Combining the Power of Paid and Organic Social Media Part 1

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2024

Differences between Organic and Paid Social 

You might be tempted to think of social media for your business the same way you think of your personal accounts. You upload a video or post a piece of content organically and wait to see how your audience engages with it. However, the days of businesses succeeding simply through organic social media are long behind us.

Over the years, social media marketing has evolved significantly. Not long ago, strategies used to focus primarily on building engagement and establishing a brand presence. Today, social media can be used to acquire, remarket, retain, and service customers. However to fully capitalize the power of social, businesses need to strategically combine paid and organic marketing.

Paid and organic social are quite different in nature and should be used for different purposes and goals. Let’s dig into the differences between the two before diving into how we can leverage them together.

Differences between organic and paid social 

Organic Social Media

Organic social media refers to all the content that users, including businesses and brands, post on their profiles for free – updates, images, reels, stories, etc. 

Your goal with organic should be to establish a community and engage your audience in conversations to ensure customer loyalty. Companies can build a loyal following and customer base by creating relevant and valuable content as well as addressing your followers’ concerns and suggestions. In this sense, organic media could function as a powerful extension of your brand’s customer service.  This is a two-way street where businesses gain better insights about their audience, and followers in turn feel heard and understood.

It’s important to keep in mind though, that organic social media has its limitations, especially in terms of reach, since the majority of social media platforms are pay-to-play. Social Status reports that Facebook’s organic reach rate for April 2022 was 2.64%, meaning that your content is only seen by a small fraction of users, mostly your followers – the ones that interacted with your business recently. A portion of your followers’ connections will also see your content if they share it. Lastly, if you use hashtags, then people following such hashtags may see your content as well (algorithm based).

Paid Social Media

In contrast, paid social is anything that advertisers pay for. Advertising dollars are spent on social platforms (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to share content with a specific target audience, either by boosting organic content or by creating custom ads. With organic reach declining and brands looking to target audiences they wouldn’t otherwise reach, paid social has become increasingly important.

You should consider investing in paid social if you want to reach a larger and more targeted audience quickly. Social media has become a place for users to discover new brands and products, according to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Sprout Social. That survey results reveal that 55% of consumers learn about new brands through online social networks.

With more time spent on various platforms, consumers are also becoming more comfortable shopping online through social media stores and ecommerce sites. This is especially true when social ads are designed carefully, since they blend seamlessly with the rest of the social experience. Paid social can ensure your brand remains top-of-mind for your audience regardless of whether you are promoting a new product/offer, attracting new prospects or retargeting existing ones.

The truth is that to build high-quality social media profiles requires leveraging all the main tools a platform offers. As a rule of thumb, organic content should be used to establish and grow your brand’s voice and connect with existing customers, whereas paid content should target and engage your ideal customers.

Our next blog post will discuss how to integrate paid and organic social media strategies to maximize your marketing efficiency.

Are you looking for immediate help with your social media advertising?  Our team at Search Nurture is ready to assist you.

Schedule a free consultation.


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