Organic versus paid search – what’s the deal?

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

What’s the diff between organic and paid search? OK, so straight up:

Organic search: Using free tools provided by each social network to build a social community and interact with it, sharing posts and responding to customer comments.

Paid search: Paying to display adverts (whatever the format – text, image, video, carousel etc.) or sponsored messages to social network users based on user profile e.g. demographic. A cost is incurred depending on the type of ad planned; for example many ads incur a cost per click (cpc).

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Now, down to the nitty gritty; what does this mean for your social media marketing strategy?

The most important thing to know is that organic marketing takes time. It is, however, critical because it lets you develop and maintain a brand presence. The idea is to nurture your audience with a content-driven experience that leads to engagement and eventually loyalty – and then if ROI is what you’re after, loyalty will lead to sales/conversions.

The biggest struggle with organic search at the moment is that the chance of reaching your audience without paying is increasingly minimal thanks to changes in algorithms, resulting from social networks pushing toward paid advertising. Nonetheless, a strong social media presence is essential for brand success – awareness, engagement and loyalty.

Typically, organic marketing only reaches existing followers so the most effective way to manage your social strategy is to ensure that your engagement plan works to reinforce your brand image, retain users, and grow your following from within; in a word-of-mouth sort of scenario. It’s a long term strategy that works best by bigging up your brand personality, focusing less on promotions and advertisements and more on audience relationships.

Whilst organic search might be limited in its reach, paid search guarantees that your content will be seen and you’re therefore likely to see quicker ROI. Distributing content with paid ads on social media could be used to grow your fan-base, boost brand awareness, generate leads, drive immediate traffic to your website and promote sales incentives.

Typically, the results of paid search are immediate. Social analytics respective to each platform will help you target the right audience, helping maximise the impact of your advertising.

In an ideal marketing world, brands would work a social strategy using both organic and paid search but realistically, small businesses will not always have the budget to do so. In this instance, organic search is an absolute must...always bearing in mind the process: time equals success!

If you’d like to learn more about how to develop your social strategy into something awesome (or would like tips on reporting), we know how to do this! CALL US! We’re always ready for a chat.


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