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Paid vs. Organic?

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

When it comes to digital marketing, you may have heard the terms ‘paid’ and ‘organic’ being tossed around. What do these mean, what is the difference, and what should you use?

Paid social media can be an intimidating arena to wade into, so let's talk about some of the basics first. A post to any of the social channels that you create or curate without any paid promotion is considered organic, and it does have its benefits. First and foremost, it's free. If you create engaging and memorable content for your brand, your audience and followers will grow over time.

You can use organic content to manage your reputation and customer relationships. When you reply to your following directly, you will boost audience loyalty. With organic content, a good rule to follow is the rule of thirds. One-third of your content should be completely original, created by you, and reflect the voice and values of your brand. One-third should be curated content, content created elsewhere that you share, such as news articles and posts from other sources. Curated content should also adhere to your values and be closely related to your brand. Don’t post your sister’s dog video, even if is hilarious, if it has nothing to do with your brand. The final third of your social channels should be devoted to a conversation with your audience. Start conversations, take surveys, get to know your followers better. Organic content will only show up in the feeds of people that follow you or your brand. If your followers engage and share your content, it is then shown to more people. Another thing to keep in mind for organic content is to minimize promotions. Save the sales speak for ads and focus on maximizing your brand’s personality. Tell stories, educate, and inspire. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a promo every once and a while but frame it as a loyalty reward to help followers feel connected.

Paid social content refers to anything that is influenced by advertising dollars. CPC, or Cost per Click, is one of the most common methods of charging for this promotion. Clicks will take customers or potential customers further through your sales funnel and bring them to your website or a landing page. Paid content will show up in the feeds of whatever audience you choose to target. You can target audiences based on demographics, location, interests and more. The targeting is what makes social ads so effective and valuable. The right message paired with the right targeting can drive incredible results. Paid content should include a strong CTA or “call to action”. Encourage people to buy now or call now with limited time offers to add urgency. Since paid content will be shown to those who have considerably less awareness of your brand, if any, than your followers, be sure to keep it short.

Before getting started with any campaign, it’s important to define your goals. Are you trying to reach new customers or existing customers? Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Are you trying to grow your audience? Generate leads or sales? Each one of these goals will have adjustments to the development of any campaign or posting you wish to execute. Paid more so than organic, both content types will develop better with more measuring and monitoring.

A thorough marketing approach with social media shouldn’t mean one or the other. Combining the power of both will round out a successful effort. Unfortunately, making an impact exclusively with organic content becomes closer to impossible every day, but beginning with paid advertising doesn’t have to break the bank. Once you begin paid posting and boosting, organic content is crucial to ongoing success.

Social media levels the playing field when it comes to smaller businesses vs. large, established corporations. Consumers are becoming more invested in the brands they choose, with higher demand for transparency, shared values, and personal connections. Get in the game. To get your free social media statistics sheet to help shape your strategy, visit Wise Roots. Or call, we love talking shop, and we love to help!


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