Social Media Strategy – Organic V Paid
Social Media strategy is one of my favourite aspects of my work. I find it come easily to me, and I enjoy the strategic process.
I recently came to the realisation that most people that manage their own Social Media accounts (Facebook pages especially) don’t really understand the difference between their paid and organic posting.
They don’t have a Social Media strategy, and if they do they’re not aware how it can be broken down and implemented across both paid and organic Social Media.
Many business owners I speak to assume if you run ads they should be appearing on their pages. Or being served to them on their newsfeeds.
They also don’t fully understand the difference between boosting a post and running a campaign (I wrote a post about this here)
I get it – Social Media strategy is not something everyone’s experienced at, and with all the things you look after as a business owner it might not seem that much of an important distinction.
But if you plan to use paid activity via Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp you’ll undoubtedly benefit from knowing more about it, so you don’t waste money on the wrong things.
Otherwise it’s like buying an expensive piece of art and not knowing who the painter is.
There are too many businesses posting about their offers, promotions and events all. the. time.
People feel sold to and they tune out. It’s too much about your brand and not enough about them.
In my experience, your Social Media strategy should fit into a few key themes, and I’ll detail each one, so you know how to decide if what you want to publish is organic-friendly or better being put into a paid campaign.
Organic Social Media Strategy
Engagement & Community Building
Most of your posting should be reflective of your community, to get them to engage with you. Now, I realise it’s much tougher to do that than in 2012, especially with new pages (and it takes time) but it’s essential. Be patient.
You should know exactly who your audience is, and you must prove to them that you get them. You believe in the same things they do. You understand their challenges.
Great formats for this are polls, relatable quotes, helpful tips in your niche and behind the scenes content or info about how you make your product/design your services.
For example – if you’re a service provider like a business coach you could poll your audience on whether they are excited or dreading going back to work after the holidays. People can answer vote and feel safe to participate as there’s only two options.
You have a group of people you’re trying to reach, and if you always keep them front and centre of your Social Media strategy they’ll be more likely to choose you when the time comes to buy.
Content types that work well in this theme are generally visual – think video and original images.
Authority Building & Brand Positioning
This one’s different for all businesses, as it depends on your size as to whose the authority – you (as the owner) or your brand, but either way you want to be the best in the business and your Social Media strategy can help you achieve this.
For many brands, your product or service isn’t completely unique – so standing out as the “best” might be showing people you’re the cheapest (or most premium), the fastest, the most cruelty free, the longest lasting…whatever your USP is helps prove you understand what your market needs, and how to enhance their lives with it.
If you sell beach towels you want to be the go-to resource for everything beach related. Build your authority so your audience trusts you and knows you are knowledgeable in an area that they’re passionate about.
When you do this, you’ll feature more than just your own products but don’t worry – you don’t have to feature your direct competitors.
If we stay with the beach towel example, what about hats? Sunglasses? Eskies? Waterproof phone cases…whatever else you pack in your beach bag. Plus swimming, sun safety, reading, ANYTHING beach related is still relevant to your audience.
Acknowledge your product is only one part of their experience.
You can share links to great articles from high profile accounts in your niche, industry studies (about how to spot a rip for example) or publish your own written content on these wider themes on a blog so you can entice your audience to visit your website -without asking them to buy anything.
You’ll be amazed how much less “stuck” you feel coming up with content to post if you open your topics beyond the first layer.
This theme also covers your (or your brand’s) personality. If your market is fun-loving people – be fun! Want to attract affluent buyers, use their language; if your product is made for other businesses, use industry speak to reflect your experience in that niche.
There’s really no end to what post formats you can use for this – but links, video, testimonials, reviews, and shots of your product in the hands of users (not only product shots) are useful, as is any user generated content (where you have customers who’ve taken photos of your product and posted them to Social Media)
People can’t but from you if they don’t know you exist – so one of your themes should be informing your market about your product features and the challenges it solves from them.
But not in a salesy way. Try to keep your posts about how your product is designed with them in mind to HELP them.
If you have a product-based business, you could detail why you chose recycled packaging to not only inform, but to develop empathy with people who value this philosophy.
Video is great for this as it’s easy to consume and showcases how your product works, therefore how it helps people.
You can still post about your latest sale, and share product shots of your new collections, it just needs to be kept in proportion.
People love buying things, but they hate being sold to so if you find your audience tuning out, ask yourself if you posted too many sales messages.
I know there’s a lot of pressure to move inventory, but this is Social Media – if it doesn’t have a SOCIAL aspect it’s going to get lost in the noise.
Top Tip: Make yourself a content calendar so you can be sure to vary your content themes and formats to keep it interesting, and always pay attention to your metrics to measure success.
How will I know it’s working?
Organic metrics you should be tracking are reach, engagement and negative feedback.
Paid Social Media Strategy
When it comes to your paid Social Media strategy you have more flexibility.
You can talk about promotions, offers, sales and shipping…all the more practical and logistical aspects of your business that aren’t necessarily going to make good “on page” content can be very helpful within campaigns.
If you have the right targeting in place, people will be interested in your business and accept (and even sometimes be glad) that you’re telling them about your latest promotion.
Notice I said the right targeting.
There are many challenges to selecting the right audience for your paid messages – but because you can control who’s served your ad, you know what stage of the buyer journey they’re at and what will likely sell them on your offer, so you can tailor your copy and creative to be highly relevant to them.
For example, if you have a website that sells furniture and you’re having a couch sale – you can target people who’ve recently visited your brand’s couch product page. If someone looked at beds or coffee tables they aren’t as likely to be in the market to buy a couch – so you can leave them out of your targeting, limiting your ad wastage.
Social Media Strategy Summary
Your paid and organic strategies don’t have to have the exact same objectives, if they’re all serving your end goal they can (and I believe should be) approached in different ways.
Social selling does work, but it’s a balancing act of being social with your community and reserving the bulk of the salesy CTAs (calls to action) to your paid campaigns.
What do you think? Are you guilty of sales-spamming your community?