In a previous blog post, we established that Facebook and Twitter’s business models are moving more toward advertising platforms, pushing many marketers to use paid media to gain exposure to consumers. But now many are taking one step further and asking, “Is paid media at the core of social media?”
While Paid media can absolutely help, brands should not rely on it alone to move the needle on social media. Bottom line, paying money for more people to see irrelevant content will provide little to no value to the brand. The biggest benefit of Paid media will come only if it used in conjunction with a strong Owned strategy. That means brands must start with creating engaging content their target audience will want to share and interact with. When the content is performing well on its own, paid should be used to optimize that engagement and funnel it to a larger, but more targeted audience. By focusing paid dollars on the content that is already being shared, you will maximize returns because as paid interactions increase, so do organic (see chart below).
Further, in today’s social world, it is critical Paid and Owned media work together for a brand to have an effective social presence. All too often we see brands operating Paid and Owned media from different agencies, departments and budgets. If one agency is handling the budget and targeting and another is in charge of content creation, it’s very difficult to ensure a consistent strategy. That silo approach will ensure a disconnect and ultimately impact results. With a holistic approach to the two, and with audience insights as the foundation, the full benefit from both Paid and Owned will be realized.