We’ve talked about why every company should have an integrated communications program. While it may seem overwhelming to get every component of your communications plan aligned, there are small steps you can take to slowly begin reaping the benefits of a fully integrated program.
In this post, I break down how integrating your organic and paid social media strategy will maximize internal efficiency and increase the overall impact of each program.
But first, let’s review the role of organic and paid social media efforts in achieving organizational and communication goals (and how to measure various KPIs!).
Organic Social Media
- Brand awareness: While these are what we refer to as “vanity” metrics, impressions and reach are a worthwhile place to start when your goal is generating brand awareness (just promise you won’t look at these metrics in a vacuum to gauge the success of your efforts!). As a refresher, reach is the total number of users who see your content vs. impressions, which is the total number of times your content surfaces in a user’s timeline or feed.
- Customer service: For consumer-facing brands, customer service is arguably one of the most important components of organic social media. Success in this realm is largely measured by response rate and time, but sentiment, anecdotal feedback and customer reviews should be considered, too.
- Community building: Whether the goal of your social presence is to educate, entertain or a combination, engagement rate will ultimately measure your ability to resonate with any given audience. Posts that garner high impressions with minimal engagements present an opportunity to go back to the content strategy drawing board.
Paid Social Media
- Reaching a larger, targeted audience: The power of paid allows brands to reach a broader, but also customizable audience – something that is often not achievable through organic efforts alone. This activity can also be measured through reach and impressions, however metrics like cost per click (CPC) and cost per thousand impressions (CPM) are more commonly used to report specific value of the dollars invested.
- Drive leads and conversions: Also measured through the CPC model, paid social media is often deployed to drive increased website traffic, form submissions and other types of conversions.
Now you’re hopefully thinking to yourself, “there seems to be some overlap between the two…” That’s because there is! The most successful digital teams work together to ensure their organic and paid social media strategies are complementary, because at the end of the day, goals must be aligned.
Here are our top tips for integrating organic and paid social media strategies:
Align all messaging
We hit on the importance of consistent messaging in our integrated communications blog post and preach this to our clients, too. The importance of messaging applies across both organic and paid social media efforts.
In some cases, your organic social media content may be amplified to a new audience through paid boosting. It’s important to ensure your social media copy represents your brand voice and has a clear call to action so long-time supporters and new users are both inspired to engage. If your paid social strategy spans deeper than boosting content, message alignment is just as important. Your copy should not be verbatim across organic and paid campaigns, but the key messages should support one another to avoid confusion when users cross-over between platforms.
Choose channels intentionally
The whole goal of integrating your paid and organic social media strategy is to optimize efforts and maximize results. Having a clear understanding of your audience on each social platform and connecting the dots on top-performing content should drive both paid and organic efforts.
If you already have a strong organic reach on Twitter and notice existing customers reaching out with support questions and feedback, you may consider focusing your paid budget toward generating a larger following on Instagram or driving specific actions through Facebook advertising. Organic performance can be utilized as a baseline to determine where the most fruitful paid opportunities live.
No matter the amount, when any campaign is backed by budget it’s crucial to report on the results. Website tracking analytics (such as Google Analytics) and UTM tracking are essential to keep track of conversions and traffic driven from each channel.
Target and retarget
Implied by the name, a lookalike audience is a great way to target untapped individuals who share similar demographics and behaviors to your existing audience. This data can be pulled from your organically grown social media following, from an existing business list like newsletter subscribers or from behavior-driven actions, such as those who have purchased a product from your website in the last 6 months.
In addition to attracting new individuals, your brand can utilize paid social advertising to stay connected with your organic audience. Retargeting campaigns serve as a friendly reminder for those who have recently visited your social channels or website. This strategic approach is an ideal way to continue driving brand awareness while ideally leading to further engagement or a desired conversion.
Trust the data (and the people interpreting it)
As always, the best results come from integrated teams, thoughtful monitoring, analysis and optimization. Investing in the right tools and strategic partner is key to creating an effective paid and organic social media strategy.
If this post has left you thinking of ways to increase the effectiveness (and efficiency) of your social media strategy, let’s chat! I’m confident we can find a few ways to help you work smarter, not harder.
Catherine Pace is a Digital Account Executive at Franco. Connect with her on LinkedIn.