Organic and paid social networks – they are the peanut butter and the jelly of marketing. Together they are an unstoppable duo – a classic combination that can convince any audience.
Unfortunately, these two worlds often work in silos as separate teams or even as separate departments. At Hootsuite, we know that our social success is directly related to the integration of paid and organic efforts. I sat down with some experts from Hootsuite and they shared how our strategic efforts are working together.
Bonus: Get the step-by-step guide to social media strategies with professional tips on how to increase your social media presence.
Why combine organic and paid social strategies?
Simply put, you can't afford not to – organic and pay need each other to be successful.
Brayden Cohen, social marketing specialist at Hootsuite, says: "In today's social landscape, paid and organic companies need to take a complementary strategic approach. The more harmonized these efforts are, the better your results will be."
Organic is important for building your brand and growing your community. However, as the network algorithms change, your organic posts will not get the same playing time as before – even if a post with the best performance gets a lot of engagement from its followers.
A paid social strategy extends your reach by making your content accessible to more people. You can also target specific audiences based on demographics to increase the effectiveness of your prospecting and lead generation. However, you can't run effective paid campaigns without a basic audience base – and Organic Social is the daily workhorse that this initial audience builds for you.
The more integrated you are, the more ROI you will see
When surveying over 3,100 marketers for our Social Media Trends 2020 report, we found that an integrated approach to customer loyalty between social media and other digital and traditional channels leads to greater trust in social ROI.
From a customer experience perspective, this makes a lot of sense. Mark Abrami, chief advisor for corporate values at Hootsuite, explains: “At first glance it may be more convenient for a company to separate paid and organic products, but this is a mistake. From the customer's perspective, this creates a very unrelated experience – and this can be seen in the overall success of both programs. "
How to better integrate your paid and organic social networks – tips from Hootsuites professionals
Wondering how to use organic and paid programs as a seamless part of your social strategy? Hootsuite experts share what you should prioritize when integrating your efforts.
Concentrate on your calendar with organic content and then experiment
In the race for bigger and better social results, it can be easy to overlook the obvious: Regular publication of a diverse mix of high-quality organic content is essential for building a community and for your long-term growth efforts.
"Before you do anything on social networks," says Cohen, "you need to update your organic content calendar." It is impossible to have a committed, loyal following without one. You need a foundation before you can focus on building. "
Your content calendar should be controlled by a working social media strategy that will help you determine what, how often, and when to publish.
If you create ads without a solid foundation, you will get uneven results. That is why it is so important that you use your organic content as a test site for your ads. "Once you see what is organic about your audience, you can actually work with data that will help you define the paid side of your strategy," says Cohen. “With Hootsuite Promote, for example, we can set up automatic triggers to promote organic content that works really well. This way we can optimize our advertising spending by investing our dollars in top performing posts. "
Invest in employee advocacy as an area for organic testing
Employee advocacy is a growing area of opportunity that many social teams do not use. According to our Social Trends 2020 survey, only 30% of organizations run advocacy programs.
At Hootsuite, we understand how important employee advocacy is for our organic and paid marketing strategies. Your employees have an incredible social impact among their colleagues – and they are trusted more than your brand. That is why your employees play an important role on the way to the purchase. According to a Forrester study, 81% of people who credit social media for a purchase decision say they see a friend's post or actively seek advice from their peers.
Our team at Hootsuite has found that social networks not only prioritize posts from colleagues, but also have a greater impact on those posts. For example, with just one piece of content shared through Amplify – our social advocacy tool – more than 150,000 people can be reached by employees who share it on their own social networks. This is an effective way to reach more potential customers and test content before advertising spend is behind it.
"As we've seen over the years," says Cohen, "an employee advocacy program helps build brands, creating more revenue from our advertising campaigns." In this additional area, you can test what works and invest our advertising dollars in content that has been proven to be successful. "
Integrate your social lead tracking across teams
Once you've invested in the long game of an efficiently managed organic content calendar, you can start thinking about how to expand your reach beyond your loyal core followers to reach new audiences. As Cohen says, "Reach and lead generation are where ads become essential."
Automating manual tasks such as tracking leads can build a bridge between you and other teams that also focus on lead generation. This helps all teams save time and avoid duplication of work.
"We use tools that allow us to connect to multiple platforms to automate workflows between teams and track leads from social networks," said Cohen. For example, with Hootsuite Ads, which we can use to combine our search and social ads, we have set up automatic targeting and synchronized all of our Facebook leads between CRM accounts. Instead of manually uploading lead information from a CSV file, we can automatically keep our target groups connected. "
For large campaigns or other lead generation initiatives that go beyond our usual efforts, we provide an ad budget that enables us to reach specific customer groups with targeted content. "With this type of planning, we can map our advertising budgets quarterly and annually," says Cohen. "All of our metrics for these ads meet broader business objectives – and complement the lead generation efforts of the other teams we work with."
Analyze your organic and paid metrics together
It's almost impossible to track the return on investment if you don't get a bird's eye view of all of your organic and paid content. This will give you a complete picture of how everything works together.
"There is no way to manage everything if we didn't all work on one platform," said Cohen. "It is important to track metrics and share our results with the company."
Our ROI tool Hootsuite Impact is our central source of truth: “With the dashboard we can see the performance of posts in real time and make changes immediately. If something doesn't go well, we know immediately and can change our strategy. We can also analyze data from organic and paid posts together or separately with Impact – which is very useful. In this way, we can access all of our measurement data for weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting. "
Be picky about what you measure
Just because there is a lot that you can measure social, doesn't mean you should measure everything. The write-up remains a complex challenge for social marketers. If you are buried in the flood of the measurable instead of focusing on what you should measure, you will go further astray.
"It's always surprising for me when people in other organizations say that they spend all this advertising money and don't really know where it's going," says Abrami. "If you don't know what you're tracking, you won't be effective. There are too many things you can measure, so you need to clearly define your goals and metrics. Otherwise, you will lose yourself looking at data that what you need to know as a company are not that relevant. "
Focus on the metrics that are most useful for your team's KPIs and work from there. "You have to be selective," says Abrami. "This is the secret to success. If you focus on the laser with what you have to measure and why, it is easier to report on the success of the actual program."
Integrate your organic and paid content into Hootsuite and LinkedIn to unlock your brand's potential.