So what’s the difference? Paid vs Organic Social Media Marketing

When we have new clients come onboard we often get asked about social media advertising and social media posts, and what the key differences are?  

It can all seem the same at first, especially if you’ve only ever had a personal account on  platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. But when it comes to using social media for your business, it can be easy to think about it in the same way. From a personal account we can upload images, videos and even share content such as our favourite articles or memes and wait to see how our friends and family react. 

But that’s only one side of social media marketing. There’s a world of opportunity when it comes to paid social posts.

To give you a better understanding here is how we like to define the two. 

Organic social posts can be images, videos, shared content or text posts that will show up in the feeds of people that follow your business page or like your business page. 

Your posts will be shown to more people as your audience shares and engages with them. Organic posts are in general posted on going every couple of days. It’s what keeps your online audience engaged and connected. 

Think of this as an opportunity to stay connected with already existing clients. Although new customers will always use social media to view a brand or business prior to making a purchase or major decision, it’s the members of the community you have built that will regularly see and like your stories and material that you post on a daily basis. 

Paid social posts, which can be images or videos that YOU PAY to show up in the feeds of whichever audience you decide to target. Not only will they show up on feeds, but they can also be shown in Instagram feeds, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Video Feed, Instagram explore just to name a few. 

You can target audiences based on demographics, location, interests, and more. With organic social, you post and wait for things to happen and need to ensure you build a decent engagement on your page, but paid social posts guarantee that you’ll get seen by new people who haven’t connected with your business yet.So the key difference is simple: Organic social content is posted for free whereas paid social content is paid to reach a larger audience. Organic content is generally designed with the purpose of connecting with an audience and increasing engagement and paid ads are designed to meet their objective. Which might be to sell a product, collect an email address or get people to a physical store location.

So how does it look when we are working on organic and paid social media? 

At Social Media Tribe, our team of content writers work on a 2 week cycle for ongoing social posts. We set up a structure that may include anywhere from 6 posts a fortnight to 10 posts a fortnight. Which includes the written text and imagery. We work on creating fresh material to send out to your following as well as keeping your audience up to date with the latest that is happening in your business. With organic posts, the team keeps it friendly and adds a little personality that your customers love to interact with.  

When it comes to ads, paid social media is a method of displaying advertisements or sponsored marketing messages on popular social media platforms. And at Social Media Tribe we run our ads through Facebook Ads Manager. Using Facebook Ads it helps you build new leads and generate brand awareness by targeting a specific sub-audience. We monitor each ad as it runs, as well as making changes when required to get the most out of your paid advertising. 

Almost on any post that you have shared organically, you can click on the “Boost Post” button. This is where you can pay to “boost” an organic post to get it in front of more people. This is often an effective strategy for organic posts that are performing particularly well. 

Using advertising effectively does take a little more time to learn, but it’s definitely a skill worth having once you have the organic side of advertising downpat.

Overall both organic and paid social media marketing have a range of different benefits which can provide exposure and engagement to your brand and business. Whether you decide on using organic posting or paid advertising to connect with your online audience we want to share the overall benefits with you.  

Organic posting includes the ability to boost brand awareness, build relationships with your existing audience, and generate positive comments, “likes,” and “reactions” but most importantly is cost-effective and a long-term option. 

Benefits for paid social media advertising, particularly for small business include; amplifying your reach, fitting any budget from $10/week up, enhancing your targeting, boosting brand awareness, maximising your content marketing, gaining access to mobile users and gathering market insights. 



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Minna Salmesvuo

Social Media & Online Marketing Strategist