Can’t decide whether organic or paid social media is better? No need to compare, all you need to know is that you are going to want to do a bit of both to benefit for a holistic social media strategy.

Paid and organic social media are quite different in nature. Therefore, they tend to fulfil very different goals. One creates conversion while the other creates awareness and conversation. Combining the two together will make for an effective social strategy. 

To learn more, read on.

What is organic social media?

Organic social media can be made up of posts, videos, stories, GIFS, tweets, etc. All of this content is free to post on various social media platforms. It gets shared with fans when they choose to like or follow your brand’s social media business page.

When your brand posts on social media organically, there are a number of people who end up seeing your content, namely:

  • a percentage of your followers which is known as your organic reach 
  • your follower’s friends/followers, if they choose to share your content
  • anyone who follows certain hashtags that you use in your posts

Organic posts are mainly used to establish and maintain a connection with your audience and they should always be included in your social media strategy.

Organic social media is also useful for:

  • creating and cementing your brand voice
  • building authority and trust by sharing educational, inspiring or entertaining content
  • engaging with clients through customer service

There is a downside however to focusing only on producing organic social media content. Unfortunately, organic reach tends to be quite low, which continues to decline year on year

But no need to worry, this is where paid social media swoops in to save the day.

What is paid social media?

Paid social media involves paying for your content to be promoted on social media channels. These are great because they attract new, larger audiences who are most likely interested in what your brand has to offer, thanks to the sophisticated targeting that the ads use.

You can promote your content on social media in one of two ways; by either boosting existing content that has already been posted on your page or by creating a completely new piece of content that has been designed for the purposes of promotion.

Many brands find paid social media to be a worthy investment, especially since more and more people are preferring to buy online and through social media specifically.

Paid social media is useful for promoting brand awareness, letting people know about a service that you provide, generating leads and conversion.

How should organic and paid social media be used together?

In a nutshell, organic social should be used to serve and delight existing clients while paid social should be used to attract new clients. 

Promotional posts can be organic

You can greatly benefit from a well crafted organic promotional post because people will share and like it if it is that good. Never doubt the power of a creative and original campaign because it will build buzz and momentum on its own. 

Not every promotional post needs to be a paid one unless it fulfils specific business goals. Ads shouldn’t be your default go-to in order to spread the word far and wide. That said, if you feel as if your organic content isn’t getting enough reach, then it might be wise to invest in some strategic ads here and there.

Promote organic content that performs 

Identify organic content that has clearly resonated with your audience and promote it so that more people get the chance to see your content. 

This approach is low-risk because you don’t need to take a chance on a new piece of content, you already know that people like the piece that you are promoting. So when you notice that you have a well-liked organic post on your hands, don’t be afraid to support it with some ad spend.

Do some A/B testing to optimise your posts

It’s wise to test the waters before diving right in. Before you allocate your entire monthly social media budget to a single ad, do some testing first on a smaller audience to see if it’s worth risking. 

Look at testing your different calls to action, copywriting, images and ad placement as well as audience targeting before committing to a larger spend.

To test organic posts, set up manual split tests to track metrics and results by making use of UTM parameters in the links that you create.