Have you heard the term pay-to-play in social media and wondering what it means?

It refers to the fact that if you want to increase your reach and have followers and potential customers to see your posts and products then you are going to have to pay for it.

For several years now advertisers and business owners have not been able to rely on organic reach on social media platforms to get their message out. In the early years of social media, if you posted great content, your followers would see and share it and it was pretty straightforward, simple, and FREE.

Many changes to algorithms followed and it is no longer guaranteed that even your own loyal followers will see your posts on popular social media platforms. These platforms exist and survive through advertising and therefore those who want their content seen need to pay to play.

Organic reach isn’t totally dead and it’s still an effective, powerful way to engage your target audience. If you want to gain solid leads and sales through social media however, it’s important to use a hybrid approach to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Pay to Play in Social Media

The term “pay to play” refers to paid advertising on social media—an option launched by Facebook when it introduced an algorithm that weaves paid advertising into users’ feeds.

Facebook introduced paid advertising in 2012, the same year it went public and 6 years after its initial inception. It wasn’t long before other platforms followed and now you would have a difficult time finding any public social media platform that doesn’t use paid advertising in order to be profitable.

With paid advertising and promoted posts the sole source of revenue for most platforms, it is not surprising that organic reach is going to take a back seat to advertisers who are willing to pay to have their content and products seen.

It’s important to remember that both types of reach are still valuable marketing tools.

Both Can Generate Leads

Organic reach and paid advertising have their strengths and weaknesses. Used in the right situation, they both can generate leads.

Paid advertising is not only cost-effective but also powerful and versatile. It enables you to reach consumers interested in what you offer but don’t know you provide it.

It also covers just about any marketing objectives you can think of—drive website traffic, boost brand awareness, increase lead generation, and so on.

Organic Reach Also Has Strengths

Organic reach also has its strengths. Through media tools like blog posts, podcasts, and online interactions, you can communicate brand value, engage followers, and create relationships with new customers.

In short, organic reach helps you build trust with your customers. And that leads to the most powerful marketing tool of all—word of mouth advertising.

The key with organic is to produce high-quality content that’s not only relevant to your audience but also achieves long-term goals.

That beats chasing quick wins in the short term with paid advertising.

Using a Hybrid Approach Makes Sense

Using organic reach and paid advertising together makes sense. Combined, they’re a potent marketing force that can take you to the next level. Below are some advantages to using a hybrid approach:

  • Increase visibility/awareness faster
  • Boosts keyword rankings quicker
  • Produces more visibility for website content
  • Attract more followers with your targeted demographic
  • Enables you to target specific audiences and geographic areas
  • Increases qualified leads faster

Paid Advertising is Here to Stay

For social media platforms, paid advertising provides a way to boost customer experience and generate revenue.

For social media marketers, this strategy is a way for them to increase leads and visibility faster, achieve a variety of marketing objectives, and reach consumers interested in what you have to offer but don’t know you offer it.

When combined, organic reach and paid advertising provide a potent tool to take your marketing to the next level.

Thanks for reading,