Social Media: Paid vs Organic

Author: Dan The Marketeer
Date: May 5, 2021

Let’s talk Social Media. In particular, which type of social media is best — paid, or organic. Organic basically means free, but organic is a better word for it as it reflects natural growth that is experienced when not doing paid ads. But more on that later! And paid of course, refers to paid ads and promoted posts.

Social media has really come into it’s own in the last decade and is showing no signs of stopping. Sure, some platforms have eventually died out, and eventually they probably all will as new social medias, or other methods of communicating, come about in the not so distant future. Facebook, which is easiest the no1 social media with well over 2 billion daily active users as reported in March 2019, has lots of life in it yet — as I covered in a previous post.

Whilst Facebook is arguably the biggest and most popular social media right now, it is one of six big players, who are:







There are lots of others which are much smaller such as Pinterest, who struggles to really keep up with the big six. Other major players in the last decade and a half include Bebo & Myspace — remember them? Both long gone now, but lead to the conception of many others we use and love today.

Social media is very unique in that whilst they do compete with each other, the average person uses several of them. This is because they all do things differently. I personally use five of the six as they each meet certain requirements I have. Youtube for example is focused more around videos, and hosts by far the most videos with by far the longest running time. Facebook is more for friends & family, whilst Linkedin is purely professional although it’s slowly encroaching on Facebooks party.

This makes it more difficult to compare and analyse in terms of which is the best. Compared to say, comparing internet browsers — people tend to have the one main one they use such as Chrome, Bing, Firefox or Safari. Not forgetting Explorer, or what is now known as Edge which, let’s be honest, is mainly used to download one of the others!

Stay tuned for a future post where I cover the big six social medias and compare what they each do, who they appeal to etc.

Without further ado, let’s dig in to paid vs organic social media, and see which comes out on top.

Paid — Pros

  • The first pro of paid social media is it allows you to get your business, your message, your services and your story out to people much, much quicker. Providing you’re able to fund it, you’re able to build a strong following in a matter of weeks.
  • The platforms for all paid social media allows you to precisely target the perfect audience for your ads. It’s not just a case of clicking a button to start promoting to the world. You’re able to achieve amazing results with precise targeting.
  • Alongside paid social media being fast, you’re able to use that to get fast results too. If you want to know how well your new offer will be received, how well your new page appeals to your audience etc — you can run ads to it for a week to get that feedback. Then you’re able to act on it with no delay.
  • Alongside being able to control who your target your ads to, you control everything. That means you can scale your ad spend and get more results fast, or do the opposite depending on what you need. It’s as easy as turning the tap on more. It also means you know more or less what you’ll get in return, and nothing is left to chance. You’re in control!
  • Last but not least, paid social media doesn’t need to be that expensive. It’s possible to use as little as $5/£5 a day and in a month you’ll have a strong following and good results. Stay tuned later in the week when I’m going to cover a proven strategy where you literally just spend $5/£5 a day for 30 days.

Paid — Cons

  • Onto the cons, there is one big one: You have to pay! This is what puts many entrepreneurs and businesses off from doing paid social media, and it is understandable — although the pros absolutely outweight this negative.
  • In addition, it’s possible to spend a lot of money, in little time, for next to no results. This is only possible if you don’t know what you’re doing, or you just have ads that haven’t been tested and optimised yet. Recently I heard of a small company near to where I’m based that accidentally spent over £2,000 on Facebook Ads for 0 results because they accidentally set the spend high and didn’t monitor for a few days.

Organic — Pros

  • Onto organic, there is one major pro: It’s free! There is no charge, only the time taken to create and schedule content and posts, as well as making effort to build an audience, make connections, share and interact with people.

Organic — Cons

  • On to the cons of organic, firstly you have the speed. Simply put, it’s slow. This can be sped up the more exposure you get, and the more your brand becomes known. But even then, it’s slow in comparison to paid social media.
  • As well as being down right slow, it’s also uncontrollable. The whole thing relies on people coming across your content, or searching you out. This means results will fluctuate day to day and you’ll see serious peaks and troughs. Again though, the peaks will get higher as you slowly build up.
  • Plus, you can’t really target who sees your content. This means people who might not be interested in what you offer, or wouldn’t go as far as buying from you, may come across your stuff and visa versa. It’s better to have 5 interested, targeted people come across you from paid ads than 50 who have come across you organically.

To conclude, both paid and organic social media meets different needs. Paid allows us to leverage money to increase exposure, get our brand out there, run ads to landing pages, capture data and make sales either instantly or in the near future — all in a fast and controlled way.

Organic does that, but in a much slower, natural way. A combination of both is essential for businesses to grow. If you don’t have much money available for paid ads, just keep pushing high value free content organically until you can.

If you have the capacity to start ads, then you need to strongly consider starting as soon as possible!


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