Organic vs. Paid Social Media: What's the Difference?

stock photo of social media apps

Paid social media and organic social media are two different things, and it's important to understand the difference between the two. Paid social media is when you pay for advertising on a social media platform, while organic social media is when you don't pay for advertising and rely on unpaid methods to get your content in front of people. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to know which one is right for you.

Making the decision to use social media for your business is a big one. Once you've made that decision, you then have to decide which type of social media to use: organic or paid? In this blog post, we'll discuss the differences between these two types of social media and help you decide which is best for your business.

The Advantages of Organic Social Media

It is free

With the right strategy and focus, maintaining an organic social media presence can be both cost-effective AND provide great results. It won't take much work on your part, but it will require an investment of time. Engaging with your community members is time-consuming, but if you have a team of employees or freelancers on your side, it is certainly doable.

It is direct communication with your customer

Social media is a great way to engage with your customers on an ongoing basis. By maintaining active social profiles, you can post concerns and compliments as well as answer any questions they may have about your products or services. This provides customers with a personalized experience, while also being convenient because it's a direct response to the consumer.

It creates a brand identity

When it comes to social media, you have the opportunity to not only provide your audience with content they will enjoy but also allow them an inside look into whom YOU actually ARE. You can project your personality through social media by having a sense of humor or providing sound advice. 

The Disadvantages of Organic Social Media

It is time-consuming

Creating quality content and engaging with your audience takes time. You can't expect this task to be completed over lunch, it's a full-time commitment that requires considerable energy from team members or outside help if you don’t have dedicated staff on-hand.

Algorithms are tricky

While the algorithms that dictate what content our audience sees on social media are designed to sort posts by relevance and potential enrichment, getting your post in front of current or prospective customers can be tough. It's easier said than done, but understanding these complex systems is key for organic success.

Offers less flexibility

Organic social media is great for reaching your immediate audience, but it's not as precise in targeting specific demographics. Paid advertising can be more effective if you want to reach certain groups of people with different interests. It can be more specific about who sees the advertisement, because you pay per click or impression.

The Advantages of Paid Social Media

You can target a direct demographic

Paid advertising on social media is an excellent way to reach specific demographics. You can sort users by categories like location, age or gender and place targeted advertisements in their feeds, so they're exposed directly to what you have to offer.

It is budget friendly

Paid social campaigns can be a great way to get your message in front of as many people as possible, without breaking the bank. They generally charge on a pay per click (PPC) basis, so you only have to pay if users interact directly with your paid social media materials via impressions or clicks - which means this service is perfect for any size business.

Instant provides results

With organic social media efforts, you have to create content that will abide by algorithms and actively work to engage with followers once they're hooked. Paid social media foregoes the process by which you have to create content that will abide by algorithms and immediately places your messaging right where people see it.

The Disadvantages of Paid Social Media

There is no guarantee

Investing in social media is not without risk. You never know if your efforts will be effective or what the return on investment might look like for you, so it's important to constantly test and experiment with different strategies before committing money and time.

It is competitive

It's no secret that marketing on social media is becoming increasingly popular. The Statista website reports an estimated 91.9% of US companies were using this form in 2021, which means you have a lot to compete with if your company isn't already ahead on the game!

It is time-consuming

Monitoring your paid social media efforts is important to make sure you're getting the most out of them. There are many analytics tools available, and a lot goes on behind-the scenes when it comes to time spent monitoring your campaigns. You must constantly make adjustments according to the data provided by platform providers, so your advertisements don't become stagnant or lose effectiveness. 

Is organic or paid social media best for your business?

Organic and paid social media both have their benefits for businesses. They suit different needs with varying priorities, so it's impossible to say which one is better than the other because they serve individual purposes.

They both have their pros and cons depending on what your business needs are! If you don't have the budget for paid social media, try focusing more organic efforts such as writing thoughtful content or fleshing out social media profiles. If, however, there is money to spend, then go ahead with an aggressive advertising campaign through platforms such as Facebook Ads Manager. Sponsored content can be used in a way that suits your business if you know how to use it best. 

Whether you are interested in learning more about organic or paid social media promotion; our team at Eternity is here to assist you with all your social media needs. Contact us today to work with us!