Over the last few years, we have noticed that organic posts on brand-owned social media channels just don’t seem to be getting the same amount of visibility as they once were. It wasn’t long ago that were advising our clients to put effort into growing a social media following because eventually, it would save money on paid social media. The theory was that you could post content to your followers with company updates in a similar fashion to the way you can email your database. Yet our latest research has completely thrown that recommendation up in the air.

To drill into the research further, we need to take a minute to define what we mean by organic versus paid media content.


What is Organic Content?

Organic content is a phrase used to describe content created by a brand or agency that is distributed across its owned social media channels. For example; this could be content posts on Facebook, Instagram, or a LinkedIn company page (see Digital Willow’s LinkedIn Page here). These digital platforms don’t charge the brand or agency a cost to post content. Organic Reach Rate (ORR) is the percentage of your followers who see your posts without spending money on ads.  

What is Paid Social Media Content?

Paid social media content is when businesses pay a fee to one or more social media networks in exchange for having their content or unique advertisements directed towards a specific audience by appearing somewhere on their feed. Essentially, paid social media content is paid online advertising. By paying a fee to a social media channel a company can guarantee a certain amount of customer engagement in a variety of forms such as; reach, clicks or leads.


Why posting organically is no longer enough

Although marketers have been working hard at building their social media following over the years, in 2022 the rules of the game have changed.

Originally, it made sense: invest in time growing your page following whether that be on LinkedIn or Facebook, for example, because potentially you won’t have to spend as much on paid media as all your followers will see your content as it is posted organically.

However, this is no longer the case…


In fact, in a recent survey Digital Willow ran on LinkedIn, mostOrganic Social Reach marketers now expect that less than 15% of their organic following will actually see their posts. There are several statistics to support this:

‘The average organic reach for a Facebook post is 6.4% of the page’s total likes in 2021’. (Source: https://www.socialpilot.co/blog/social-media-statistics)

For big brands with large followings, it’s often even less. ‘Business accounts with fewer than 10,000 followers have an average engagement rate of 1.11%’. (Source: https://blog.hootsuite.com/organic-vs-paid-social-media/)

So, what’s the solution?

Create a social media marketing strategy that utilises paid advertising to boost organic posts regularly. This is the only way in today’s competitive world of social media you can guarantee a sizable audience reach. Let’s face it, there is no point in creating beautiful content if no one sees it!

There needs to be a balance between energy spent on content and resources spent on paid media.

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Growth of Paid Social Campaigns

With the advent of the global coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 and the subsequent introduction of lockdowns and restrictions in most countries, people everywhere have become more accustomed to engaging with all forms of social media as a means to communicate. Moreover, individuals turned to e-commerce as their sole means of purchasing certain products when stores selling non-essential goods were prohibited.

With this adjustment in consumer behaviourpaid media spending surged by ‘12.2% year over year in 2020’ (source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/07/digital-ad-spend-grew-12percent-in-2020-despite-hit-from-pandemic.html) as businesses sought to capitalise on this increased engagement with the online world.

A study by the University of Birmingham revealed that ‘young people are spending more hours per day on social media’ (source: https://www.softwareadvice.co.uk/blog/2354/social-media-engagement-during-covid-19) as we enter the post-pandemic era. As it becomes evident that more people are spending more time on social media, businesses are escalating their investment in paid ads and creating content to place on social platforms where the potential for paid reach is at its highest.


Need some help in this area?

If you’re interested in enhancing your online reach and appeal, the Digital Willow team are expert in finding you the right balance between paid and organic social media content strategies.

For any content strategy in 2022, businesses need to have a monetary spend set aside for boosting content across marketing channels like social media and content seeding.

If you would like more information on this topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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