There are 2 different ways to use social media. One is as a consumer who shares dank memes, comments on their bestie’s photos or posts videos of their cat’s cute antics. And the other is as a marketer with a business profile to build a brand presence and community.
You, being the latter, have 2 different means of doing it – content and ads. Let’s dive deep and see how to make the most of them both!
Social Media Content
Also called organic social media, it includes the images, carousels, videos, reels, stories, blog posts and highlights you post for your followers and page visitors to see. You can find it all posted on a profile or business page. It is unpaid, and even users without a business profile can post it. But doing it for business has the specific purpose of brand marketing and advertising. So it needs a sound strategy to be worth the time and effort, unlike sharing a clip of your kitty chasing its own tail ( which also is content btw ).
Social Media Ads
Also called paid social media, they can only be run by business profiles. These ads include all the paid material you run on the platforms to reach users who aren’t necessarily following or organically reaching your page. It’s quite like paying money to put up an ad on a billboard, but on digital platforms. The ads are in the form of images, carousels, reels or stories and don’t look very different from organic content. And the platforms blend them in almost seamlessly with the organic content users discover when scrolling or browsing through them. So how do you tell them apart? Instagram, Twitter and many others show social media ads with a small label saying ‘Sponsored,’ while platforms like Facebook have other various places and ways to blend the ads in too – each having a slightly different marketing goal.
Platforms like Instagram also allow you to boost the free, organic content you have posted, by charging you a fee, so that you can make the content have a wider-than-organic reach and thereby making it an ad.
Very simple rule: If it’s paid, it’s an ad. If it’s unpaid, it’s content.
How They Are Different
Social media content and ads have their own sets of advantages and drawbacks. Here’s how they differ from each other:
- Like we said before, content is free. Ads need money.
- Content can be viewed by following or visiting a brand’s page.
Ads can’t, unless they are posts boosted later. Ads reach you on their own as you scroll through your feed.
- Content isn’t targeted to a specific audience. Anyone can bump into it as per the platform’s algorithm. Ads are targeted, and you get to decide the location, age, gender, etc. of the audience you want the ad to reach. So they’re better at reaching your ideal customers.
- Content is used more for marketing than advertising. It’s better suited to build a brand identity and community and engage with it in the long run. It functions as the face of a brand, just like website content. Ads are effective in advertising, i.e. to increase sales. They place the link to buy the product/service on sale, along with the current offers and price, right in front of the potential buyer. They’re better at conveying what the brand is offering at that moment.
However, content and ads can be used for both – marketing and advertising. It’s just that they’re more suited for different goals.
How to Have an Integrated Approach
As a social media marketer, you need to utilise the best of both these worlds to propel your brand and business to success.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when strategizing:
- Not all promotional material has to be paid. A creative, catchy post or story can also have a wide reach if viewers feel like sharing it with others. There are organic posts going viral and trending on social media all the time!
- Boost your best organic content (duh!). It isn’t worth the cost to boost all your posts. Just put your best foot forward.
- Run A/B tests. Before allocating your whole budget to one version of an ad, run variations of it through a small audience as a test to see what works best. You can have different CTAs, visuals, copy, and even target different audiences with the A & B versions of your ad.
- Target your ads to an audience similar to your followers. As your brand grows, your followers can give you invaluable details about what your TG is like. And that can help you reach more such people who would actually be interested in your brand.
- Retarget the people who are already following you too. Especially when you have new offers, campaigns or events. Because those are the people who are most likely to give you conversions, and they might not see your promotional post in their feed.
- Analyse your ads’ performance with all the tools you have in your business profile. It’s wise to hire professional analysts who can better gauge the performance of your ads and give you suggestions to optimise them for future runs. The job exists because it helps!
You can also hire a one-stop agency that takes care of it all – from designing your ads to analysing their performance. Like ours!
Just give us a holler. We can help you increase your sales, increase brand awareness, get more leads and boost your business with the help of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and YouTube ads.
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