonates with your target audience. Once you know what content works best, generate more of that type of content and invest in paid social to boost your signal and promote your brand more effectively.

In the end, organic and paid social are both important tools that should be in your marketing arsenal if your goal is to grow a large social media following.
 

References:

Bizable, The State of the Pipeline Marketing Report 2016 

CalidusCloud, Demand Gen: Three Things Your Sales Teams Want for Christmas 

Spiralytics Blog, 4 Fast Facts on Millennials and How They’re Reshaping B2B Marketing

 

Further Reading:

5 Ways to Engage With Your Twitter Followers

Retargeting vs Remarketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

So You Want to Start a Marketing Blog

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