Paid Social vs. Organic Social

by | Last Updated: Feb 20, 2023 | Marketing |

There are two types of social: paid and organic. Typically, the main question that comes to mind regarding social is, “Which of the two guarantees better success?” That said, you’re most likely wondering which is more effective? The answer is: it depends.

It’s important to note that several factors can come into play when choosing between paid and organic social. For instance, are you looking to increase your social media engagement? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to generate more leads or build a community around your brand?

If anything, both paid and organic socials can do wonders for your brand. However, how do you figure out when to pay to get your content to a broader audience or just post organically? What type of content should you run as an ad, and what content is best posted organically?

Paid Versus Organic Social: How is One Different from the Other?

The difference between organic and paid social is simple; posting organic means content is posted for free, whereas, posting paid social  is anything that involves advertising dollars. Each time you post on your social media without paid promotion, you are posting organically. On the other hand, anything in your news feed that has the “sponsored” tag is paid social.

If anyone comments on a post in the news feed and there are no “sponsored” tags on the post, the action is considered organic. That said, organic actions occur on non-ads. On the other hand, liking a “sponsored” post is considered a paid reaction. Paid social media includes lead generation forms, video ads, boosted posts, and ads optimized for clicks.

Organic Social

When posting content on social, you’ll likely ask yourself what you want to achieve with the post. If your goal is to reach your existing customers who follow you on social, then organic social can help you achieve said objective.

It is important to remember that organic pages are more or less similar to a social website. They can validate what you have to offer to potential customers who are considering your brand. While unknown to many, more and more people are looking to social media accounts to find information about  brands.

Best Practices:

Reinforce Your Brand: Organic content can be a great way to reinforce your brand. What is it that you want people to know? Check your social pages and see if your existing content expresses that information. If not, consider posting content that highlights what your brand offers and what it stands for. It would also be a good idea to pin your offers and core ideals to the top of your socials.

Keep Promotions to a Minimum: Rather than focusing on enticing your visitors to purchase from you, focus on sharing content your visitors and followers will find beneficial. Use your organic content to educate, tell stories, and inspire.

If you post about special promos you are offering, don’t forget to mix it with valuable content. This step is crucial to ensure people can familiarize themselves with your brand, trust it, and feel connected to it.

Showcase Your Personality: Use organic socials to showcase what your brand is all about. Share your values, your passions, and the people behind your brand.

Paid Social

While organic social is all about waiting for things to happen, paid social warrants that you get results. For those who are just starting out, paid social can seem intimidating. However, it can be a very effective way to drive traffic to your site, increase engagement, and generate sales.

While it requires some know-how, it is one of the best skills you can learn. Most people who would like to test the paid social waters turn to Facebook Ads Manager first. Nowadays, the growing popularity of paid socials is quite evident.

Statistics show that a significant number of consumers purchased a brand after seeing a paid social. Many businesses are also finding success in their social ads with a whopping 91 percent saying they are satisfied with paid social.

Best Practices

Include a Clear Call-to-Action: Be straightforward about what you want your visitors to do by including a clear and strong call-to-action (CTA). For instance, if you want to drive sales, you can use “Buy Now!” as your CTA. If you want to add some sense of urgency to any of your offers, you can also include “Limited Special Offer.”

Target the Right Audience: One of the things that make social ads highly effective is targeting. The right messaging combined with the right audience can produce compelling results.

Keep It Short: Social ads are displayed in the newsfeed of those who may not know your brand or are not actively looking to engage with it. That said, it is crucial to keep your content short and direct to the point. Share a message that resonates with the audience you’re targeting.


If you are unsure if organic or paid social is best for your brand, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What is my budget?
  • Who are the people I am targeting?
  • What am I offering?

The answer to those questions should help you pick a strategy to go with. Also, don’t hesitate to experiment until you find a strategy that works best for you.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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