November 5, 2020

The importance of both organic and paid social media

Not using social media for your business or brand? If so you are missing out on a key way to reach your audience. Social media is here to stay and it’s more important than ever to have a well thought-out social media presence. It can not only help you build brand awareness and connect to your audience, but also have a huge impact on business results, driving traffic to your website and generating valuable leads!

Organic and paid social strategies each have their own specific advantages, so it’s important to create a social strategy that combines paid and organic efforts. Planning your activity will ensure all communications are streamlined, having a positive knock-on effect on user experience. You need to consider how ads can be served to both new and existing customers – you could run a campaign to attract new users, in conjunction with boosted organic posts to your current audience for example. 

Remember, social is no longer just about conversation and content. It is now an established advertising channel for customer acquisition, remarketing and engaging existing fans/customers to support your ongoing retention programmes. Paid social media and organic social media both have different goals. We know it’s difficult to determine the best way to approach this complex and ever changing topic, so we’ve done some of the legwork for you.

The importance of organic social media

Organic social media does not cost to publish – your only outgoings to consider are the fees, resources, or time required to generate the content. This includes content such as; uploading an Instagram photo, writing and publishing a tweet or a Facebook post, or even writing an article on LinkedIn.

Generally organic content is seen by your followers, sometimes friends of followers, or anyone who has directly come to your social channel. Although, when a post is shared (regrammed, retweeted, pinned), it will be shown to more people. 

Organic social media content is so important for brands, as it:

  • Ensures you have an active brand presence online
  • Is a relatively inexpensive way to share content such as news, brand updates, UGC (user generated content) and promotions
  • Provides a space to build a community and start conversations with your customers
  • Can be used to increase trust and engagement
  • Is an important channel for customer service as users are heading to social media channels to ask questions
  • Is a free means to communicate important brand messages or updates quickly
  • Can be used as a great way to display and share reviews or testimonials! 

There are so many great benefits of using organic social media, however, due to algorithms prioritising certain content types, or showing content they think you might interact more with – specifically Facebook and Instagram – only a small amount of your followers will see your content. This can be very frustrating when you may have spent a lot of time building up an audience online, or if you are trying to grow an audience in the social media space.

This is where paid social comes in…

The importance of social media paid advertising 

Paid social media means you have to put spend behind your content in order for it to be shown to your target audience. It also requires more time and resources to generate new ads, or creative assets, and refresh them regularly. 

There are so many different objectives, ad formats and placements to consider when determining what kind of ads you want to run. With such a large number of opportunities at your fingertips, it is important you plan ahead and think about what you want to achieve when it comes to paid social advertising. Questions to ask yourself include: Who is your target audience? What social media channels does your customer engage with? What do they want to see? What kind of content can I create (video, image, graphics)?  What do I want the ad to achieve?

Social advertising can help you achieve the following:

  • Reach a large number of highly targeted users
  • Be very specific about the people you want to target – either by demographic, location, interest and much more…
  • Increase impressions (get eyeballs on your content) for a low cost
  • Build brand awareness quickly and effectively
  • Improve engagement with your existing audience
  • Increase video views 
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate leads
  • Start conversations with new customers
  • Convert prospects into paying customers

All of the above can be achieved depending on the kind of ads you set up and how you optimise your campaign. The nature of paid social marketing means you can constantly monitor results and refine your creative, or campaign assets / messages. You gain instant insight into the actions your audience takes and can act quickly to amend your messaging. You can even set up your campaigns to split test creative or ad copy, to see what ad your audience engages with. This can, in turn, impact your approach to organic social, or even influence your entire marketing strategy and product offering! 

When used together, paid and organic social can make all the difference! 

Why they are effective when used together

  • It is important you have an active, established social presence when running paid ads – it will help build trust with your audience. It will take a while to build an active, engaged audience through organic social alone. A combination of paid and organic social will help you grow your presence at a faster rate
  • Posting organically means that typically your content is only seen by your existing followers. Running paid-for ads in conjunction will help you reach new users, while having a knock-on effect on your organic reach
  • By using paid-for to boost already engaging, high-performing organic posts, this will help to influence the algorithm and extend your reach further
  • Paid ads are a great way to find out who engages with your content and identify potential new customers, so you can then tailor your organic content to those new prospects and audiences
  • You can use paid-for and organic social to serve your audience in different ways. For instance, paid-for ads to drive leads via your website and organic social to build your brand story
  • Connecting paid and organic efforts ensures a streamlined user experience for your existing customers, while attracting new users with paid ads

Why you need a marketing agency to help you

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when managing organic and paid-for social content for businesses. From content creation, proofing and visual planning, through to reporting, monitoring and listening, it can require a lot of time and know-how maintaining a social media profile to a high standard. Not only does it require resources and time, but also spans multiple different skill-sets, departments and disciplines. The average social media manager must be well organised, have good written communication skills, an eye for design and the ability to analyse and interpret data – amongst many other things – all while staying on top of the latest trending topics, moments, news, cultural shifts, social media advancements and digital trends. There is a lot to juggle to do it well. It requires a lot of different skills, creativity and the ability to wear lots of different hats! 

The skills you need:


  • Planning and collaboration
  • Research 
  • Communication i.e. influencers
  • Copywriting
  • Image sourcing and sizing 
  • Creative asset generation (still graphics, photography and video animation)
  • Scheduling 
  • Monitoring
  • Listening
  • Engagement
  • Reporting


  • Creative asset generation (still graphics, photography and video animation)
  • Ad copywriting 
  • Ad planning – objectives / campaign
  • Testing – design and ad copy
  • Audience targeting
  • Budgeting
  • Monitoring and optimising results – daily
  • Ad set up
  • Reporting

This long list of skills underlines just why it takes a lot of time and effort to run both organic and paid social media well. That’s where an integrated agency can step in and help you with all of your social media needs (see how we can help here). From full-service social media management, to social media consultation, through to our range of creative services and in some cases PR, digital marketing, website development – they are all available for you to call upon to match your own specific requirements. 

Social media, both organic and paid, takes a lot of expertise, together with dedicated time to plan and implement so that it works effectively for your brand and provides great results. If you need assistance, ask the experts.