I’m hoping to combine organic and paid social media marketing but have never gone the paid route before. Curious what the perks are of paid social media and if anyone has experience using it short term (or long term). Is it worth the money? - i.e. does it drive traffic and engagement like it should? And what do I still need to do on my end to make sure it’s working efficiently and correctly?
Most people answered the detail about paid vs. organic, but your header asks what social media marketing does that you can't. That answer is pretty simple. And that's that the channel of social media knows more about your target than you could ever ascertain on your own. What you can't do on your own is generate a selection of people whose stated interests (and even masked interests) meet the criteria of the personas you're attempting to reach with your advertising.
Here are the two things to keep in mind when using a social media channel, whether paid or not paid. 1) Is your intended audience looking at the social media outlet you're considering? 2) when they're looking, are they even in the mindset to consider and buy your product? Most of the time the answer to number two is NO, and this is why a lot of social media advertising does not directly result in increased sales.
Yes, you still need to be found and need many impressions to move prospects along the path to a purchase decision. But, if your prospect is never in the mood to buy your product while using social media, that channel is not a good use of advertising funds.
Great answers on here. Here's what I would add. Organic growth is not free. There are no shortcuts to building a great following that generates revenue. You must have very good content in order to even begin to generate revenue. Good content takes a lot of time and money. The effort required to generate quality "organic" growth at scale is often more expensive than using decent content and a paid strategy. Whether it's facebook, google, twitter, etc. Their revenue depends on you having to spend to get in front of the right people. I say just play the game. you will waste a lot of time otherwise.
I think that most answers here effectively cover the differences between non-paid and paid social media marketing. To reiterate, though, I'd say that with some paid forms you're able to take a sniper's approach more easily. You can focus on and get in front of precisely who you'd like to (here I'm thinking mostly of what facebook allows you to do).
As far as marketing efficiently and correctly, though, I would offer this: Test, test, test. And then test some more. Sure, you don't want to set up a Facebook ad campaign and make some basic mistake, but beyond that, make sure you're always trying new things - new types of content, different lengths of content, different demographics. Test against every variable you can think of; gather data; rinse, refine, repeat. Also, find where your product/brand fits best. Cover written, audio, and video forms of marketing if you can. And keep an eye on where people's attention is.
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