Understanding Organic vs Paid Social Media Engagement

You’re doing social media, but do you really understand the differences in organic vs paid social media engagement?

Whether you rely solely on organic social media engagement or have a budget that lets you reach a bit further, you might wonder what the ideal social media marketing budget is.

The answer is there isn’t one set amount. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be putting aside a few pennies in your rainy-day social media marketing fund.

If you’re wondering how you stack up against the average daily social media marketing spend, one survey found that $200-$350 per day seems to be the sweet spot. Your budget could be impressively higher…or incredibly lower. That’s not what’s important. Instead of focusing on how many dollars you have, you should be making sure each dollar is being (effectively) stretched on your social marketing platforms.

Come with us as we explore the differences between organic ads and paid ads on several top platforms. Learn why paid ads should be a pillar in your marketing strategy while also discovering new methods for maximizing your organic post reach.

What is organic social media?

Organic social media is content that is created and posted but not boosted or sponsored. It’s primarily seen by friends or followers. It’s also likely restricted or limited in its reach, though there are some methods to boost an organic post’s reach (more on that later). Organic posts tend to bring in more qualified leads than paid marketing avenues.

Are paid ads on social media better?

Yes and no. Organic posts may bring in more qualified leads and resonate more with your target audience. But paid ads are pushed out by a platform and can expose your brand to countless new social media users through their news feed. With a smart paid social media strategy, paid ads can grow a business exponentially.

So…which type should I choose?

We wish it were that simple. When it comes to making the most of your social media dollars, we recommend you develop a mix of paid and organic posts. But because every platform is unique, we put together some information on the most popular social media platforms for agents to advertise on. See what makes the most sense with your goals and current audience.

Organic vs. ads on Facebook

facebook ads manager

Let’s assume you have a Facebook page and regularly post to it. Do you know many people are organically seeing your content? Chances are, you’re achieving less than 2% organic reach on Facebook. You can get this number a bit higher with a surge in comments or shares, but it’s not guaranteed. Just remember that your competition is dealing with low organic reach as well so while it’s discouraging, it’s not necessarily a disadvantage.

However, paid ads on Facebook overcome the limiting organic algorithm. You can engage a higher percentage of your followers with boosted posts and reach new target audience members with paid ads. You can target your paid ads to potential clients based on income, life events, interests, age, location, and more. This is especially helpful for those in agent-filled industries. For example, a real estate agent can advertise to clients in a certain location while an insurance agent can create a life insurance campaign targeted to an older underinsured audience.

Need more help on Facebook? Check out the Do’s and Don’ts of Posting Real Estate on Facebook!

Organic vs. ads on Twitter

twitter ads platform

Organic reach on Twitter is short lived. Most tweets, unless they take off through multiple shares, are almost invisible less than 20 minutes after you post them. With the right hashtags, you can increase the life of a Tweet. But when it comes to making the most out of your social media marketing budget, looking at paid options on Twitter is recommended. That’s because on Twitter, you only pay when a Tweet helps you achieve your marketing objective. Let’s say you want to grow your list of followers. If you don’t gain a single follower, you’re off the financial hook. But when a Tweet does send someone new your way, your tab starts. It’s a pay to play scenario that helps you keep your budget in check while meeting your marketing goal.

Organic vs. ads on LinkedIn

understanding linkedin organic engagement

LinkedIn offers several advantages when it comes to making the most out of organic posts when compared to other platforms. Most posts are highly visible for a full 24 hours after they’re originally posted. But if you don’t have a ton of connections, the number of people your posts reach could still be limited. That’s why their option to pay for ads should always be considered. Paid LinkedIn posts offer several advantages. For example, you can target paid LinkedIn ads by professional profile, guaranteeing you’ll reach your target B2B audience.

How do I get more organic engagement? Can an organic campaign be successful?

Absolutely. You just need to find the right goal. Do you want to increase impressions on your website or grow your followers? When you know what to focus on and what to measure, you’re more likely to find success in organic social media marketing. But there are a few tricks to increasing your organic reach.

Make sure you’re on the right platform

Where does your audience hang out? If you haven’t done the research, you might be surprised. Just because Facebook works for one business doesn’t mean it will work for your own.

Post evergreen content

One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to never give your content an expiration date. For example, if your social media lead magnet is an eBook with the best financial tips for 2017, can you expect much engagement in the following decade?

Target your messages

Targeting isn’t just for paid ads. You can target organic posts as well. On Facebook, you can target based on characteristics. On Twitter, focus on smart hashtag practices to boost your organic reach.

So, which is better? Paid or organic?

We recommend implementing a combination of both organic and paid social media posts. You don’t want to put all your digital marketing eggs in one basket, so spread your marketing dollars out across the most relevant platforms. At the same time, focus on growing your organic reach through our suggested tips and other organic best practices.

At its core, a successful social media strategy will center on providing value and building relationships. Even with a high ad budget and great organic reach, you won’t see success if your posts aren’t worth reading.

Create great content, flex your organic reach muscles, and develop a paid ad strategy across the most relevant platforms to conquer social media marketing for agents.

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