The Difference Between Paid & Organic Content On Social Media

A picture of a small business owner working on creating social media content.

The Difference Between Paid & Organic Content On Social Media

Remember when social media first started? It quickly evolved from a platform to share photos and videos with friends to a significant influence in various markets. 

Just as social media has evolved, so has its audience and the ways to influence and advertise for them. Before, when a business grew an organic following, there was a promise that your audience would purchase from you. 

Unfortunately, it’s not so straightforward anymore. Audiences have evolved and expected much more from brands on social media before they purchase their products. 

The only way to get results is to let go of old strategies that don’t work anymore and grasp new ones that are helping to build brands on social media, especially when done right. 

This article will outline the significant differences between paid social media and growing your social media organically and how each serves a different purpose and audience. 

Why Social Media Strategies Have Evolved

Social media strategies used to have much to do with the specific social media platform and algorithms, along with audience behaviors, but that has now changed. 

Companies can use social media in many different ways, but tracking specific metrics and levels of engagement and gathering important analytics is the best way to see if your social media strategy is effective. 

Fewer brands are describing their social media strategies as ‘very effective.’ To see the effectiveness of social media, brands measure their ability to raise brand awareness, strengthen brand image, grow their customer base, and increase sales through social media. 

Brands feeling like they are putting a lot of effort into their social media but aren’t seeing the results may be suffering from a widespread problem. More and more brands are facing the same issues. 

The primary issue with brands and social media is this large gap between what the business expects to get out of social media marketing, what consumers want to see in their social media feed, and what they expect from their favorite brands. 

What Are Audiences Expecting On Social Media? 

Audiences, no matter what niche, are looking for interactive posts. Most often, audiences are likely to look at images or videos in their feed. 

If there is a text-only post in their feed, most consumers will scroll right past it. In fact, video is becoming increasingly popular amongst users as the US social network ad spending will grow this year to nearly $25 billion and is projected to grow another $8 billion or so next year. 

Meeting audience expectations is crucial to social media marketing because of its heavy influence on business. 

A few recent studies, including one from Hubspot, share that nearly 70% of consumers agree that social media allows them to connect and interact with brands. Also, a staggering statistic showed that 50% of consumers reached out to compliment a brand on social media instead of criticizing it. 

Having social channels for your brand and developing a solid marketing strategy to keep them engaged with your page can significantly impact your business. 

Consumers don’t want to be “sold” to, but that’s what businesses do. Users want to feel engaged online and have an impact. 

Most consumers want control of what they see on social media and don’t want to feel harassed by constant advertisements and commercials. 

Finding the balance to help users have a long-term engagement with your brand is challenging. It takes a strong marketing strategy to help users trust your brand and follow you over a long period instead of just creating a buy-and-forget experience. 

The Difference Between Paid and Organic Content on Social Media

What is Paid Content? 

A picture of a laptop, tablet, and phone with social media content ready to post.The simplest way to put it is that paid content should have a specific goal in mind. This could be to get more brand awareness and followers or sell your business’ product or service. 

Paid social media content also refers to advertising across platforms. There are many different advertisements your business can run across many platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and more. 

Finding the right social media platform for your business’ niche is critical. Paid content can be its own post with its own advertising objective or boost organic content that is created and already posted. 

What is Organic Content? 

Organic content is created with the purpose of engagement for the user. This is content that your audience would want to interact with and share. 

Organic content is any free content shared on various social media platforms. Whether it’s posts, stories, videos, graphics, or more, organic content is seen by a portion of your followers. 

Unfortunately, with the popularity of social media continually rising, organic content is getting harder and harder to see, and the reach is declining. 

However, organic content is still essential to create; finding the balance between paid and organic content is crucial. Below are a few ideas for great organic content to post that, in turn, can help others to share more about your brand. 

  • Relatable information 
  • Trending sounds and videos related to your niche 
  • Examples of how a consumer is using your product 
  • How-to guides and videos 
  • Testimonials or reviews 
  • Behind the scenes or meet the team posts 

These organic content ideas are great ways to get users involved in your brand. 

Create a Balanced Social Media Strategy 

What it all comes down to is that paid and organic content are both important, even though organic content creation is declining. Paid and organic content should have different objectives and goals. 

With the growth of social media and various platforms, the race for users’ attention is challenging but worth the battle. 

Organic content should help you establish your brand’s voice and connect with existing followers and customers. In contrast, paid social media content should target a specific audience and sell to consumers precisely. 

It is challenging to create this balance, but once you develop a strategy and have a purpose behind every post, your company will reap the benefits instead of posting just to post. 

Creating a Social Media Strategy That Balances Paid and Organic Content

1. Identify the Social Media Platforms You’ll Focus On

Before launching social media content, research which platforms best fit your brand and audience. 

A picture of a person balancing on a rock, representing the balance between paid and organic social media content.

Think about your target audience and ask yourself where they spend their time. Often a younger audience will be scrolling through TikTok and Instagram reels, whereas an older or more professional audience may be frequenting Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Knowing your audience and where they spend their time will help you start on the right food when jumping into social media. 

2. Make It Easy For Your Customers To Find You On Social Media 

When brainstorming a name for your company, you often research URLs that will fit your company’s name. 

Your social media handles are just as important as matching your website URL to your company name. If your social media handles don’t match your company name or something similar, it will be hard for your customers to find and interact with your posts. 

3. Plan Your Social Media Posts On A Monthly Content Calendar 

Planning out your content will help you to stay organized and have a purpose behind each post. This will also help you to find a balance between paid and organic posts, giving you an overview of the content for the month and helping you create a cohesive strategy. 

On top of planning out your content, many tools will post for you. You can use various programs to schedule posts on each day you plan, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to post after you put so much work into planning the content. 

4. Measure And Monitor Your Social Media Posts Performance 

Once you have developed a strategy, created the content, and posted it, be sure to follow up and measure the engagement of each post and its performance. 

Knowing what metrics to measure and analyzing them each month will help you to improve your strategy for the following month and create more engagement in your posts. 

These are a few tactics to help you build a great social media marketing strategy but don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with your posts. Find what works best for your brand and what gets the most engagement. 

It may take a few months, but once you find what gets your audience engaged with your brand, you can continue building off that and maintain a stellar social media presence.