Organic Versus Paid Social Marketing: What’s the difference?

Some of you might be reading the title of this post thinking to yourself: Am I supposed to already know the difference between organic versus paid social marketing? The answer is maybe, but if you don’t, you’ll have a grasp on the topic in two short minutes.

You know when you’re scrolling on Instagram, or Facebook, or TikTok, and you come across a post on your feed with a little “Promoted” tag in the corner? That’s paid social marketing, and it’s what companies spend their precious money on for various different reasons (but we’ll get to those reasons later).

Organic Versus Paid Social Marketing: What’s the difference?

According to a blog on Hootsuite, organic social marketing refers to the “free content (posts, photos, videos, memes, Stories etc.) that all users, including businesses and brands, share with each other on their feeds.” Therefore, the picture that your favorite brand posts on their Instagram, or the blog that they post on their Facebook, or the viral video they post on their TikTok is organic because they aren’t spending any money on getting it on your screen.

On the other hand, Hubspot defines paid social marketing as “a method of displaying advertisements or sponsored marketing messages on popular social media platforms, and targeting a specific sub-audience.” In other words, paid social marketing is simply advertising on social media rather than just posting a picture on your Instagram for the people that already follow you to see.

Organic versus paid social marketing.

Organic Versus Paid Social Marketing: When to use each one

The quick and dirty guide to organically posting content on social media versus paying to post content on social media is as follows: post organically when you want your current followers to see and hear what you have to say, and post for a price when you want to attract new followers to your profile. Posting regularly on social media is all about keeping your current followers engaged with your brand and your content. Conversely, paying for an in-feed advertisement on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and the like is all about getting in front of fresh eyes and potential new customers.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of organic versus paid social marketing, come back next week to learn more about how much money you should be spending on paid social marketing and what kind of content performs best in organic versus paid social marketing.