Leveraging Organic vs. Paid Social Media for Growth

Leveraging Organic vs. Paid Social Media for Growth

Cory HawthorneSEO and PPC, Social Media

Growing your social media organically is vital when establishing an online presence. It requires consistent engagement with your target audiences over time. Eventually, with patience and commitment, you’ll begin to see your social channels grow. But sometimes, your brand may need an extra “oomph” to get the ball rolling a bit faster. That “oomph” could be paid social media marketing. Together, the two methods could be a winning combination in sustaining positive growth on your brand’s social media presence. 

First, let’s talk about how they differ.

What is Organic Social Media Growth?

Organic social media is engaging audiences by using free features and tools provided by social media platforms. It also involves growing your platforms through your own efforts vs. paying to broaden your audiences. This is an ideal way to develop a deeper connection with your existing audience and those already following you on social. Your activity objectives may include:

  • Building a community.
  • Positioning your brand as an industry leader.
  • Sharing your brand values and culture.
  • Generating dialogue with customers to gain valuable feedback about how they perceive your brand.

Many brands use organic social to gain deeper insights about their audience and allow the audience to better understand their brand. Over time you can test a variety of tactics that help optimize your results; posting status updates, sending links to a blog, or sharing captioned images that showcase and establish your brand’s unique purpose and personality.

What is Paid Social Media Growth?

Paid social involves paying social media platforms to display your brand’s ads or sponsored messages. This approach is ideal for targeting an audience that is not part of your existing network. You can choose new audiences based on user profiles, demographics, location, behaviors, and more. Essentially, paid social growth involves reaching a broader audience with the help of an effective marketing and advertising campaign.

If your goal is to build brand awareness, drive traffic, or generate sales, consider creating a paid media strategy to support your efforts. 

Before you initiate a social media strategy, it is crucial to establish how organic and paid social can work together to create a cohesive, streamlined experience for the intended audience across all platforms. 

Here are 3 ways you can use organic efforts with paid tactics to maximize your overall social media growth. 


An effective ad will prompt users to check out the company’s profile (9 times out of 10). Your profile should reflect a brand worth trusting. Once pulled in, an organic strategy can help your target learn and understand exactly what your brand represents through your posted content, responses to comments, and overall consistency with posts. One thousand likes on an ad will not help if your organic efforts are spotty. Prospective followers will disengage from your brand if they see a significant disconnect from what they perceive with an ad versus what the brand delivers on their profile.

After the follow

If a user resonates with your ad and decides to follow, congratulations! You are one step closer to gaining a potential customer. To flip a follower to a fan, you must first make sure they remain a follower. How do you do that? By connecting with your audience through engaging content relevant to them and their relationship with the brand.

Additionally, if you have engaged a skeptical follower, it is an opportunity to create a personal connection by addressing their specific concerns or questions. It also humanizes your brand by creating individual responses instead of robot-like responses they might receive through email or an automated customer service helpline. 

Also, to maintain connections with followers, you can showcase advocates and supporters of your brand. Some companies have created ambassador/influencer programs that post a trusted figure’s personal experience with the brand. This ultimately can generate confidence in the brand and establish deeper trust among the targeted audience. 

Influencer Marketing

A recent study showed that many participants (87%) pick a product recommended by influencers. This research confirmed that influencer marketing significantly impacts consumer behavior and decision-making when purchasing a product. This statistic also points to why many companies are ditching traditional marketing and turning to “insta-famous” celebrities to showcase their goods and tap into their audience.

Suppose you have established a great relationship with your online community through your organic efforts. In that case, chances are you have more than a few micro-influencers who would be willing to share their content in exchange for credit or a free product/service.  

Keep in mind that if you invest big bucks on an online celebrity and get an influx of new followers, your brand should be prepared to maintain these relationships through an organic social media strategy.


For brands embarking on the world of social media marketing, the question shouldn’t be organic or paid? It should be how can the two work together for ultimate success?

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