When it comes to social media, what “paid” strategies work?
And, what can be done for “free” to increase reach and engagement every day?

If you’re a small business owner, it’s a fantastic question. This cheat sheet provides some of the best solutions, so tuck it away in your virtual back pocket… ready?

What is organic reach?

In a nutshell, organic reach uses free methods to promote your message and build community. For example, using live video showcasing your products and services is a way to reach your audience “organically.” Creating valuable content and posting consistently is another way to get in front of your prospective buyers without having to purchase ads.

What is paid reach?

It’s just what it implies. You pay X amount of dollars to boost your message or content via advertising or sponsored messages. Some advertising, for example, will charge you based on a cost per click (CPC). By paying for promotions, your content will be displayed in the news feeds of your targeted audience. And by doing so, your brand is exposed to a larger pool of people – overriding organic algorithms for better engagement.

Why is it best to rely on both earned and paid media?      

Whether you’re shelling out dollars or posting content regularly, both paid and organic strategies are about building brand awareness, and over time, cultivating a community of people that need your products and services. Regardless of your approach, social media allows for listening, responding to, and interacting with your customer.

But, why do you need both? In one word, Google.

The more SEO-driven original content you put out there (organically), the higher your chances of being indexed and ranked by Google, the number one search engine. In fact, 57 percent of marketers say SEO impacts lead generation. Meanwhile, average organic search leads have a 14.6 percent close rate, compared to 1.7 percent for outbound marketing leads.

On the other side of the coin, social channels are now monetized. Unfortunately, only about 4 percent of Facebook followers see your organic posts. This makes pay-to-play models a stark reality, especially when you want to reach larger, more targeted audiences.

Advertising by age, geography, and income brackets cuts through the clutter, and native advertising can make your “paid” content blend in and look like regular content. And let’s face it – showing up in a sidebar on Google can only help, not hurt your brand.

Ultimately, having an integrated marketing strategy provides maximum impact and will be better for your budget.

What are the best organic vs. paid tactics across the most popular social media channels?


Organic: Facebook Live

Facebook Live, video streaming from your phone to your news feed, is particularly popular – live videos see 3X the engagement of traditional video shares, while millions of users can potentially join you from around the world.

Paid: Facebook Ads

All of Facebook’s ad campaigns run through the Facebook Ads Manager tool, which you can access via a direct link at facebook.com/ads, or by clicking “Manage Ads” in the drop-down menu on your Facebook account, or by clicking any of the CTAs on your Facebook page. But buyer beware, there are many learning curves when utilizing Facebook advertising. Ads require a lot of testing to determine relevant audiences and what will resonate best with each. They aren’t an instant windfall of customers.


Organic: Hashtags

Tweets with hashtags receive 2x more engagement than those without hashtags. Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21 percent higher engagement than those with three or more. Hashtag research is essential before forming a strategy. For more on the do’s and don’ts of hashtag usage, click here.

Paid: Promoted Tweets

These are tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a broader group of users. Promoted tweets are labeled as ‘Promoted’ and act just like regular posts in that people can retweet and like them. To see a “how-to” click here.


Organic: Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories has over 300 million daily active users, which rivals Snapchat! The algorithm takes into account all the interactions you receive on your Instagram Stories as well, such as replies or as stories are forwarded to someone else. If you’re a “newbie” to Instagram Stories, click here for a tutorial.

Paid: Photo, Video, and Carousel Ads

Bright, crisp photos and videos are the name of the game. Instagram is one of the MOST visual social channels out there with three main types of Ads. You can learn more about them here.


Organic: Original Content Sharing

According to Social Report, it’s best practice to share out content from thought leaders in your industry. Whether sharing digital marketing tips or the latest trends in SaaS cloud computing, leverage information that your followers will find valuable. When you do, your brand can be the one to bring it to them.

Paid: LinkedIn Ads

There are self-service Ads (do-it-yourself campaigns); sponsored content (promoting and boosting content on your company page); and text Ads (a headline, description, and image) that reach more followers in less time. For all the details on these paid avenues and more, check out Hootsuite’s guide!

And one more thing…

We can’t leave out influencer marketing for any social channel. Primarily a paid tactic, influencers can help to further your cause by promoting and standing behind your products and introducing your services to their loyal followers.

Yet, there’s one caveat worth pointing out. Forbes contributor, Divya Parekh, advises:

“Real influencer positioning is not about reaching out to an influencer to endorse and/or promote your brand in return for a hefty sum of money. Influencer positioning, at its best, is when you build a mutually beneficial relationship so strong that the influencer believes in you and joyfully takes pride in associating their name with you and your brand.”

There you have it – a quick cheat sheet to take advantage of every tool, paid and organic so that you can get noticed. Of course, you can always rely on One Part Social to come to the rescue too.

Call, click, or direct message us anytime.


If you found this post valuable, please pass it on. We love helping small businesses grow.