Should You Invest In Facebook Ads or Increase Organic Reach?

Megan Watts - Digital Marketing Executive

Megan Watts

2nd July 2021

Having a strong organic presence on Facebook is a great way to engage with your followers by sharing informative, entertaining, and even inspiring content. However, due to ranking algorithms, often only a small percentage of these followers may actually see your organic posts. In this article, we weigh up your options when it comes to having an organic Facebook presence versus doing paid advertising. 

What Is Paid Social Media?

Paid social media means that you are paying to advertise on your chosen social platform. This advertising enables you to share content with specific audiences that meet your targeting needs and are likely to be interested in your product or service. 

Usually, you either choose to create new ads, based on your intended purpose and goals, or you can “boost” your existing organic content. Common reasons brands often opt to utilise paid social are to:

  • Raise brand awareness, reach more people and attract new followers
  • Promote their newest deal, content, event, or other news
  • Generate leads and drive conversions, such as eCommerce sales
  • Target ideal customers more precisely based on brand personas
  • Reach business goals faster

Types Of Facebook Ads

Here are the different types of ads that you may want to run on Facebook, depending on your business goals: 

  • Carousel Ads - The carousel format allows you to showcase up to ten images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link. You could use this format to highlight different products or perhaps showcase specific details about one product, service or promotion.
  • Image Ads - This ad type is a little more limited, as it is made up of text and one image. It is worth knowing that this ad type is more appropriate for driving awareness, rather than generating enquiries.
  • Video Ads - You need to produce videos for these ads, as the name suggests. This can take more time, but video ads often prove to be very effective and they easily appear in the page feed. 
  • Promoted Posts - As part of display ads, it is also possible to promote existing posts to increase engagement.
  • Likes Campaign - If you would like to improve the online presence of your Facebook page, you could run a likes campaign to increase the number of likes for your Facebook Page.
  • Facebook Collection Ads - These ads are designed with retailers in mind. They are in a mobile-only format, designed to maximise the mobile user experience. When you see a collection ad, you are taken through a shopfront and can view and purchase individual products.
  • Messenger Ads - Over 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month, and many of these people aren’t even Facebook users, they just have the messenger app. Facebook offers three types of ads for Messenger: Messenger ads, click-to-messenger ads and sponsored messages.  
  • Stories Ads - In this full-screen format, photos display for six seconds, and videos can last up to 15 seconds. Stories only last for 24 hours, so this is a great format for in-the-moment marketing like limited-time offers.  

Downsides of Paid Advertising

  • You need to dedicate time to analytics
  • You can waste your budget if you are not careful with who you target and how much and where you spend

Find out more: Why Invest In Social Commerce?

What Is Organic Social Media?

Organic social media is content posted by businesses and brands on their feeds, for free. This could include:

  • Written posts
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • Stories

When posting organically, the reach of individuals that you can expect to see it are:

  • A percentage of your current followers 
  • Your followers’ followers (if people share your post)
  • People following any hashtags you use

It sounds pretty simple, but the reason that organic social media plays a big part in most digital marketing strategies today is because it’s the best way to nurture a connection with your customers. For example, brands use organic social to:

  • Build relationships by sharing informative, entertaining, and/or inspiring content
  • Engage customers at every stage of their buying journey
  • Support customers with customer service
  • Establish and grow your brand’s personality, voice and presence where people are already spending their time
  • Keep a connection with existing customers
  • Convert new customers 

Downsides of Organic Advertising

  • Users must follow your page and organic Facebook reach isn’t what it used to be
  • Lack of targeting


Organic And Paid Social Media Strategies On Facebook

So now that we know what both organic and paid Facebook marketing can offer in terms of reach, how do we know which one is right for your business? Realistically, the best social media strategies will be a mix of organic content to delight your existing customers, alongside some paid ads to attract new customers. By utilising both types of marketing, you will reach a much broader audience that sits within your brand’s target personas. 

Here are five ideas to give you a great starting point for your social strategy:

1. Paid social ads aren’t always the answer

Not all promotional posts need to be paid ads. You only want to pay for ads when they are actually going to help you to reach your goals.

For example, if you are on online retailer announcing a product launch, you will want to inform your existing followers. In this case, a unique, compelling and creative organic campaign would go down a treat. If your current followers (your brand advocates) like the look of it, a buzz will be created and they may share the post or add a comment tagging friends.

Then, if you find that your organic reach is lacking or your impressions seem low, it may be a good idea to boost this specific post using paid advertising.

2. Boost top-performing organic content

Along the same lines as the first point, a good way to start out with paid advertising on social media is to fish out your best performing organic posts that have clearly been effective for your current audience and pay to promote them to new potential customers.

This is a great beginner’s tactic, as it is low-risk, and you don’t need to design an ad campaign to give it a go. 

3. Hard work nurturing your organic audience pays off

If you initially focus on growing your organic presence and reach, as your account grows you will build up more and more data over time about your ideal customer and audience. These demographics can then be used to build paid ads, as you can target your ads to people who are similar to your organic audience. For example, you could create a lookalike audience based on how you would describe your best customers.

4. Have you tried retargeting?

Retargeting ads tend to be effective at a reasonable cost, because you are reaching out to people who already know about your brand. These may be people who have visited your social page or your website and perhaps abandoned their shopping cart. 

Having a well-composed ad to convince them to come back to you and convert can be a worthwhile opportunity.

5. Be results-led

Whether you have paid or organic posts on Facebook, you should always look at what is or isn’t working, so that you can spend your valuable time and money on the right efforts.


Do You Need Help With Growing Your Business On Facebook?

With organic posts, you probably won’t be able to get the ideal amount of reach to your target audience, but an organic presence is still essential as part of a strong social media strategy to strengthen your connection with existing customers.

On the other hand, paid advertising on Facebook will provide you with a much greater reach, but won’t give you that robust Facebook presence that makes you trustworthy to users.

Ultimately, the best social media marketing strategies will combine both organic and paid advertising and will make Facebook a great asset to your business – if that’s where your audience is. 

If you want to know how your business can capitalise on the many opportunities presented by social media marketing, don’t hesitate to get in touch with SilverDisc!

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