Paid Social Media + Organic Content

It’s an exciting time in the paid media world, especially when buying media for the luxury hospitality category. New platforms like TikTok have emerged. Original titans like Google have evolved. And we even have a new dimension with Facebook and the metaverse! However, there is one fundamental opportunity for hotel social media. This article will explore the opportunity to leverage two powerful forces to increase results. 

Two Sides of the Media Coin: Paid Media and Organic Content

Paid media has always involved buying ad placements in a variety of media channels. It has primarily been assigned the responsibility of driving traffic and generating leads.

Organic content is a critical part of the marketing effort with the rise in blogs, user-generated content, and other un-sponsored communications. It has traditionally been charged with inspiring and educating–with hotel brands hoping that would lead to bookings.

Remember the phrase, ‘Content is King’? Organic used to drive real engagement. In hospitality, gorgeous images from exotic locales received massive hits and shares. But today, organic reach is down to 3% in FB and 9% in IG. The King is still powerful, but more than ever it’s the Queen of Paid Social Media that is driving real revenue.

Long Live the Queen

There used to be a church and state type separation between paid and organic. That line has been blurred in the last couple of years. Nowadays, consumers can’t always tell the difference between paid and organic content in their streams. And that’s by design, thanks to social platforms.

All of the social platforms started out as organic content distributors. They gathered details about audiences, behavior and content consumption. As they evolved, they developed paid media offerings that leveraged the data collected from organic engagement.

Today, the tech ensures that your paid content will be present in the organic feed. In fact, paid content can have a bigger marketing impact if perceived as organic. And there is the opportunity for paid social media. Where organic content had the glamor job of inspiring the dreamers, informing the planners, and creating a bond with new and existing audiences, that role can now be shared with the Queen. Brands competing for travel dollars must buy the chance to engage in meaningful ways once reserved for organic.

In hospitality, an organic social presence is still a must. Social is the most popular platform for travel inspiration, comparison, consultations, and final decisions. It continues to generate data on what consumers click on–and who those consumers are. Paid social provides the opportunity to talk with them at the precise moment when a property or destination is in their initial thoughts or final shortlist. Because of their behavior and previous interest in organic content, a paid program knows when a hotel or resort has something to offer to them. And puts that information in their online journey. That can make a big difference in bookings. Each specific stage of the consumer journey is now a chance to buy an impression with a likely prospect.

There are multiple touchpoints in the digital landscape and that creates opportunities to strategically leverage organic content and paid social media. Yes, the paid media activities are designed to reach consumers in the lower part of the funnel who are actively planning to travel soon. But those consumers will have more probability of booking if they have received inspiring information about the brand and property in a previous campaign where awareness was the objective. Buying that space builds the critical mass of impressions and importantly, brand presence to drive consistent results. With both the King and the Queen in your hand, you’re playing to win.

Additional Resources

About the Author

David Pico
Director of Paid Media
BCV, A RateGain Company

David Pico has been a paid media expert for 15 years, working at leading media agencies across multiple markets in the US, Europe, and Latam, and including a portfolio of Advertisers and Brands that included Singapore Airlines and Marriott International.

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