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The differences between paid and organic media

This step introduces learners to the difference between paid and organic social media content. Let's explore.

In order to achieve the best results from your social media activity, you should explore a mix between ‘organic’ and ‘paid’ social media.

Organic versus paid media

Organic social media is content with no paid support. Paid social media is when you pay the social platform to place an advert or ‘boost’ your post so it is viewed by a larger targeted audience.

What is organic content?

Engagement on organic posts will vary significantly based on how relevant and interesting the algorithm deems your content to be. Even the most engaged brands will struggle to reach all, or even most, of their existing audience with organic content.

Reports show that where Facebook pages don’t invest time into planning and creating the right content for their audience, the reach can average at about 6%.

This suggests that you shouldn’t rely on organic content alone. Remember that the people you do reach with your organic content are likely to be your most engaged existing customers, fans and advocates. Target your organic channel with content tailored to these people.

Help content

This type of content that serves the informational needs of your existing audience is often referred to as ‘help’ content. Focus on showing your customers ways to get more out of your products. Nike Academy on YouTube is a great example of this.

The extent to which you can be promotional with organic content is something you’ll need to test for yourself. Some engaged audiences will welcome regular discounts and incentives that make them feel part of an exclusive club.

Meanwhile, some audiences will primarily be there for information or entertainment value and not interact with promotional posts. Use your content planning to test this and find a balance that works for you.

Alongside your organic content, you’ll need to pursue your social media objectives through paid advertising content. This is a completely different approach to content planning as it reaches a broader audience.

It is likely to encompass all the content types you will publish alongside purely promotional posts.

The key point to remember with paid social media is that each post only exists to the audience it is put in front of. You can publish content to meet any and all of your objectives, from awareness and engagement to conversion and loyalty.

Paid media allows you to experiment

Paid social media also allows you to experiment. The ability to put any content in front of an audience gives you a myriad of approaches to the test.

You can find out which pieces of knowledge your existing customers are hungry for, whilst seeing which of your product benefits is most compelling to new prospects.

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Understanding Social Media Strategy

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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