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It’s hard to deny the impact that social media can make on consumers when there is projected to be approx. 2.5 billion active users on social media in 2017 ( Statista ). All businesses, regardless of what industry they are in, should be aware of the benefits that come along with incorporating social media into their digital marketing plan .

There is often confusion between the two elements that make up the social media marketing channel. The two pieces of organic social media and paid advertising work hand in hand to support each other as well as other marketing channels and efforts but operate differently.

The first component of social media marketing is organic social media, or the utilization of free tools and features on any given platform (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). Essentially, there isn’t a budget for an advertising spend involved. Instead, an organic social media campaign mostly consists of a well-crafted schedule for posting content to educate, engage, inform, and inspire. Content is king when it comes to digital marketing. Social media is about sharing content and creating conversations with your audience online. Community building, social listening, social networking, and profile optimization are all necessities for a successful social media strategy . Marketing on social media involves being personable, interacting with followers, encouraging engagement, and building an online community. Through posts and online interactions, you can communicate your brand’s values, and connect with your followers building a relationship with that customer where you will be the one they turn to when they need a product you offer rather than going to a competitor. Building that positive association and relationship with users leads to one of the most powerful marketing efforts available, word of mouth. When you have social advocates, who speak positively about your brand, your service, your products, and what you do you, that is a powerful message as people trust the input of other people not associated with a company. Your social media presence should give consumers a better idea of your brand, engage them over time so your relationship is more than just a single interaction, and compel them to become a customer.

The other component of social media marketing is paid advertising. Social media has grown exponentially over the years and people share more online than they ever have before. Consequently, content began overloading news feeds. To overcome this obstacle, social media platforms have put in a place a “pay to play” game. Platforms, such as Facebook, have implemented an algorithm that weaves paid advertisements into users’ feeds. The new algorithms populate posts based on what would be most interesting to the viewer based on previous habits and viewing behavior. Unlike a organic social media strategy, paid advertising requires a budget set for ad spend. Paid advertising is a way to reach people who are interested in what you offer and don’t know you offer it. It is also a great way to build up the user base that interacts with your posts and generate additional leads and sales.

Paid advertising in combination with your organic strategy can help your business expand its visibility, and reach other users from your target market that may have never found you organically. Many social media platforms offer extensive targeting options—such as the demographic and interest targeting options available on Facebook—making audience building an advantageous opportunity for your online marketing objectives. Advertising on social media covers practically all objectives that a business may have: drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, lead generation, newsletter signups, purchases, etc. With the ability to hone in on specific users on social media by using the extensive targeting options, social media has become a strong force in the digital marketing world.

Combining an all-star organic social media strategy with an effective paid advertising strategy will make any business soar. The possibilities are endless for growing a business when using a well-defined and successful social media marketing strategy . If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits to both organic and paid components of social media marketing, contact the social media professionals team today!

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