Organic social media refers to utilizing genuine content on its own to spur interest in your product or service and is heavily utilized by established brands with large audiences. For new companies, or those targeting niche audiences, it has become an almost universal belief that it is next to useless compared to paid advertising.
However, the truth is that neither form of advertising functions effectively on its own. Especially in an era in which social media has made consumer outreach free and immediate, the need to utilize marketing tools like PPC advertising and old media outreach efforts has lessened in effectiveness as a means to maintaining positive market awareness. Here are some things to consider when developing your own organic social media generation plans, both with and without paid advertising.
Don't Be Afraid To Experiment
Creating a viable marketing campaign requires experimentation. There are simply too many independent factors that play into consumers decisions and interests to create a rule book that applies to every conceivable situation. As such, do not be afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. One of the greatest things we have seen in effective organic marketers is the willingness to try several ideas at once, weed out those that don’t work, and add new ones. The end result is a constant churn that helps you identify the most promising advertising gems that can be leveraged in hybrid free-paid advertising setups.
The ideas you use do not always have to be ground shaking. Even something as small as changing the size or type of image used can lead to improved sharing and lead identification.
Use A/B Testing To See What Works
There is one great challenge in marketing – determining the factors involved in a particular advertisement’s success or failure. There is only one way to get to the heart of the matter, A/B Testing. This involves the creation and dissemination of two advertisements that are identical in every way except for the specific item being investigated.
For instance, you can create two identical Facebook posts, but change the size of images used. Another example could follow the inclusion of new media, for instance you may be interested in seeing how effective a simple video may be in spurring further interest in your company. You will be amazed to discover how simple changes can lead to drastically different results in consumer interest. Here is a good example of A/B testing AdEspresso did on a couple of ads they ran...just look at the difference in the results!
By using link tracking you will be able to quickly collect the data needed to make an informed opinion. We highly recommend that you use a tool like Google Analytics to quickly parse the data and ensure that you come to the right conclusion without having to waste hours looking over spreadsheets.
Use Your Results To Alter Your Budget
Creating a marketing campaign is not a one-time affair. Consumer needs and interests are in constant flux, meaning that what worked today may not work again for twenty years. You have to be constantly vigilant for subtle changes and willing to incorporate them into your current plans, even if that means you have to create or modify a paid advertising component.
To make it easy for you to control this in real time, turn to media management tools that connect your social media accounts to paid advertising platforms like Google AdWords or Facebook Ad Accounts. By having a holistic understanding of what is going on, you can stay in sync with the market and limit financial losses by underperforming outreach endeavors.
For those who are targeting multiple niches, this will also enable you to readily create multi-tangent campaigns that start with a common core and branch out quickly to different market segments. For instance, say you are a baker advertising a new cake glaze option. The first post can be a general information piece while you can have multiple posts, targeted to different social media forums, based upon intended use (wedding, anniversary, birthday…). You can even tailor advertising for this sub-posts to match up perfectly to the specific demographic.
Don’t Commit Cash Too Early – Play For Free First
Marketing is a two-factor endeavor centered around identifying leads and converting them into repeat consumers. Organic social media enables you to tackle both ends of this equation at once in an open and transparent manner. As such, it can serve as a testing board for new products and services.
Utilize free resources to quickly gauge market interest and provide opportunities for your company to tweak its approach. While the initial steps may involve a lower sales volume, it also enables you to avoid incurring risk to your company’s reputation or developing a large sunk advertising expense for failed products.
Only after you have ironed out the bugs can you scale this campaign to include paid advertising to drive interest beyond your loyal core consumers. Additionally, by having positive information already available and shared, you will be able to maximize market awareness among your target demographic with greater ease and lower overall expense.
Considering the fact that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, turn to the free opportunities offered by organic social media today.
Acknowledge That Nothing Is Ever Completely Free
The time and resources you put into creating a marketing campaign costs your company dearly in terms of manpower and technical knowledge, even if it doesn’t cost a penny upfront. Factor in the time you spend on your campaign and count it like any other expense, and be ready to bring in outside help to ensure that you get a positive return on this investment. A successful organic marketing campaign enables you to develop a small base of loyal followers, while paid advertising can amplify the effects throughout the entire market.
When handled properly, you can easily make back the cost of advertising and obtain compensation for the unpaid time spent dedicated to organic marketing.