Organic vs paid social media: Why you need both for an effective social media strategy

Organic and paid social media are two separate strategies but they can work well together to help you achieve your business goals. Read our blog to find out more about building an effective social media strategy.

Social media is an essential digital marketing tool if you want to reach your target audience online effectively. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or who your audience is, the likelihood is they’re using social media in some way. In fact, 64% of people say they use social media to find shopping inspiration so the majority of your target audience could be receptive to your social media campaigns. 

However, with millions of active users on platforms suc as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, it can be difficult to know how to reach the right people without a strategic approach to social media marketing. The combination of both organic and paid social media as part of your marketing efforts is a powerful approach that can help your brand to increase its reach, engagement and conversion rates. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between organic and paid social media and explore the benefits of combining the two strategies. We’ll also show you how to ensure you implement an effective social media strategy. Whether you’re a small business or you’re a larger business, this guide will help you take your social media presence to the next level. 

What is the difference between paid and organic social advertising? 

Organic social media is any content you share on your social media channels without paying for it (organically). This could be posts, stories or any other interactions you have with your followers. Through organic social media, the aim is to build a community and establish a connection with your potential customers by sharing valuable and relevant content with them. This can help you to build brand awareness, customer loyalty and help you to engage with your audience. 

However, an organic social media strategy can be limiting due to the changing algorithms of social media platforms. Its can be much harder for you to reach your audience as a business organically. 

On the other hand, paid social campaigns involve paying to promote your content on social media platforms. This could be sponsored posts, targeted ads or paid partnerships with influencers. 

Paid social media advertising helps you to reach a bigger and more targeted audience and can deliver faster results than organic social media. It allows you to set a budget, choose a specific target audience and track the success of your campaigns. Tracking is key because it can provide valuable insights on data on the effectiveness of your ads. 

The benefits of combining organic and paid social 

Social media has become a crucial part of any marketing strategy, and combining organic and paid social media can be a highly effective approach to reach a wider audience. Understanding the differences and benefits of paid and organic social media is key to creating a successful marketing strategy that reaches your desired audience. 

Reach a larger audience 

By leveraging both types of social media, you can engage with a much larger audience and target specific demographics more effectively. Combining organic with paid social media allows you to augment your reach and get your message out to a wider audience. 

The reach of organic posts on social media is in decline so investing in paid activity is becoming increasingly important to make sure you reach a broader audience. Organic activity can support your paid social media ads but relying on organic activity alone could limit your impact and the results you achieve on your chosen channels. However, organic social media can help you to build a loyal following for your business and help you to provide additional customer service channels for your existing customers. 

Target your campaigns 

Paid social media allows you to target your audience based on interests, demographics, behaviouts and more so that you can reach people who are most likely to be responsive to your messages. This type of micro-targeting ensures you get the best return on investment for your budget, while also allowing you to analyse social media analytics to see what works best for your target audience. 

Enhance your brand’s online presence 

Combining organic and paid social media provides you with an effective strategy that can enhance your brand’s presence and ensure you reach your target audience in the right places. By leveraging both ortganic and paid social media, you can create a comprehensive presence on social platforms that will result in increased visibility, greater customer engagement, and improved ROI. If you create content for your brand, sharing it on social media is a great way to increase its reach and send social signals to Google which can help your organic rankings. 

Target different goals 

Paid social and organic social play different roles in your marketing strategy but they’re both important because they help you to achieve different things. 

Organic social helps you to build a presence on the social media channels your customers are using and interact with both potential and existing customers. This is key for increasing engagement, customer satisfaction and strengthen established relationships. 

However, paid social media can help you to drive brand awareness and reach people who may not find you otherwise but who are likely to engage with you and buy from you at some point in the future. 

Both strategies help you to reach your customers across their journey and form part of a comprehensive and effective strategy. 

One can inform the other 

Your organic strategy and how your customers engage with your posts and content can help to inform your paid social strategy too. Have a look at the content that’s most popular and the demographics of the people who are following or engaging with you on your chosen channels. These insights are great for understanding which content would work well if you promoted it, who you need to target and the ad formats that are likely to work best for your campaigns. 

In addition, if you’re running paid ads, having an organic presence will help to build trust with your audience when they’re researching you and finding out more about your business. 

Building an effective social media strategy: 5 steps

If you’re going to utilise social media for your business, it’s crucial to recognise that it’s a constantly evolving landscape and the strategies that work now, may not be relevant in a few months or years time. 

1. Set goals 

When it comes to social media, setting goals should be the first step to creating your strategy. Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or generate leads, having clear goals in mind will help you understand how well your social media efforts are working. 

It’s important to consider both short-term and long-term objectives to ensure your efforts align with your overall business goals. 

Short-term goals might be: 

  • Growing your follower base 
  • Increasing engagement rates 

On the other hand, long-term goals might include: 

  • Boosting sales 
  • Capturing leads 

2. Balance paid and organic activity 

When crafting your social media strategy, it’s crucial to consider the balance between organic and paid activity. To determine how much weight to give to organic and paid social media, look back at your goals and budget. If you’re looking to see quick results or drive specific conversions, it might make sense to invest in paid advertising initially. 

However, if you’re more focused on brand building or engaging with your audience, priortising organic activity might be the best option. Ultimately, a balanced approach that incorporates both strategies cna help you reach your goals more effectively. 

3. Determine budget 

Knowing what your budget is before you start any paid activity will help you to set realistic goals for your strategy and understand what you need to do to get the best ROI. If you have a small budget, it can limit your reach so you’ll need to make sure your campaigns are highly targeted and will resonate with your target audience effectively. 

4. Work on your approach and strategy 

When it comes to achieving your goals on social media, it’s important to carefully consider and plan every aspect of your strategy. The success of your campaigns will largely depend on how well you create and curate your content, engage with your audience, assign responsibilities to team members for responding to comments and messages, and identify the right platforms or influencers to reach your target audience. 

By paying close attention to these key areas and constantly refining your approach, you can improve your chances of establishing a strong online presence and achieving your social media goals. 

5. Measure success 

When it comes to measuring success of your social media campaigns, it’s crucial to always have your original goals in mind. This allows you to effectively assess the performance of your campaigns. 

One effective method to measure the success of your campaigns is to track metrics such as engagement, reach and clicks. These metrics can provide valuable insights into how well your campaigns are performing and can help you to make necessary adjustments. For example, if you find your organic reach is significantly lower than your paid social reach, you may need to reconsider your social strategy and invest more time and resources into paid advertising. 

However, if your organic reach is high, you may want to focus on creating more engaging content to further increase user engagement. Regularly monitoring and analysing the performance of social media campaigns will allow you to gain valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and behaviours, allowing you to continuously refine your social media strategy for optimal results.

If you’d like to know more about the best practices for your paid social media campaigns, take a look at our blog: Top 12 best practices for your paid social media campaigns

Key takeaways 

As you can see, combining organic and paid social media strategies is essential if you’re looking to succeed in today’s digital landscape. With constant changes in algorithms and increasing competition in all sectors, it’s crucial to have a well-rounded approach that can provide consistent engagement and growth.

Leveraging the power of organic and paid social media allows you to increase your reach, drive conversions, and build lasting relationships with your target audience. As social media continues to shape the way we communicate and consume content, it’s essential for businesses to stay informed and adapt accordingly to reap the benefits. 

With the tips provided in this  blog post, you can ensure an effective social media strategy that will take your brand’s presence to the next level. So, start implemeitng these strategies today and watch your social media game soar!

If you’d like to know more about how organic and paid social media can help you drive results for your business, please contact us at

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Blog written by

Connor Young
Digital Marketing Executive