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Organic vs Paid Social Media

Social media marketing is an important part of any digital marketing strategy. There are two primary ways to market on social media: organic and paid. In this article, we will discuss the differences between organic and paid social media marketing, and how to choose which method is best for your business.

What is organic social media?

Organic social media refers to the free content that is posted through social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok. This could be in the form of text content, images, or videos which are used as part of an organic social marketing strategy to engage and build relationships with potential customers.

Organic social media strategies include creating posts that are engaging, relevant, and shareable. It is important to ensure that the content is interesting, informative, and relevant to the target audience to capture their attention. Visuals are a great way to make the content more engaging; using graphics, videos, and infographics can grab the attention of viewers more easily than a standard text ad and make them more likely to engage with the content. It is also important to be consistent with content creation and post regularly to help increase the likelihood of visibility and reach.

Another way to build relationships with audiences through organic social is to ensure you are responding to comments and messages, both on your own pages and on other users’ posts. This helps to build trust and loyalty with followers.

Benefits of organic social media

Organic social media is an important tool for any business. It is not a paid strategy and therefore, it is highly cost-effective. Other benefits of using organic social media for your business include:

1. Improved credibility:

Organic social media posts demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and trustworthy.

2. Increased engagement:

Organic social media posts can help to create conversations with your audience and build relationships.

3. Organic reach:

Organic social media posts can reach a larger audience, allowing you to target potential customers.

4. Increased brand recognition and visibility:

Organic social media posts can help to increase brand recognition and visibility.

6. Increased website traffic:

Organic social media posts can help to drive more traffic to your website.

8. Increased customer loyalty:

Organic social media posts can help to build relationships with customers and increase customer loyalty.

What is paid social marketing?

Paid social media marketing is a form of digital advertising that involves paying for sponsored content, such as posts, videos, images, and other forms of media, to be served to users on social media platforms. This form of marketing is used to promote products and services, increase brand awareness and drive traffic to websites to generate leads and sales.

Paid social ads can be placed on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and more. Advertisers have the option to choose which platform they want to use and can also choose to target a specific audience or demographic. This allows for more tailored campaigns and more effective results. Different social media channels are best suited for different businesses, depending on the industry and marketing goals. For example, B2B businesses typically work well on LinkedIn, given the audience targeting capabilities, where as an interior design business would thrive on an inspirational platform such as Pinterest.

The cost of paid social media marketing varies depending on the platform, the type of ad being used, and the targeting options chosen. Generally, ads on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are more expensive than those on other platforms, while ads on Twitter and YouTube are usually cheaper. Ads can also be targeted to a specific location or demographic, which can increase their cost.

Benefits of paid social media

Paid social media marketing is an effective way to reach large audiences quickly and to target specific demographics by tailoring ads to target a particular audience based on interests, location, age, gender, and other factors. This allows businesses to be more targeted in their approach to marketing and to reach the right people in the right place.

Other benefits of paid social media marketing include:

1. Increased Reach:

Paid social media marketing can help businesses reach a larger audience than organic methods since it allows them to target potential customers with specific interests and demographics, rather than being limited to those who already follow your account.

2. Increased Engagement:

Paid social media campaigns can help businesses engage their target audience by providing them with relevant content that is tailored to their specific interests through demographic targeting.

3. Improved Brand Awareness:

Paid social media marketing can help businesses gain visibility and brand recognition in the market, as well as create a positive perception of their brand, by reaching users outside of their current following.

4. Improved ROI:

With the right strategies and tactics, businesses can achieve a higher return on investment (ROI) from their paid social media campaigns by showing their ads to customers who are interested in their products or services.

5. Enhanced Targeting Options:

Paid social media marketing allows businesses to target potential customers more accurately, providing them with a tailored message and content that resonates with their target audience.

6. Increased Customer Insights:

Data collected from running paid social media campaigns can provide businesses with valuable insights into their customers’ interests and preferences, allowing them to better understand their target market and create more effective campaigns in future.

Difference between organic and paid social media

Whilst there are clear benefits to using both organic and paid social media for your business, and both are important elements of any successful overall social media strategy, there are some key differences you should be aware of when deciding which marketing channel is right for your business.

