Organic vs. paid social media content

In today’s marketing world, it can be difficult to decide the content on which you should focus your efforts. The type of content – organic or paid – you use will depend on a number of factors (budget, scope, audience, etc.) However, understanding how organic and paid content function and what the benefits are of each can help you find the balance that is right for your business.
Organic social media content

What is it?

Organic social media content is any content that uses the free features of social media platforms. Each social media platform offers a variety of different tools and tricks through which you can post your content.

Some examples of organic social media content are:

  • Tagging your products in your Instagram posts using the product tag feature
  • Using a Snapchat story to feature your products/services or business updates
  • Writing a blog post for your website that includes links to other industry-related articles

The benefit.

The biggest benefit of organic social media content is the cost-factor. Organic content uses the free features and tools of a social media platform, so you are able to direct content about your business to your followers without having to break the bank. For specific tips on how to create organic content that will increase your reach, check out Shopify’s blog post on 11 Organic Social Media Marketing Tactics to Increase Your Reach Online.

The downfall.

Depending on what your following is on social media, it may be difficult for your organic content to be seen by your followers. Especially now that platforms have refined their algorithms, it can be increasingly difficult for your organic content to reach your audience. Facebook has had the biggest change recently in the way their algorithm works. To read more about the new Facebook algorithm, check out Hootsuite’s post How the Facebook Algorithm Works and How to Make it Work for You.

Paid social media content

What is it?

Paid social media content is content you pay to have displayed to a network of social media users. In order to obtain paid social media content, you must first create the content and establish your target demographic. Then you pay a fee to the social media platform you are using. Prices for paid content vary depending on the type of sponsorship you choose and what your demographic is.

Some examples of paid social media content are:

  • Promoting a Facebook post that highlights a featured product/service from your business
  • Creating a Snapchat filter for a certain geofenced area that relates to your business
  • Running a sponsored ad on LinkedIn that focuses on your business’s offerings

The benefit.

With paid content, you can reach a broader audience. Your content can extend to people interested in your business who already follow you but don’t frequently see your posts and also to people who are interested in your content who don’t follow you. With paid content, you have the power to determine how large or small of a demographic you are targeting and what niche targets, if any, you may want to also include.

The downfall.

Paid content costs money. You might be thinking, “Well, that is a no-brainer!” But using paid content and using it well requires more effort than just adding money to a social media post. You need to budget an allotted amount to reach a network of people and create copy and imagery that fits with what your audience wants. Not being well-versed in your business’s demographics or how paid content works might make it difficult to establish an appropriate budget and get a good ROI.

Should you use both?

Yes! The content you use on social media can come in many different forms. The methods of getting your posts through to your followers can change regularly with updated algorithms and new tools for extending content to networks. Using both organic and paid social media content is imperative to helping you reach your appropriate audience. Finding the balance between organic and paid content that works for your business will make your social media content more effective.

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