There’s no doubt that social media is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.
But the question remains: Is organic or paid social media more effective for your business?
The answer is, probably a mix of both. Why?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what organic and paid social media are and break down the pros and cons of each as well as how to combine them to create the most effective social media marketing strategy for your business.
What Is Organic Social Media?
Organic social media is unpaid, user-generated content. This can include anything from blog posts and tweets to photos and videos. It differs from paid social media, which is content that is sponsored or promoted by a brand.
Organic social media is a great way to build trust and credibility with your audience. Because it’s unpaid, users are more likely to trust the content and feel like they’re getting an honest opinion.
Additionally, organic social media allows you to connect with your audience on a more personal level. You’re not just pushing out content; you’re engaging with them and building relationships.
Brands utilise organic social media reach by generating entertaining or useful organic content for their audiences to engage with. Next, we will look at examples of how brands do this.
Examples Of Organic Social Media
- Brands posting useful & entertaining content
- Engaging with their audience
- Customer service and replying to customer queries
A good example of entertaining content creation is the Wendy’s Twitter account. Known infamously for “roasting” other brands and Twitter users online through their tweets.
By creating entertaining and humorous tweets, Wendy’s brings in organic traffic and engagement from its audiences.
These tweets are also easily shareable, making it easy for Wendy’s to create viral content and build momentum.
That being said, Wendy’s also engages in customer service on Twitter.
Despite them being known for their “roasts”, they also reach out to customers who have had problems with their Wendy’s restaurant experience.
Overall, Wendy’s Twitter account is a mixture of entertaining, sharable content as well as helpful customer service when needed.
The Pros And Cons Of Organic Social Media
Like most things in life, everything has its ups and downs.
So then, what are the pro’s and con’s of organic social media?
- It’s free! The main benefit of organic is that it’s essentially free – no budget required which is why it is a popular place to start for new businesses.
- Builds relationships with potential customers: Organic social media strategy is for building relationships with your potential customers and turning them into loyal fans of your brand. It may take time to grow an organic following capable of converting into sales, but when done right it is effective.
- Builds credibility and trust: By generating genuine, entertaining or useful content, as well as engaging with customers, you are building your brand’s reputation online which will help customers decide if they are willing to place a sale with you or over another brand.
- Limited reach: organic comes with some obvious drawbacks including limited reach (you’ll need to engage with people who are already interested in your brand), organic social media content can be difficult to measure, and organic reach is on the decline as social sites continue to crack down on third-party spam.
- Limited Sharing/traffic: Organic posts are harder to share than paid posts and organic content may not get as much traffic as paid advertisements can get.
Overall, the “free” aspect of using organic social media is far too great to miss out on. You’ll be able to build your relationships and engagement with customers by generating quality content to build up your brand reputation.
You’ll need patience for this type of social media due to the cutbacks of limited reach and traffic but overall, organic social media is vital in building your business’s social media presence as well as brand integrity.
What Is Paid Social Media?
Paid social media marketing is any type of advertising on social networking sites. It’s also known as “Boosted Posts” or “ads” on Facebook, Twitter “Promoted Tweets” and Instagram “Promoted Posts”.
Paid platforms can be a great way to amplify your brand message or targeted campaign. Social media platforms like Facebook offer sponsored posts that brands can use to target specific audiences or keywords.
Examples Of Paid Social Media
Facebook – Boosted Posts
- By paying to promote a post, it’s shown to a wider audience and can increase brand awareness as a result.
- Since Facebook has a massive user base, this strategy has the potential for your content to be seen by millions of people worldwide.
Twitter – Promoted Tweets:
- Twitter users who engage with promoted tweets are more likely to be interested in your content.
- This strategy can help brands reach audiences that might otherwise not come across their ads
Instagram – Promoted Posts
- Instagram is another platform where paid advertising is possible, creating opportunities for brands to place videos and photos within the Stories feature, or within the Explore tab.
- Audiences are much more engaged with visual content, which makes Instagram an effective platform for paid advertising.
The Pros & Cons Of Paid social media
- Increased reach – when you pay to advertise on social media, your content is shown to a much wider audience than it would be if you relied on organic reach alone. This can help to increase brand awareness and reach new customers.
- Increased engagement – paid social media can help to increase engagement with your brand, as users are more likely to interact with ads that are relevant to them.
- Targeted advertising – by targeting specific audiences or keywords, paid social media allows you to reach people who are likely to be interested in your product or service. This increases the chances of conversion and helps to reduce wasted ad spend.
- Cost – paid social media advertising is not cheap, and it can be difficult to predict how much you will spend. Additionally, it can be time-consuming to test different types of ads on different platforms.
- Competition – with thousands of brands advertising on major platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter every day, competition is fierce. It’s important you stand out from the crowd and create ads that resonate with your target audience or you may not get the results you want.
- Limited targeting – organic social media allows advertisers to target certain demographics and keywords, but paid advertising is limited by what platforms allow. For example, Facebook only lets customers target people who have “expressed an interest” in their products or services before. This can make it challenging for brands to reach new audiences without paying for boosts on popular posts.
Overall, We Think It’s A Good Idea To Use Both Paid And Organic Social Media In Your Marketing Strategy.
We’ve gone over the pros and cons of each and concluded that it would be most beneficial for businesses to ideally use both.
Paid or organic social media should not be used in isolation – it is part of a wider marketing strategy and should be used in conjunction with other marketing channels to get the best results.
Both yield short and long-run results for your business.
A good organic social media strategy can help build your brand’s reputation, drive engagement and build relationships with customers, whilst a well-planned and executed paid social media strategy can help to improve brand awareness, engagement, and ROI.
Unsure? Try Testing!
As with any marketing strategy, if you’re not sure, it might be time to run a test campaign by running an A/B split-test of both organic and paid content on Facebook as well as Instagram with different target audiences and comparing the results after each month.
This will give you some insight into how one strategy performs against another in terms of engagement rate (likes, comments, shares) and conversion rates (sign-ups, leads, sales).
Still Unsure? Gastronomic Agency Can Help.
It’s okay to ask for help sometimes and luckily Gastronomic Agency is a food marketing agency with years of experience at handling both organic and paid social media.
We can help you create a tailored social media strategy that works for your business.
Get in touch with us today for more information.
Let us know what you think of the organic vs paid social media argument: Which do you think will be better suited for your business?