Organic Vs. Paid Social Media: How To Blend Both In Your Strategy

Nov 16, 2021 12 min read

Build it or buy it?

Social media was initially started as an organic marketing tool. It was one where brands would put in lots of effort to build an audience through exciting and engaging content that was liked, shared, and commented on.

But over the past few years, paid or sponsored content has become the staple of most social media marketing efforts to generate awareness – through ads, promoted posts, sponsored content, and influencer marketing.

While marketers generally know that both paid and organic content influence the existing and potential audiences, finding the right balance can be elusive.

Amid both the efforts working really well for different brands, what would work best for your brand and why? Where are trends leaning towards these days?

In this post, we will explore the core aspects and differences between organic and paid social media content and offer some pieces of advice for blending both in your marketing strategy that works best for your business.

You can directly jump to a section of your choice or keep scrolling.

Why Should You Blend Organic And Paid Social Media Marketing?

Paid and organic content are the two pillars of digital marketing.

Overall, paid and organic efforts are responsible for entire 68% of website traffic:

  • 53% of website traffic comes from organic marketing efforts
  • 15% of website traffic comes from paid marketing efforts

These figures are averaged across all industries.

What's more, it's been found that organic and paid marketing efforts generate 72% of revenues for a business.

Research also shows that the combination of organic and paid marketing efforts brings in two-thirds of all revenue for most businesses. And that's crazy high! That's why your brand should care and invest in both organic and paid social media marketing.

Organic Vs. Paid Social Media Example

Image Source:

What's Paid Marketing Without Organic Strategy?

A marketing strategy built solely on paid efforts will be shallow and won't connect with your customers. If all that your customers see with respect to your brand is ads, with no educational content, no informative emails, no entertaining social posts, they will lose interest in your brand. They won't see your brand as an authoritative brand on social media over your competitors.

Organic Social Media Marketing: The Overview

Organic social media marketing creates relationships with audiences on social platforms by providing valuable and engaging content. Using organic tactics, you establish an authority for your brand by creating value for customers.

Organic marketing often focuses on bringing readers to your website or the top of your marketing funnel through the social media content and search results (when they search for relevant keywords, hashtags, and topics related to your industry and brand).

Instead of interrupting customers, organic marketing draws customers in with quality content that they wish to see.

An organic marketing strategy uses content to carry a customer along each stage of the buyer's journey. The content you create on social should be compelling enough to educate, inform, entertain and engage with your target audience.

From awareness, engaging, exciting, subscription, converting, advocating, to promoting, high-quality content in organic tactics give the audience a push and encourages them to complete the buyer journey and convert into a retainer customer.

Within organic social media marketing, your goals can include :

  • Developing brand voice
  • Creating authentic relationships
  • Building brand awareness
  • Establishing your brand as an expert/thought leader in the industry
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Generating leads organically

Pros Of Organic Social Media Marketing

  • Less expensive strategy
  • Requires less maintenance
  • Generates consistent and sustainable traffic
  • Builds trust and credibility in your brand
  • Wider potential reach
  • Higher ROI in the long run

Cons Of Organic Social Media Marketing

  • It takes a longer time to produce results
  • Not advisable for time-sensitive content
  • Provides less control over performance
  • Provides vague analytics in your audience behavior

Paid social media marketing allows businesses to target, reach, engage and convert audiences quickly and directly. Instead of hoping and making efforts for the correct audience to find your organic social post, paid marketing pushes your content directly towards your target audience. So, your efforts are much more targeted and focused on driving audiences to complete a specific action, such as making a purchase or attending a webinar.

Paid social media marketing is most effective in driving hard sales and quick results. Each paid content (also known as an ad) will point to a product page, landing page, or anything that will drive specific results. However, as you are spending money on these ads, you need to make sure that you are crystal clear on the goals you wish to achieve through paid marketing efforts.

Paid marketing helps you rise to the top in a competitive market space and reach customers who didn't know you existed. Also, the immediate return of paid marketing campaigns can be attractive, rather than waiting months for organic social media content to gain enough traction to convert.

Paid Social Media Marketing Example

Goals for your paid marketing can be:

  • Achieving ROI
  • Driving clicks and impressions
  • Getting countable results
  • Hitting sales targets
  • Optimizing ads to reach maximum effectiveness
  • Testing and refining campaigns

Pros Of Paid Social Media Marketing

  • Quick to produce results
  • Provides more control over performance
  • Useful for time-sensitive content
  • Provides detailed analytics
  • Laser-focused audience targeting
  • Higher ROI in the short term

Cons Of Paid Social Media Marketing

  • More expensive in the short term
  • Grows less effective over time
  • Requires more maintenance
  • Can require bigger budgets

Key Differences Between Organic And Paid Social Media Marketing

In the end, both paid and organic marketing efforts will promote your brand and help you achieve your specific marketing goals. But, there are some major differences between them.

