What Are Paid and Organic Social Media Strategies?
A solid social media strategy is a key part of any successful content marketing plan. When lawyers invest in social media, they see more clients and referrals as a result. Most law firms have a presence on multiple social media channels, but being active online doesn’t directly translate into success. You need to properly create a social media marketing strategy to reach your target audience, or else your efforts will be much less effective and not deliver the outcomes you want.
On a personal social media account, you’re able to share whatever you want without much concern about whether it will resonate with people. Many attorneys took the same approach in the early years of social media because it wasn’t clear what actually worked. Today, we have ample evidence to help form and execute a strong social media strategy and maximize your organic and paid reach.
First, it’s essential to decide which networks you want to be active on. Assume a “quality over quantity” approach. It’s smarter to focus on fewer social media channels and develop a comprehensive plan than creating content across too many platforms and fizzling out.
According to the American Bar Association’s legal marketing research, lawyers most commonly use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Interestingly, Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms globally, but it’s less popular among lawyers for professional use. As a photo and video-only channel, Instagram requires more planning and visual content creation, but it is possible for law firms to properly leverage the platform.
After determining which social media platforms you will use, it’s time to figure out who your target audience is. You want to be as specific as possible when strategizing messages and creating content. It’s tempting to focus on reaching everyone who lives in your city or state, but it’s not as effective as narrowing down your focus to those most likely to become clients or provide referrals.
Developing and maintaining an effective social media strategy takes time, and results are rarely immediate. Statistically, people have to see content multiple times before it sinks in, let alone influences and spurs them into action. But it eventually pays off because followers are more likely to absorb content that is created with their needs in mind and in a way they understand and can relate to. If you’ve educated them and provided valuable information on platforms they frequent and trust, the time you spend on social media efforts will be worth it.
To get started, this part of your content marketing plan should break down organic and paid social media strategies. Both are effective and, when done properly, complement and enhance the other. They should work towards reaching your goals and desired outcomes.
How to Create an Organic Social Media Strategy
Organic social content is made up of non-paid posts. Organic content could be a link to a blog or news article, insight into a trending topic, testimonials from clients, notable news about the law firm, or helpful tips from your area of expertise. When organic content is created and used correctly, it gains the trust of your audience, builds credibility and positions your law firm as an authority in the industry.
Being creative with organic social media posts also yields results. The online landscape is constantly changing, and staying on top of the latest trends is vital. For example, video and photo content is likely to see better organic social reach on most platforms because it’s more eye-catching than plain text and takes up more of a consumer’s screen. Testing different forms of organic content will help you learn what lands best with your audience.
Organic content may seem more straightforward than paid strategy at first glance. But in some ways, creating organic posts that reach and resonate with your audience is more difficult. Hundreds of millions of posts are shared daily on Facebook and other social media platforms, and standing out from the crowd can be challenging.
Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over which followers see your post in their feed. To maximize results, your organic social content strategy should focus on valuable content that works toward achieving your goals and is tailored for who you want to see it. It works best when paired with an editorial calendar and social scheduling tools.
Tips for Organic Social Media Content
- Create an editorial calendar. At the start of each month, create a calendar filled with planned posts. Keep track of which topics you would like to cover and when each post will be published. You should also track organic content types and whether you’re sharing plain text, links, photos, or videos.
- Pay attention to analytics. Track which posts are getting the most reach, interactions and shares. Also, note how posts perform during different times of the day and week, which will help inform your organic social media strategy in the future. Analytics will also provide insight into how people are discovering your content in the first place. The social media analytics you should be tracking will be more thoroughly explained in our upcoming guide, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Content Marketing.
- Don’t publish around the clock. Standing out from the competition is difficult, but that doesn’t mean you should overwhelm your followers with posts in hopes of making it to the top of their feeds. Recommendations for the frequency of posts greatly range depending on the platform.
Research has shown that two to five Facebook posts per week are effective. For LinkedIn, social media experts recommend sharing content no more than once per business day. Constantly churning out content will likely lead to burnout, and you run the risk of your audience unfollowing you or hiding your posts.
- Be original. Pay attention to what your competitors and fellow industry leaders are doing, but don’t copy them. Using someone else’s organic content strategy defeats the purpose. Your audience is unique, and strategizing around their needs will get you further than replicating a competitor’s approach.
- Find your voice. Striking a balance between being informative and conversational is a must. You have to inform your audience without being confusing. If your posts are full of legal jargon and challenging for the average person to understand, people will keep scrolling. On average, people read a post for eight seconds before losing interest, and short-form content often performs better on social media for this reason.
Paid Social Media Strategy
In contrast to organic social content, the paid strategy requires an upfront financial investment. Organic reach can be inconsistent because social platforms regularly change their algorithms. For example, Facebook business pages reach 5% of their audiences on average, which means that only one in 20 followers regularly see posts. This is where paid posts and ads can complement and enhance your overall social media strategy.
Paid campaigns let you control how many people a post could reach based on what you spend, the audience’s age, interests and gender, and the city or area they reside in. It allows you to be specific and rely less on organic results.
Before launching a paid campaign, you should know how it fits into your content marketing strategy. You should set objectives about what you’re hoping to achieve and who you want to reach to best leverage paid social media content. It also goes hand-in-hand with organic efforts, partly because you can use organic content in paid promotions, such as boosted posts on Facebook.
Tips for Paid Social Media Strategies
- Make a plan. Setting a budget and concrete goals is the first step to paid strategy. Spending thousands of dollars with no payoff is a waste, and deciding what you hope to accomplish will help your chances of success. Do you want people to click the link to a blog post or article? Are you interested in increasing brand awareness? Are you hoping for social media users to visit your website or contact your firm? These objectives determine what content you will promote and where and how to advertise it.
- Narrow your audience. Social media platforms ask you who you want to reach, but the default options are too broad. You can run an ad campaign and target everyone in the U.S., but you’re less likely to see a return this way. Instead, edit your target audience based on location, gender, age, occupation, and interests. Your ideal audience will vary depending on what content you’re promoting and why.
- Implement A/B Testing. A/B testing, or split testing, is a marketing technique that compares two pieces of content to see which performs better. LinkedIn and Facebook both offer a split-testing option when setting up a paid campaign. A/B testing is efficient when creating identical ads with slight changes to layout, images, and headlines to see which performs best online. Testing similar ads and reviewing the winner helps you create better content in the future.
All social media has an organic element, which is why it’s fruitless to pit paid and free posts against each other. In almost all cases, both are crucial to a successful social media presence that contributes to the success of your content marketing plan. A paid strategy helps boost reach and traffic, and an organic strategy bolsters client trust and allows prospective clients to view you as credible and experienced. Learning and prioritizing both approaches will get you one step closer to a strong and beneficial social media presence.