Paid vs. Organic Social Media… What’s the difference?

By Lucene Gilbert, LUDWIG+

Social media marketing is all about spreading the word about your products and services to your target audience. It can help you showcase your brand to the right customers by providing accurate information. Authenticity needs to be demonstrated. If you want to let your brand’s personality shine, then it is crucial that you find a voice of your own and stand by it throughout the business journey, so that your audience can get a glimpse of the real mind behind such a wonderful business.

When it comes to using social media for your business, think about it in the same way you think about your personal accounts. But you also have to think about a few different opportunities you have, and when to seize them. Like, how do you know when to post organically and when to pay to get your content out? What type of content should you post organically and what type should you run as an ad? We’re here to answer those questions and take the confusion out of paid vs. organic social content.

Paid social media is another word for advertising. It’s when brands pay money to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. in order to have their content shared with specific new audiences who are likely to be interested, either through “boosting” their organic content, or designing unique advertisements. Paid social is experiencing an uptick, as users get more comfortable with the idea of buying directly from their social feeds. In other words, advertisements or sponsored posts that brands pay a social network to display to audiences beyond their followers. Cost-per-click (CPC) is one of the most common methods of charging for this type of promotion. The number of consumers that are making purchases after seeing ads on social is growing, too.

Organic content is posted for free where all users, including businesses and brands, share with each other on their feeds. An organic social media strategy nurtures your relationship with your customers or audience. It helps you establish and grow your brand’s presence where people are already spending their time. When you’re getting ready to post a new video or other piece of content on social, the first thing to ask yourself is, do I want to reach existing customers or a new customer? If you want to reach existing customers, and those customers are following you on social, then organic should do the trick. It’s also important to remember that your organic posts come together to essentially form a social website. They validate your brand for potential customers who are deciding whether or not to do business with you- and more and more people are looking to social to learn about brands. To avoid spending every last dollar on paid social, organic social is necessary for ongoing success.

Although organic reach is in decline, the benefits of organic social are still tremendous. It provides an incredible opportunity to promote your company and products for free to a loyal audience and extends your network through social sharing. Develop your marketing by experimenting with organic social, email campaigns, and other no- or low-cost methods, and use the winners for paid social ads and promotions. For both paid and organic social posts, make sure that you keep track of analytics to determine the most effective days and times to post.

Organic and paid social media — you shouldn’t have one without the other. A solid organic strategy improves your online presence and reputation, and a paid strategy increases your brand’s reach and awareness to targeted audiences. Managing both aspects of social media takes time and planning, but the results of a well-executed campaign are worth the effort. No time to handle it on your own? We’ve got you covered. The L+ marketing team recommends them working hand-in-hand because if organic posts are doing well, then they can be promoted with media. Also, if you rely on monthly theming, it can therefore help inform both organic and media.

Ultimately, paid social vs. organic social is an unrealistic choice to make. The modern marketing approach that genuinely pays off combines these two approaches in a way that makes each one stronger than if they were run independently. A sense of belonging, enthusiasm, and loyalty can be established through a thorough organic social strategy and reinforced through paid social campaigns.

Looking for help creating a paid and organic social blueprint? The LUDWIG+ social team is your source for best-in-class social strategy.

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