How to Leverage Organic Social to Optimize Your Paid Social Strategy

Rizza Devega
By Rizza Devega

Are both organic social and paid social part of your social media strategy?

With organic reach on the decline, some brands look towards the pay-to-play option when trying to expand their reach and reach more users on social media. If you’re on the fence about which to use, the answer is easy. Use both!

Integrating both organic and paid social strategies together can generate great, impactful results for your business. It’s like a catch 22 – organic reach is on the decline, partly because of paid ads making it harder to reach our target audiences. On the other hand, organic social is needed as the foundation for your brand. It generates customer loyalty, credibility and engagement.

Related: Integrating Social Media Strategies with Other Channels

Social media platforms have been focusing on the user lately (think Cambridge Analytica) and how they can keep the user engaged in their social network. Social networks have been emphasizing the importance of brands reaching their audience organically because they’ll be more receptive to these posts in comparison to paid content.

While organic reach is declining, digital ad spend is continuously increasing – at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9 percent through 2020 according to Business Insider. With such a competitive space, paid social ads aren’t the solution to reaching your audience. Organic social reaps long-term benefits of organic growth while paid social drives short-term conversion lifts. In fact, according to Clutch, it’s rare for social media marketers to use one without the other – 86% integrate organic and paid strategies together.

Related: Why You Should Sync Organic and Paid Social Media

Organic Social

Organic posts do serve as a foundation for a brand. While these posts may not reach as many people the content and the community engagement through these posts is a great way for brands to build long-term relationships with their customers and prospective customers – it encourages loyalty. Users also tend to interact with brands they know personally. Organic social can also be used as a place to test what kind of content performs well and use this to determine what will perform well on the paid side.

The solution for organic reach declining is where paid social comes in!

Paid social

Paid ads help brands better target their ideal customers and offer more robust, ROI-based marketing objectives. With a variety of campaign objectives available, these ads can drive conversions, rather than driving engagement and awareness.

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Facebook is also a strong source of information of what your followers are like; for example their interests and behaviors. It houses a wealth of data from demographics, geographics, likes, etc. You can definitely learn quite a bit about your ideal and target audience through Facebook. We can utilize these targeting capabilities to create custom audiences to ensure our paid ads are reaching the right audiences and that we zero in on our target.

Integrating Organic Social and Paid Social

Cohesive Branding

In integrating organic social and paid social together, brands need to make sure that the brand voice and guidelines are enforced through both. If a user is a follower on your brand’s Instagram account, and then is retargeted with an ad that is completely different than what they post on organically, it could raise some questions. On the other hand, if they are retargeted with an ad that completely aligns with their organic posts, they are more likely to be receptive.

Dark Posting

Another way to integrate organic and paid social is using some of the better-performing organic posts as paid ads. If you see one of your organic posts getting tons of engagement and clicks, it may be a smart idea to take that post and turn it into an ad. To do this, you take the post ID of the post, and while you are editing the ad, enter that post ID, as shown in the screenshot below.

What this does is it keeps the engagement that was populated from the organic post, and we are now using Facebook’s robust targeting capabilities and various campaign objectives to push this post like we would a normal ad. Engagement on a post can definitely help performance, especially if the engagement is positive.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, combining both organic social and paid social efforts will benefit your brand immensely. While paid social offers you immediate results and expansive targeting criteria, organic social media is cost-effective and brings long-term benefits.

Organic posts give your brand validity and provides an enjoyable experience for your already-existing audience. It makes you relatable and likable. Paid posts build off of this and act as a partner to organic, leading to an amazing ROI.

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Rizza Devega is a Paid Social Project Manager at Power Digital. Born and raised in San Diego, she is passionate about all things digital media and loves helping brands and companies tell their story through various social media platforms.