Organic vs Paid Social: What’s the Difference?

Organic vs Paid Social: What’s the Difference?

Organic vs Paid Social: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Kathi Fuhrman

The world of social media is changing by the day. There are constantly new features or updates on the various platforms. Social media is no longer only about engagement and creating an online presence. It’s everything from providing customer service to retargeting and retention. There are two ways to post on social media as a business: organically and paid. The concept of each is fairly easy to grasp and which strategy you use will depend on your business goals.


Are you unsure of which type of social media to consider on your business profiles? Let us break down the basics for you.


What is Organic Social?


Organic social refers to the free content that companies put out on their profiles to share on feeds such as posts, pictures, videos, and stories. Sometimes this free content includes giveaways, infographics, and blogs. The type of people who will see this kind of content include your followers, some of your followers’ followers (if they choose to share your content via direct message or on a story), and followers of any hashtags you use.


While organic social sounds simple, it is far from free. Organic content costs marketers time and resources. It is also the best way to communicate with your audience and provide insight into potential customers.


When to Use Organic Social


The best time to use organic social is when you are trying to establish your voice online. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money to establish yourself. Luckily, authenticity is free of charge! Take advantage of posting informative, entertaining, and engaging content on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The platform you choose to use will depend on your audience’s demographics and where they are most likely to be reached. These platforms have allowed businesses to create a channel to answer questions, fix problems, and lend a hand when needed.


Pros and Cons of Organic Social


The best pro of organic social is pretty clear, it’s free. Many businesses run their social media strategy directly off of organic social. Not only is it cost-effective, but it also has long-term results. Messenger channels through platforms allow for companies to create a trusted customer service strategy to build a reputation.


The biggest con of organic social is that it takes time, a lot of time, to grow your audience. Defining your strategy, identifying which platforms are best for your target audience, and improving your reach are all challenges you may have as you set your goals. The good news is, those challenges are a great learning experience.


Let’s move on to paid social.


What is Paid Social?


Paid social is defined simply as content that a business pays for. You can think of paid social as advertising. It’s when businesses choose to spend money on ads or boosted posts to potentially interested audiences. With paid social, you can either create ad campaigns or boost organic content.


Paid social is used to build brand awareness and attract new customers, promote events, generate leads, and drive conversions. Each social media platform has a unique benefit for paid advertising. Facebook and Instagram both allow you to choose the demographics of profiles you want to specifically target. While it’s not the cheapest option, sometimes spending a few extra ad dollars can pay off.


When to Use Paid Social


If you are looking to increase brand awareness, direct more traffic to your website, event, or promotion, gain new followers of a similar audience, and convert leads, paid social is an easy way to do so. Paid social gives a business leverage over who will view its content and attract the most interested customers who are likely to engage and convert.


Pros and Cons of Paid Social


A notable pro of paid social is that it works. More people will see your content, making your goals easier to reach. However, it is not always so time-friendly. Figuring out ways to adjust the demographics to reach a new audience can be tricky and will take some trial-and-error. Paid social media can also take up much of your time because you need to consistently measure, monitor, and adjust your strategy to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ad dollars. Your time might be better spent interacting with potential customers.


Which One Should You Use?


For best practices and results, it is recommended not to use one or the other, but to incorporate both into your social media strategy. Ways to do this include boosting your best-performing organic content, A/B testing, and remarketing ads to your organic audience. Both paid and organic social come with advantages and challenges, but working through them will strengthen your strategy in the end.


At Fuhrman Creative we work with small businesses to help raise your voice online in a world dominated by large corporations. Our team of professionals works with the community every day to ensure the word is out about your businesses, events, and promotions. If you would like to get started with your social media strategy, contact us.

About The Author

Kathi Fuhrman

Kathi Fuhrman, owner of Fuhrman Creative has many years of online marketing experience.

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