Factor Organic Social Media Marketing Paid Social Media Marketing
Cost Less More
Time required to achieve results More Less
Maintenance required Less More
Provided performance control Less More
Audience targeting control Less More
Analytics provided Vague Detailed
Effective marketing stage funnel Awareness and consideration stages Decision stages
Type of content mostly produced Evergreen Temporary

3 Keys To A Successful Organic Social Media Marketing

Here are the three essential points you need to keep in mind when carrying out an organic social media marketing campaign for your brand.

1. Choose The Right Social Network

A successful marketing strategy begins with identifying where your ideal audience is. Each social platform has its own culture, audience, and tone that your followers will be expecting. Your organic marketing efforts will have to adjust and adapt to these aspects if you wish to attract your target audience to your page.

Don't try to grow up on all social media platforms at once. Settle on a primary social network and build an audience. Then expand once you start gaining traction there. Since each network will need unique content, you can’t create one piece of content and expect it to do well across all social networks.

Statusbrew's Compose feature allows you to create customized posts for key social media networks while also being able to see the preview in real-time. Thus, you will be able to create network-specific content with minimal effort.

Create customized posts for key social media networks

2. Have Creativity In Content And Consistency In Posting

Content is the most essential tool in your arsenal while trying to gain your audience's attention and new potential customers on social networks. Hence, ensure that you create content that is unique, resonates with your audience, and solves their problem. The more creative your content is, the better chances you have of growing organically on the platform.

Also, maintain consistency in posting creative content on your profile. Set a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling tools such as Statusbrew can help you keep track of when and what you are posting on social media. It helps you manage multiple profiles easily from a single dashboard.

Schedule content using Statusbrew

Keeping to your schedule will build trust with your audience as they would know when to expect content on your page. This way, you will ultimately increase the attention and time people spend on your page. Being smart with your organic social media marketing efforts will help manage your online reputation and tell your brand story while connecting with your audience.

3. Engage With Audience

Engaging with your social audience through organic efforts like answering their questions, responding to their comments and feedback, or simply starting a conversation makes it easier for your brand to develop a strong reputation that's sustainable in the long term. This might also bring in collaboration opportunities for your brand, helping you to expand your audience base.

Statusbrew unifies all your social conversations and presents them to you in a single dashboard. This makes it easy for you to respond in a timely manner and avoid missing out on any conversation. You can also assign specific conversations to your teammates to reply to and even add internal notes.

Statusbrew's unified inbox

3 Keys To A Successful Paid Social Media Marketing

Here's what you need to know while carrying out a successful paid social media marketing campaign to get the maximum bang for your buck.

1. Know The Risk And Reward

The risk in paid social advertising is spending dollars on the wrong audience or an ineffective ad type that leads to no sales and growth. And the reward is exponential growth while meeting your business goals.

The risk and rewards heavily depend on how you launch your campaign and whom you choose to target your ads to. A paid campaign requires close monitoring and an immediate response if at any time your efforts are made in the wrong direction.

Using Statusbrew, you can launch, manage and track all your marketing campaigns on major social platforms in the same space. This will help you keep a close eye on your marketing efforts and take quick action.

Campaign url builder

2. Measure Your ROI

Paid social media marketing is ROI-driven. Hence, you need to be intentional and deliberate with any dollars you put into your marketing plan.

You should also have all the tools in place that help you measure the success of your campaign, tracking strategy with pixels and UTMs, and a social ROI calculator to help keep track of your progress.

Statusbrew's Reports lab feature gives you in-depth insights into the performance of your paid campaigns and the ROI that you are deriving with extremely precise metrics. You also have the flexibility to measure insights that are not provided by native platforms to make better-informed decisions such as organic vs. paid content performance and impressions.

Get in-depth insights using Statusbrew

3. Become A Bidding Maven

Bidding is arguably one of the most essential aspects of the paid social advertising process. This is because if you do it right, you can maximize your reach without maximizing your spending. Each social network has its own bidding parameters about which you need to know inside out to get it right.

Along with that knowledge, it pays to play around a bit with different bidding strategies to see the estimated output, such as reach, clicks, etc., that different bid inputs deliver. Your goal is to find the sweet spot that stretches your results furthest with the minimum dollar investment.

Facebook Ads Bidding

Image Source: Hunch

As there are many misconceptions in this aspect, let's burst the most common myths about paid and organic social media marketing to reveal the truth and figure out the actual difference between them.

