Maximising your organic reach is challenging on social media, and it’s seen a steady decline in recent years. While organic growth is a slow process, it does have its advantages – and so does paid advertising. In fact, a combination of the two is the best way to extend your reach, boost engagement and drive revenues.

Advertising on social media doesn’t work in the same way that traditional advertising does. When placing a paid ad on social media, you have a greater degree of control over who will see it. You will be prompted to set parameters such as gender, age, locations and interests, which narrows down your audience and allows you to target a very specific demographic.

While this targeted approach to advertising may sound like a miracle, it does require a significant amount of research and a true understanding of your audience. Figuring out what your audience looks like – or what your ideal audience looks like – is the best place to start.

The main benefit of paid ads is visibility for your brand – or more specifically, instant visibility. Algorithms are constantly changing, which means that organic growth is becoming increasingly difficult as there’s no guarantee that your posts will be seen – unless you’ve paid to secure your space. This is a great way to boost brand awareness, so opt for posts that clearly communicate what your brand does and use a consistent house style that users will recognise.

Many companies aren’t willing to invest in advertising, but paid social ads cost just a fraction of what traditional advertising would. Social media campaigns have a high return on investment (ROI) for this very reason. In today’s hyper-connected world, paid advertising is now more effective than it’s traditional counterpart too, with the average digital consumer spending 2.5 hours on social networking platforms every single day.

Once you’ve placed your first few paid ads, you’ll be able to assess what’s working well and what could be improved. Each social media platform has its own native analytics dashboard, showing you how your key performance indicators (KPIs) compare. Generally, the KPIs you should focus on are likes, comments and click-throughs. Next time you place a paid ad, refer back to this data to identify your strengths and decide how best to move forward.

With this insight into your audience and what’s working well for your brand, you’ll be able to improve your organic marketing too. That means you should see increased engagement in your regular content – and if you’re not, you’ll have a better idea of how to improve it. The two approaches work hand-in-hand, and no social media strategy is complete without either.