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Organic social or paid social, what is the difference?

Social media is a key platform to bring you closer to your target customers. You can make more valuable connections and communicate directly with customers, as well as keeping on top of trending topics to help you speak to your audience more effectively. It’s becoming one of the major tools that can help you improve your reputation and digital presence.  

The social media landscape can be complex, and it’s also continually changing and developing – as a result, it can be hard to get to grips with whilst keeping up to date with all the advertising features each platform has to offer.

To create the best social media marketing strategy for your brand – it’s important to understand how you can effectively utilise the platforms through organic social approaches, paid social ads or a mixture of both. We’ve outlined some of the main advantages that we recognise as a digital marketing agency below:

Organic social

Organic social is the use of any free tools provided by different platforms. Most major platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram).

LinkedIn, Instagram & Facebook) allow you to share public posts with your followers and directly interact with users by responding to their comments and messages for free. Social platforms also offer some free analytics which can give you an idea of how well a particular post or topic is performing.

There are many benefits of having a company profile and sharing updates on different platforms. We’ve listed some of the benefits of social media organic posting:

1. Cost-effective

Social media is a great platform to generate online visibility. If your business is just starting up or you want some extra brand awareness; organic posting is an effective and cheap way to compliment your marketing efforts and maintain a connection with your target audience. 

2. Direct communication 

Social media has become the go-to place for customers who want to contact companies with queries, feedback or complaints. It has provided a platform for you to help individual customers by responding to their comments or private messages instantly – without them having to send an email or pick up a phone.

3. Understanding your target customers

It’s not just about what you’re posting – social listening is the act of monitoring conversations and trending topics on different platforms. You can identify the interests of your target audience and make your content more appealing to them as a result. You can also look at the tone and language that your target customers are using and create valuable, relatable content.

4. Telling your brand story

Posting updates on multiple platforms gives you the chance to let your audience understand your unique brand. For example, Instagram can be used to share visual updates about your work, while LinkedIn provides you with a platform to share any professional or industry news. An audience who resonate with you and know more about your business goals and attitudes are much more likely to use your service or buy your product. 

Paid social

Paid social is the use of sponsored posts which you can target at a user based on their profile – for example, their age, location and interests. The main difference between organic and paid social (besides the price), is that paid ads can reach a much broader audience and aim for a more specific result (e.g. conversions).

Implementing a paid strategy can feel like a big step due to the costs involved – but there are many benefits of using sponsored ads and more advanced advertising features. A paid strategy will increase your brand recognition through cost-effective, targeted and creative ads. We’ve explained some benefits below:

1. Expand your audience

Through paid ads, you will be able to increase your reach and target your ads to prospects. Paid campaigns let you control who sees your posts, the location of your ads, and what time they’re displayed.

Featured tools let you target users based on demographic and behavioural traits. You’ll also be able to retarget and connect with users who have previously shown an interest in your company. Advanced targeting can ensure you won’t be wasting time sharing content with users who are unlikely to be interested. 

2. Control your budget 

Paid social gives you a lot of control when it comes to your marketing budget, and there are different costs, for example: 

  • Cost per 1000 impressions (CPM)
  • Per click (CPC)
  • Cost per conversion
  • Cost per video view

The cost of your digital campaign will depend on your goal – which might be more impressions or more engagement. The format of your ads will also have an impact on cost. For example, a video ad will be more expensive than an image but could produce better results.

3. More options

Your paid campaign will offer a variety of ad formats, which you can choose depending on what you’re hoping to achieve. We’ve listed just a few of the options available throughout different platforms:

Messenger ads – Facebook allows you to display your ads within Messenger. The ads can link back to your website or even encourage users to connect with your business directly through Facebook. Messenger ads are particularly useful for retargeting customers with a personal message. 

Carousel ads – These are ideal for showcasing a range of products or explaining a step-by-step process. You can include up to 10 images or videos, each with a link attached – all in one clear ad. 

Stories ads – You can display your ad between users’ 24-hour stories on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Stories ads are ideal for targeting or retargeting customers with limited time offers and promotions, as they are intended to be quick and straight to the point. These can also include an option to link straight to your product or service page.

InMail – LinkedIn is ideal if you’d like your brand to be put in front of a group of professionals. InMail allows you to send personalised messages directly into the inboxes of your target audience. You can choose who to target based on their location, education, job title, industry and more. 

4. Measurable results

A paid strategy will be designed to meet specific business goals. The major social platforms offer advanced analytics to help you measure the results of your ads and the value they’re bringing to your company.

Knowing what is working and what isn’t will ensure you’re only producing content and sharing assets that are delivering real results. Paid features help you to understand your audience, most suitable platforms and your campaign performance.

Get in touch

It comes as no surprise that social media is so widely used by advertisers. It provides a place for brands to nurture and grow relationships with customers and prospects. There are benefits of both organic and paid social – and a number of companies are benefitting from using a combination of these two approaches. If you want to find out more about how you can use social media to grow your business, or if you have any other questions about how we work as a digital agency – get in touch.