Myth #1: Organic social media reach grows as social footprint grows

Truth: Posting as much content as possible doesn't guarantee you a wider reach on social media. Any social media platform doesn't show content chaotically but uses specific algorithms aimed to improve user experience with more relevant content.

In order to crack that algorithm, you should be creating quality content with a purpose. Knowing how the algorithm works will help you take better steps to grow on the platform organically.

Know more about the Instagram algorithm, Facebook algorithm and Twitter algorithm

Myth #2: Organic social media marketing can't generate high-quality leads

Truth: Organic social media is pretty much capable of getting you quality leads, but it will take some time and laser focussed efforts. Another benefit of carrying out organic marketing to generate leads is that it allows for social listening.

Hence, you can get to know your audience's thoughts about your brand, what they like and hate about your products, and what problems your product can solve. All this information is essential for guiding your social marketing strategy accordingly.

Bonus: Statusbrew allows you to find your brand mentions in social media posts and user conversations and even reply to them in real-time.

Find your brand mentions using Statusbrew

Myth #3: Paid social media is less effective since it's less authentic than organic marketing

Truth: The lack of authenticity is not a big obstacle. As paid marketing is targeted based on user persona, the sponsored posts and ads reach a specific group of people who need them the most.

Paid social media content gets straight to the point by offering a solution to a problem, whereas organic social media content is more about nurturing relationships with your target audience.

7 Ways To Integrate Organic And Paid Social Media Marketing

Unless you strategically integrate the two, you may miss out on a powerful combination that can accelerate your brand's growth. Here's a blueprint that you can use to adopt a combination of both organic and paid marketing strategies to work for your brand.

1. Apply Organic Wins To Your Paid Strategy

Creating a consistent look and feel between organic and paid content offers a more positive experience to your consumers. To make this happen, apply the elements and learning that generated the best engagement in your organic content to your paid posts as well. This can include image type, CTAs, social media post topics, tone of the copy, etc.

Paid Social Media Marketing Example

2. Leverage Paid Social Efforts To Retarget Inbound Traffic

Using organic social media marketing, build content around low-competition and high-value keywords and attract traffic to your website. Use several calls to action to send these visitors to the vital selling pages on your website.

Next, retarget those visitors who spend the most time on these pages with paid social content. The upshot here is that you will spend your marketing budget on only the hottest prospects (those who spent the most time browsing your website), thus saving money while improving results.

3. Start With The Ad

Most brands' focus is to produce organic content and then use it in paid campaigns if it does well. But brands today are flipping this order. They simply create an ad, and A/B test different ad elements such as image, copy, CTA. They then use the winning techniques in their organic content to drive inbound traffic in the least possible time.

Organic Vs. Paid Social Media Results

Image Source: WordStream

4. Use Paid Data To Update Organic Campaign Data

Use the data collected from paid campaigns to build and reoptimize your organic strategy. For instance, you can use the paid search data to frame your organic content around the most successful search terms. This is a cost-effective method to ensure that your organic content is filled with search terms that will generate the best results.

5. Analyze Content Behavior

Investigate behaviors that have lower motivations for paid campaigns and behaviors that have higher motivations for organic strategy. Then use these insights to leverage paid strategy in the most valuable and cost-effective way or vice versa.

For instance, if an organic video post has high engagement but a low completion rate, try shortening that video for your paid ads.

6. Combine Organic And Paid KPIs

Seeing the way paid and organic social media KPIs interact with one another can give you deeper insights into the effectiveness of your campaigns and the overall health of your brand. So be sure to look at total views, reach, impressions, and other KPIs for both marketing types together.

7. Automate And Analyze

Automation and analysis is the secret weapon for consistently excelling at social media marketing.

The more you post, the more you will discover which strategy is right for your marketing efforts and the one that best suits your target audience.

Since most social networks provide basic analytics built into their site, locating this information from an all-encompassing dashboard becomes easier.

Social media analytics tools such as Statusbrew can show you a breakdown of how each post performs in the areas of views, clicks, shares, likes, and comments.

Analyze results of several marketing campaigns

While you run both organic and paid social media marketing together, it's difficult to manage both from different places. It's better to have a system to manage and run several marketing campaigns together and analyze their results.

Tools like Statusbrew allow you to create all the content you want for your campaign, all at once, and then place them into a queue to be sent out according to whatever schedule you choose.

Want to discuss more? Snag a free trial today!

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Rushali Das

Rushali is a B2B SaaS content writer who specializes in writing research-driven blog posts around marketing for B2B SaaS brands.

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