Crafting an Organic-Paid Social Media Marketing Strategy

Reading Time: 3 minutes Marketers need to clearly understand the distinct objectives that Organic and Paid can achieve. That requires understanding the elements that define Organic and Paid as distinct forms of Social marketing.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Recently I was asked to speak before a very engaged audience at the Sydney Online Marketing group. The presentation was titled ‘The Transition from Organic to Paid Social Media Marketing’. I’ve embedded the presentation at the bottom of this post. Proceeds from the evening went to, to support earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.


My three key messages were:

  1. The social networks unrelenting drive to generate ad revenue is redefining the Social Media marketing landscape.
  2. Marketers need to understand and embrace the opportunities provided by Organic and Paid Social.
  3. Media attribution can reveal the hidden value (and ROI) generated by paid Social Media.

Here’s a brief overview of the thinking behind the presentation:


Marketers need to clearly understand the distinct objectives that Organic and Paid can achieve. That requires understanding the elements that define Organic and Paid as distinct forms of Social marketing.

Elements of an Organic orientated strategy

  • Objective – build a fanbase / customer base.
  • Strategy – ‘Social by design’. That means the idea is big enough to scale. The creative needs to tap into social proof points that encourages engagement and positive sentiment.
  • Content – It has two objectives. To engage existing fans and acquire new fans. The content strategy is challenged with finding the right mix between quality and quantity. Content calendars are required for planning and managing the high volume of content required.
  • Media – The number of users engaged, total reach and unique reach generated.
  • Measurement – Last click attribution, online listening and social metrics.

Elements of a Paid orientated strategy

  • Objective – reach target audience with posts.
  • Strategy – ‘Target by design’. Target audience insights will provide context for creative and media. Leveraging data driven audience (custom audiences) and retargeting help to increase relevance and increases the opportunity for the target audience to resonate with the post.
  • Content – Depends on the post type such as Direct Response versus Brand Response. The amount of content required is determined by the number of paid posts to be produced.
  • Media – Frequency and Reach.
  • Measurement – Custom attribution, brand consideration, message recall and consumer intent.

Be disciplined – select one objective

Marketers must be disciplined to establish a single objective. By using the consumer path to conversion, marketers can select a defined objective (see image below). It should become easier to develop the Social strategy when there is only one objective and a greater understanding of the tools to implement (Organic and Paid Social). Ideally, this approach should help marketers select the right tool for the right job, and thereby increase the likelihood of success.

Selecting one objective is important for the long-term viability of Social marketing within a business. Assuming the Social strategy was a success, it can then be turned into an internal case study that can create/build momentum internally. It can also educate internal stakeholders as to how Social Media can support business objectives.

Through building momentum and educating internal stakeholders, can Social Media marketing programs attract the required budget to continue growing. Not an easy task when marketers are expected to do more with less.

Combining Organic and Paid to support the consumer through their path to purchase

With the growth of Paid, we may see a knock on effect that could positively impact the growth of Organic social initiatives. Businesses that think they have been burned or they are losing control may be more inclined to invest in owned social assets (ex: blogs and forums).


Organic and Paid Social Media Consumer Path to Purchase


Social Marketing could get interesting as marketers take a combined approach to Organic and Paid.

By focusing on the various phases of the consumer’s purchase experience, Organic and Paid tactics can be brought together to build out a more comprehensive Social driven customer experience.

The rest of the presentation can be viewed below.


If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to send me an email:

Contact Mike

1 thought on “Crafting an Organic-Paid Social Media Marketing Strategy

  1. Hey Mike! Long time… hope life is treating you well. Great article, thanks for sharing it. This ongoing story is an interesting one as businesses grapple with transition of embracing both organic AND paid to achieve the reach and conversion that they’re after. Sounds like it was a great night – and nice work with the fund raising too! Ingrid 🙂

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