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Organic Reach v. Paid Ads

Organic reach is great but is it getting you to where you want to be? There’s so much emphasis on organic reach…on hacking the algorithm, using the right keywords, and showing up on the discover page. But honestly, there’s nothing wrong with paid ads on social media. In fact, ads are a great way to grow your following faster. Let’s go into the pros and cons of each.


First off, what is organic reach? Organic reach is the number of users who see your social media profile without paid promotion. This requires quality and consistent content, not to mention engagement from your followers in the form of likes, shares, and comments. Certainly, organic reach takes time and consistent effort. However, it can demonstrate authenticity and cultivate trust in your brand.


Why it’s great → encourages community-building, fosters genuine engagement, is long-term effective since it doesn’t rely on $$


Why it’s lacking → takes time and consistent effort, is at the whim of social media’s ever-changing algorithms, offers limited and often inconsistent results due to seasonality, trends, etc.


10 Best Practices For Optimizing Organic Reach


1. Offer value

Create engaging content that provides value for your target audience. What pain point are you helping to alleviate?


2. Engage with your audience

Social media is a two-way street. Respond in a professional and timely manner to comments and direct messages.


3. Optimize for each platform

Each social media platform operates differently and prefers certain content (and how that content is presented). Make sure you’re not just sharing the same ad across platforms without adjusting to fit the specific platform.


4. Create visual appeal

High-quality images and engaging content are critical for organic reach. Ensure colors, photos, text, and copy are captivating right off the bat.

5. Build community

Cultivating meaningful interactions will build trust, loyalty, and a sense of community amongst your followers.


6. Utilize analytics

Make use of social media analytics to find out what’s working well and what needs to be improved. Don’t waste your energy on what’s not effective.


7. Encourage sharing and advocacy

Your followers are your best form of advertising. Think about it, aren’t you more likely to buy a product your friend recommended than one that simply popped up on your social media feed? Encourage sharing and advocacy through contests, giveaways, and loyalty programs.


8. Consider SEO

Use keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your content and goals. Hop onto (appropriate) hashtag trends for better visibility.


9. Stay current and relevant

If your brand and offerings align with a current trend or challenge, hop on it! Be sure to also stay on top of changes in social media algorithms, features, and policies.


10. Collaborate and cross-promote

Work with like-minded brands and content creators to reach a broader audience. Co-create UGC (user-generated content), brand partnerships, and more.


Paid Ads


Paid ads on the other hand means paying to have your content reach a targeted audience. It affords your brand more control over who sees your content (specific demographics and psychographics) and can yield greater results (and faster). Still, it’s important to note that paid ads take careful budget allocation and strategic planning. 


Why it’s great → boosts visibility for important or time-sensitive messages, targets specific audiences, is short-term effective as results are immediate, leaves room to scale


Why it’s lacking → requires budget allocation that might not be feasible for small or new brands, (potentially) reduces authenticity since you’re paying for exposure (#adfatigue), is also at the whim of social media algorithm changes, competes with other brands’ paid advertising


10 Best Practices For Paid Ads On Social


1. Set clear objectives

Tailor your content to fit your specific goals. Do you want to increase web traffic, generate more leads, increase sales, build brand awareness, boost subscribers, or something else?


2. Know your audience

Utilize the data from each social media platform to understand all you can about your audience’s demographics and psychographics. Target based on location, behaviors, pain points, and preferences.


3. Use compelling visuals and copy

High-quality images and engaging copy need to capture your value proposition in a small space. Make the most of it!


4. Try A/B testing

Experiment with different formats of visuals, content, and copy to see what is most impactful and effective with your targeted audience.


5. Optimize for mobile

Test how your ads look and work on mobile devices since much of your audience will engage with them via their phone.


6. Have a strong CTA

What do you want your target audience to do? Circle back to your objective (#1) to create a powerful call-to-action.


7. Monitor and analyze

Check on metrics like click-thru-rates, ROAS (return on ad spend, conversions, and engagement to determine how your ads are performing. Adjust as necessary.


8. Adapt to platform changes

Stay up-to-date on each social media platform’s changing algorithms, features, and policies to make sure your ads have the best chance of succeeding.


9. Manage your budget

Analyze your ROI (return on investment) and allocate your budget to best align with your social media strategy.


10. Maintain consistent branding

Colors, fonts, and messaging should be aligned across content and platforms.


Of course, Media À La Carte believes that the most successful social media marketing strategy combines both organic reach and paid advertising. Utilizing both is not only more sustainable, but also yields better engagement. 


Need help with paid advertising on social? Good news! Media À La Carte now offers assistance in all things paid ads. Curious for more? Schedule a discovery call with us today.