Do You Need Organic Social or Paid Social?

by | Last updated Mar 19, 2024 | Digital Marketing

Trying to choose between an organic social media strategy or a paid social media strategy? Before deciding how to promote your brand online, it’s important to understand the differences between organic social media and paid social media, as well as how they can both work together for social media marketing campaigns. Below, we explore the pros and cons with each type and how they can be integrated.

YouTube video

What Is Organic Social Media?

Organic social media refers to content that a brand or business posts to their social media feed without the use of paid promotion. To get started with an organic social media strategy, all you have to do is set up your social profile or account and begin sharing content for your followers.


  • Organic social media marketing doesn’t cost money.
  • It’s a more authentic way to engage with online audiences.
  • You can create accounts on almost every social media platform.


  • You may struggle to get good visibility on social platforms.
  • Posts get less overall engagement (i.e., likes, shares, comments).
  • It takes more time and effort to build a social media following organically.

What Is Paid Social Media?

Paid social media refers to sponsored or promoted content that a brand or business runs through a social media platform. Paid posts and ads on social media obviously cost money and must be set up through the platform’s advertising management system—for example, Ads Manager for Facebook and Instagram.


  • It’s a cost-effective digital advertising option.
  • There’s a wide range of demographics for targeting.
  • You can boost posts to see better overall engagement.


  • Paid social media marketing does require budget.
  • Not every social media platform has good advertising options.
  • Ad content isn’t as easy to create and share as organic content.

How to Integrate Organic & Paid Social Media Strategies

While organic social content and paid social campaigns are useful on their own, they work better together. Combining an organic social approach with paid advertising can help your brand gain more followers, see more engagement, reach larger audiences, and even support other digital marketing strategies.

Strategically Boost Top-Performing Content

Have social media content that’s performing well organically? If you have some ad spend available, you could always give it an extra bump in visibility by promoting it as a paid ad or sponsored content. Since the post is already successful with your current followers, promoting it can only further your reach and drive more engagement. It may even help you attract new followers to your social media profile.

Use Paid Social to Work Around Algorithm Issues

Social media algorithms are constantly changing, which means businesses have to stay on top of these changes and make frequent adjustments to organic social media strategies to remain competitive. If your organic content isn’t performing as well as it once did because of an algorithm change, you might consider putting some spend behind your posts to stay visible and keep engagement up.

Discover Ad Opportunities with Organic Content Tests

Instead of spending money to run A/B testing with your paid social media campaigns, try running tests with your organic content first. Post different types of content that align with what you’re hoping to advertise and see how your audience reacts. When you figure out which social media content resonates best with your target audience, then you can start building a paid campaign around it.

Gain Valuable Insights with Potential Audiences

While you may already have a target audience, there could be undiscovered groups you could be reaching. with your social media content. Through organic tactics like social listening and paid tactics like lookalike targeting, you can gain insights into what audiences or interests align with what you offer. This can even be beneficial for digital marketing strategies outside of your social media platforms.

Need help creating a social media strategy? Hurrdat Marketing offers social media marketing services that can help you build a stronger following and reach your target audience. Contact us today to learn more!

Stefanie Vanderbeek


Stefanie is a Content Strategist at Hurrdat. She is the primary author on the Local Search Fuel blog. She specializes in long-form digital content, website SEO, and competitive keyword research for small and local businesses. To better optimize blog content for search engine ranking, she uses a variety of AI tools.

Stefanie lives in Omaha, NE, and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Journalism in Advertising and Public Relations in 2021. In her free time, Stefanie can be found singing with her professional vocal jazz group, researching video game lore, watching anime, or traveling.

You May Also Like…