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Paid or Organic Social Media: Choosing the Right Tactic for Your Company

Your customers are on social media but how do you reach them?

By sharing posts and videos on your company's free social media account?

Or by running Ads?

The right choice depends on several factors - your budget, goals, time constraints, etc. - and should not be carelessly made.

However, we see many businesses struggle with the decision-making process. In this blog, we'll help you avoid this problem so that you can achieve your business goals on social media with the least effort.





Free, non-paid

Attract, engage, and convert strangers to happy, loyal customers.

Creates brand or product awareness and convert prospects to leads and customers.


Posting text, video, audio, or image updates.

Creating and managing groups and communities.

Conducting online events and workshops.

Building relationships with influencers through non-paid means.

Paying for your content to show on people's feeds and in their inboxes, targeting people who share a common interest or have visited your website.


Low barriers to entry - on many platforms, you can set up a company page and start sharing updates within a day.

A higher learning curve - you may want to hire a specialist to manage your paid social campaigns.


Organic is free - you don't pay to use the social media platform. However, you may need to hire a skilled marketer or an agency or use paid software to get the best from your organic efforts.

As the name explains, paid social media is a "paid-for" tactic. How much does it cost? That will depend (as is always the case in marketing) on your industry, your goals, and the audience you're trying to reach.


Limited Reach

You can improve your organic reach by getting featured on influential social media accounts, using hashtags and getting on the explore page

Increased reach

People who are not your followers or in your social network. You can quickly get up to thousands of views on your content.


Slower results

Faster results


Authentic engagement with prospects, leads, and customers - making organic a great way to build brand loyalty and trust.

There are fewer opportunities to engage and interact with your audience.

Social media users regard sponsored content as less authentic than organic content.


Limited metrics - usually to the number of likes, followers, comments, and some details on your audience's behavior.

Robust metrics - track and understand your audience's behavior, enabling you to optimize paid campaigns and improve your results.


You may need to hire a marketing professional or an agency with creative chops, in-depth knowledge of social media, and community management skills to maximize your efforts. Social media managers typically specialize in the organic side of social media - and can bring platform-specific insights to your marketing.

You may hire a paid media specialist or agency with a generalist focus (all major social media platforms) or niche (Facebook Advertising or LinkedIn Advertising).

When Should I Use Organic Social Media?

Organic tactics are most effective when used by businesses to build a relationship with customers or to improve brand image. That's because social media is primarily a platform for people to find friends, build new relationships, and share ideas on hot new topics. Using free tactics means that social media users will only be served your content if it is engaging and will only interact with you if your account interacts with other followers - not when all you do is write a dull sales pitch.

What are the best goals for organic social media?

1. When you want to increase customer retention and loyalty:

You can do this by replying to customer comments on Instagram, addressing questions on Facebook, and celebrating customer achievements on LinkedIn. Social media helps you to show customers that you care about them - and will always put them first.

2. When you want to engage with prospects, leads, and customers to increase sales conversion and retention rates:

You can do this in several ways - by commenting (through your company profile) in forums and comment sections, managing special groups for prospects and customers, or posting thought-provoking content on trendy issues.

3. When you want to boost awareness:

It's true. The reach of organic content is declining. But it's not dead yet. Social media can still generate awareness for your product, especially through new content forms like shorts and reels, and tactics like using hashtags.

4. When you have a limited budget:

A limited budget means you will work harder, but this will pay off if you're consistent, creative, helpful, and authentic. Focus on creating and repurposing impactful content (where possible, use humor or appeal to emotions), leveraging offline relationships, and learning from your competition. Once the social media algorithm learns you are a great resource, it will serve your content to a larger audience.

When Should I Use Paid Social Media?

Paid social campaigns are great for launching a new product, increasing sales, and growing your return on investment (ROI). When you run social media advertising, you get access to tools for reaching your target audience anywhere on that platform - for example, in their Facebook post feeds, YouTube short feeds, or the inbox of LinkedIn members - within a short time.

Image of an Ad on YouTube

If the ad is persuasive and relevant to your audience, they will take the desired action - meaning they might click on a link, visit a product page, or submit their contact information. In comparison, organic social campaign results are usually slower and may never have the same impact.

At Harvest Growth, we have managed direct response campaigns for products totaling over $2 billion in revenue and helped catapult some brands into household names using paid social media. One of our clients, Boogie Board, recently enjoyed a 93% increase in website sales - beating their forecast by 119% - from paid social campaigns. And another client, Cooch Ball, started growing their ROI from the very first week - 2.13 in week one to 5.0 - using Facebook ads.

Our ad specialists have a deep understanding of what works and why. To get every bang for your buck, we advise that you start by studying your target customer, know their expected buying behavior and patterns, understand their pain points - and have a mindset for testing and optimizing your campaigns. Here's what our CEO, Jon LaClae, says about this:

"Sometimes it's not just the product but the way you talk about it. It's the messaging. It's the pricing. It's really the marketing approach that you take. The nice thing is that once you get it optimized, you can grow it and scale it very quickly, and it becomes predictable and scalable. That's really how you grow your business."

Best Case Scenario: Using Paid and Organic Social Media

To win on social media, use BOTH tactics in combination. You can benefit from the upside of each while minimizing the downsides. For example, paid social can attract new customers, while organic efforts retain and convert them into brand advocates.

Want to speak with experts on how to launch your brand using social media? Set up a free consultation with us today!


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