Organic VS. Paid Social Media – What Is The Difference?

What's the difference between organic vs paid social

We get a lot of people asking, what’s the difference between paid social content and organic social content and is one more effective than the other? And that’s what I’m talking about in today’s video.  

When looking at the two types of marketing strategies its better to think of them as two different tools to achieve two different outcomes.

Speaking very generally, organic content is about brand and audience building and paid content is about performance (although organic content can and does drive revenue, as can paid content build brand!).

Organic Social   

Organic social content goes onto your feeds and is shown to (some of your followers) but without any money behind it to boost its reach into more specific audiences, it will only reach who it reaches. We all know organic reach is declining over time as social platforms are growing through advertising revenue and there simply isn’t enough space on the news feeds for everyone’s content to reach all their followers – not without cash behind it anyway.

One of the most common questions I get is, can you build a scalable and profitable business from purely organic content? To some degree yes, you can develop a business and drive sales from purely organic content you produce. especially once you’ve done enough organic content to have a large following, but the difference is that you will never know for sure that if I do X (ie spend £X) then I can be pretty confident I will get Y (ie this return from this action).

All this said, large followings are important from a brand point of view which is why frequent high quality organic content should form a part of your overall digital strategy.

Paid Social   

The different with ‘paid’ content is that the content produced has both money and an objective put behind it, which allows you to push it in front of new people and with a specific goal in mind (ie to get people to watch a video or to get people to buy a product or download something). Putting content through a paid campaign gives the content a ‘performance’ acceleration in both its reach and its outcomes.

For instance, did you know there are some people who are more ‘clicky’ than others. So if you just want traffic, Facebook will show your content to those across Facebook and Instagram who have a history of clicking. If you want purchases, it will show your content to those types who have a history of buying online.

Once you know the metrics associated with adspend (ie how many people you can reach and how many take the specific action you requested) then you reach a (happy) place where you can plan ‘If I do X, then I achieve Y’. Obviously the exact numbers will always fluctuate depending on a number of things from those that are within your control (how good is your website, how compelling is your offer) to those that are beyond your control (such as noone is on social feeds as its 30 degrees in the UK and everyone is in the park). But over long periods of times, these figures should be pretty stable.

So there are different purposes and outcomes to organic and paid content. It’s not always a case of one or the other but implementing both with a different set of views as to what the outcomes of each should be.

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