We connect to the greater world more than ever before, largely via social media. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults use social media daily. Such widespread use further solidifies social media’s value as a powerful marketing tool set.

Marketers wanting to implement social media strategies must be familiar with the two primary types of social media presence: organic and paid. Each has its advantages and knowing when to use could make a significant difference in user engagement, response and performance.

What is organic social media?

Content that is created and posted in any social media network user’s newsfeed represents an organic social media presence. Organic posts are not boosted or sponsored (paid for) to appear on other users’ feeds; seen primarily by a user’s friends or followers, they are likely to reach only a limited number of users within the larger universe of potential customers. Generating engagement from organic posts relies on cultivating a measure of interest among users who already follow the brand.

What is paid social media?

You can use the same content as organic postings but pay to boost or sponsor those postings on social media networks. Paid postings enable marketers to reach much larger audiences of prospective followers and customers. Social media networks enable targeting to specific audiences, differentiating users by age, gender and numerous demographic and behavioral qualities.

Which should you use?

Many of the most effective strategies implement combinations of both organic and paid social media, and a growing share of marketers are investing a lot of time and money into paid social media marketing because it can be highly effective. Although paid social media can broaden exposure of a marketer’s messages, it is critically important to start with generating high-quality organic, relevant content; no amount of paid social media can turn low-quality content into effective content.

The primary opportunity with social media lies in enabling marketers to engage and connect with their target audiences. Introducing your high-quality content organically through social media can resonate with your followers, stoking and reinforcing their interest. Taking the next step and investing in distributing that content through social media can attract ever larger audiences, measurably and cost-effectively growing your business.

If you’re eager to learn more about both organic and paid social media, contact us today.