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What’s the difference between paid and organic social?

by Nadine Head | 02.03.2020

In the digital marketing world, people know the difference between Paid Social and Organic Social. But outside of this world, people might not be able to tell what truly sets them apart. So that’s why I’m going to tell you right now.

In short, Organic Social, as the name suggests, is when an individual or brand posts on their social media account organically to highlight personality and values. Paid Social, on the other hand, allows you to pay money to reach out to new customers and audiences, still promoting brand awareness but not over-exposing it. But let’s dive a little deeper.

What is organic social?

Organic Social advertising showcases your favourite brands and how they can be relatable. Everyone has probably seen a post from their favourite brand where they have thought ‘yeah I can relate to that’ or ‘oh I love that concept’. This is what organic social is all about, bringing people together to form a community and a following. Organic social focuses on bringing people along for an experience and gaining number one fans.

Not only this but with the variety of social media platforms and options that we have available to us, brands are able to tell a story and really connect with their followers. Which is why organic social is so important for brands in this era, in order to build brand awareness you want to attract loyal followers.

What is paid social?

Paid Social differs from organic social in the sense that there is money behind a post to allow brands to promote it. So, when you see a post on your social media feed that has ‘promoted’ underneath it, this is the work of paid social. The social media platforms that allow promoted posts are pretty much the same as organic social, with the use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and  LinkedIn being the main four.

You can either boost a post that has already been posted on the platform organically to push for further reach, or you can design your own ads to connect to specific audiences, by choosing a campaign objective that best fits your KPI. This style of marketing can not only boost brand awareness but also boost sales for a brand. For example, if a brand had a specific product they wanted to push for more sales, they can look to paid social. By boosting a post or creating a whole new campaign, they can reach a bigger audience and generate those extra sales they need.

Organic and paid social can work together

But why should you consider both strategies for your brand? Even though Paid and Organic Social have their differences, they work together hand in hand. Organic social maintains your follower base and highlights your brand’s message, while paid social takes your brand beyond organic reach and attracts new customers and followers. Of course, you can use either marketing strategy individually but, when paired together they form a strong and effective team!

When you think about campaign strategy for your brand, even if you have a huge worldwide following, it is always a good idea to consider paid social to target further groups or communities. Which will, in turn, expand your following and get your message across to even more people.

No matter how you decide to design your advertising strategy, it’s important to always make sure that you are consistent with your organic campaigns to make sure you maintain a good customer relationship. When you have this, you can add paid social into the mix to reach out to even more potential customers.