The most obvious difference is that whilst organic social media marketing involves the use of organic (free) content to build relationships and drive engagement with potential and existing customers, paid social media marketing involves the use of paid content and advertising to reach a brand’s target audience, resulting in higher cost.

Another key difference is the audience that you can reach through organic and paid social media marketing. Organic social media allows you to build a presence on social media platforms and develop relationships with potential and existing customers who will typically follow you, or go on to follow you if they found your content engaging, inspiring and interesting. When running organic social campaigns, you are required to listen to customers, understand their needs, and create content that resonates with them to build up this relationship. Paid social media marketing, on the other hand, involves the use of paid advertising to reach a brand’s target audience, and these users will typically sit outside of your current following. Paid social ads allow brands to target a specific audience that they know will be interested in their products at a time when they aren’t specifically searching for them.

Whilst organic social media is a great way to build brand awareness and connections online, paid social media is a great way to drive website traffic and generate leads and / or sales. Ultimately, both approaches should ideally be used together in a comprehensive social media strategy to maximise ROI.

Which is better for your brand – organic or paid social media?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the goals and budget of the brand. Organic social media can be a great way to build relationships with customers and create brand awareness, while paid social media can be an effective way to reach more customers quickly.

Organic social media involves creating content that is shared on social media networks without paying for it, so is a great option if you’re on a tight marketing budget. However, organic content can take longer to reach its desired audience and may require more effort to create and distribute.

Paid social media involves using paid ads on social media networks to reach a larger audience quickly. As paid social ads can be targeted to specific demographics, interests, and locations, they are likely to reach the most relevant people much quicker than relying on organic content to be shared. However, the downside to paid social media is that it can be expensive and requires a significant budget to be effective. It is not likely a business will get paid social ads 100% right the first time, so it’s important to stick with it and test your ads, resulting in more investment being required.

Ultimately, the best approach for a brand depends on the goals and budget. If the goal is to build relationships with customers and create brand awareness over time, organic social media may be the best option. However, if the goal is to reach a larger audience quickly and effectively, paid social media may be the better choice.

We would always advise, if you are spending money on paid advertising, your organic social media pages should be managed with regular content & consistent branding as we’re seeing more and more uses of people searching for brands on socials, than Google.

How to use paid and organic social together

When it comes to using paid and organic social together, there are several key strategies that businesses can use to maximise their return on investment (ROI). By leveraging both paid and organic social, businesses can reach a wider audience, increase engagement, and ultimately generate more leads and sales.

First, businesses should create a plan for how they want to use paid and organic social together. This plan should include the goals of the campaign, the types of content to be used, and the budget. This will help businesses focus their efforts and ensure that their campaigns are effective.

The next step is to create engaging and relevant content for both the paid and organic social channels. This content should be tailored to the specific audience they are looking to reach and should be designed to drive engagement and leads.

It is important to consider the targeting capabilities offered by paid social media and think about the content that would be better sponsored in this way, rather than shared organically. This allows businesses to reach the exact audience they are looking for and ensure that their campaigns are as effective as possible.

At the same time as running sponsored ads, brands can create engagement through organic social media. This can be done by posting content that encourages comments, shares, and likes. This will help businesses build relationships with their followers and ensure that their campaigns are successful.

For both channels, it is essential to measure the success of the campaigns by tracking the ROI of both their paid and organic social efforts. This allows you to see which strategies are the most successful and therefore indicates what you should keep doing, and also point out what hasn’t worked as expected so you can adjust your campaigns accordingly.

By using paid and organic social together, businesses can maximise their ROI and ensure campaigns are as effective as possible. Following the strategies outlined above, businesses can create engaging and relevant organic content, take advantage of targeting capabilities on paid ads and measure the success of their campaigns overall.

For help with running both organic and paid social, get in touch with our experts for further guidance.

Rebekah Waller - Modo25
Rebekah Waller
Rebekah Waller - Modo25
Rebekah Waller
Rebekah is a Senior Performance Marketing Manager at Modo25 with over 7 years experience in PPC, Paid & Organic Social, managing a range of client accounts across B2B and retail industries.

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