Beck Digital Logo

Organic Social Media, Paid Social Media, And Why You Need Both

What Is Organic Social Media?

Organic Social Media is essentially what most people think of when they hear the phrase “social media.” Any posting created on the various social media platforms – think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok – that doesn’t have a monetary investment and targeting behind it is organic. 

Yes, even all those photos your mom keeps posting of her cat.

The difference between your mom’s organic content and your company’s organic content is strategy. 

Your mom is posting. Maybe she has a strategy – but that strategy is limited to “let me tell everyone how cute my cat is.”

Your company, however, needs more of a long-game approach. Sure, you want to showcase how cute/cool/amazing your products and your people are, but there needs to be something else there. 

  • Are you trying to make people aware that you exist? 
  • Are you trying to get customers? 
  • Are you trying to increase sales by running promotions?
  • Are you trying to start an industry-wide conversation?

Whatever your end game is, your organic content requires a strategy to get you there. 

What Is Paid Social Media?

Paid social media is the part of social media that, let’s be honest, irks all of us—even those of us behind the scenes. Every ad you see on your socials is part of a paid social media campaign. Our dear friend Mark Z. isn’t sitting at Meta headquarters choosing products and companies he likes and boosting them all over the internet for funsies. 


Brands are paying for their content to be shown to their ideal customers – even if those customers do not follow their accounts! How much they pay and who those customers are vary from brand to brand. But at the end of the day, social media ads – or paid social media – is similar to the commercials we used to see on TV. (You know, back before we were DVRing and skipping commercials, and then just streaming everything and avoiding commercials and ads altogether. (And, fun fact – in our experience here at Beck, Gen Z and Gen Alpha don’t know what a “commercial” is – they call everything ads!)

However, as annoying as paid social media can be when you’re on the consumer end, it is incredibly valuable to the brands promoting their content. This is because paid social media allows companies to define their target audience and create ads specifically for them to drive different types of conversions – from form completions to actual purchases. 

This means that even people who do not follow the company’s accounts can still see their ads! (Yes, we said it again – because it’s that important.)

Paid social media also allows brands to re-target their current customers or prospective customers who have taken some action (even if it was as simple as clicking on an earlier ad) to continue showing them relevant content to help push them down their sales funnel. 

Boil It Down For Me

Paid social media is a targeted, strategic approach to delivering content directly to the ideal consumer – even if those customers do not follow their accounts, as opposed to organic social media, which – while likely strategic – is more about brand awareness than conversions and shows content only to people who already follow the brand. 

Which One Is More Important?

They’re both critical but play drastically different roles within a marketing strategy.

Paid social media/ads drive sign-ups and conversions more effectively than organic social media. But running paid ads without having organic content on your platforms does your brand a disservice.

Organic social media allows prospective customers to do their due diligence and learn about your business and products. It also allows you to continue sharing your messaging with current and past customers so you remain top of mind. AND… it allows you to share important messaging and information regularly without having to put big bucks behind it every time.

Creating great organic content also means that people who already know and love you may share your content with their audience, which expands your reach without requiring additional monetary investment. (That’s where a stellar organic strategy comes in – you need to make sure you’re creating content that your audience will love and that they’ll share!)

Do I Need To Do Both?

Okay. We realize the title of this blog is “… and why you need both.” However, you don’t need both – but having both allows you to develop and deploy a much more robust marketing strategy. 

You’ll be able to create brand awareness and provide frequent product news and updates with organic content while targeting your ideal customer (who may or may not be following your organic content) and guiding them through your sales funnel with paid ads.

However, if you’re only going to lean into one and not the other – let it be organic. As we said before, organic is where consumers will do their due diligence. If you invest in running ads but have an empty profile – or one you haven’t updated in a couple of years – your potential customers will become confused (Is this company still in business? (Is this company still in business? Is this the company I’m looking for – maybe I clicked the wrong link? What exactly do they do? Is this a scam?). 
You can have a strong organic presence without investing in ads, and you can create a great ad campaign without posting a ton of organic content, but you definitely need to have something current – even if it’s only one or two posts per week – there.

leadership at BECK Digital office

About Beck Digital

Over the last 20 years, Beck Digital has crafted more than 3,000 custom digital solutions for leading Fortune 100 and 500 companies across multiple industries, including healthcare, nonprofit, technology, luxury real estate, and financial industries. Our recommendations stem from our profound expertise and experience across multiple channels in numerous industries. We work seamlessly within your team to ensure the solutions we develop speak to the essence of your brand and drive customer engagement every step of the way.