If you use social media for your business, then you’re probably familiar with the option to “boost” your posts. If you’re new to paying for social media promotions, we’ll share the ins and outs of organic versus paid social below.

Before we get into the details of organic and paid social media, be aware that utilizing both approaches are probably going to get you the best results. But with a little bit of research, you can work smarter, not harder to help your business grow.

What is Organic Social Media?

What does it mean to post organically on social media? Simple! You open up the app, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… and you create a post. Once you publish, you leave it alone and wait to see how it performs. Any engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc…) you get is organic; you haven’t done anything other than hit that ‘create post’ button.

Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Organic social media gives your followers an opportunity to get to know you and your brand. You can use organic posts to show what you care about, and who is behind your brand. This content is a way to create authentic interactions with your followers. There doesn’t need to be a CTA in an organic post because it isn’t focused on sales. An organic post isn’t focused on Utah search engine optimization because it isn’t intended to convert to sales.

Who Sees My Organic Posts?

If you’re wondering who sees your organic posts on social media, well…it varies. 

We’re all subject to the algorithms of social media platforms, which means your organic posts will be seen by only a percentage of your followers. If you use hashtags on your post, it can help your content be found by people who may not follow you, but who follow the hashtags that appeal to them. Additionally, your posts may be seen by your followers’ friends if they share your content. In a nutshell, your organic reach may be unpredictable, but you can count on it being seen by:

  • Some of your followers
  • Your followers’ followers (if the content is shared)
  • Hashtag followers

With so many users on social media, it is getting more difficult to organically grow a brand. But that doesn’t mean free content isn’t helpful; users love to build connections with a brand, and that is usually done with the behind-the-scenes posts that aren’t sales related.

What is Paid Social Media?

There are a couple of ways to use paid social media, but what is it all about? One approach is to create a post and publish it, allowing it to perform organically. If it happens to do well on a particular social media platform, you might benefit from doing a “boost” on the post. Paying for a boost can help a post that’s already doing well continue to grow its reach.

Another option is to create content as a targeted ad on social media. This means that from the get-go, you can determine who will see the post, and what the specific call-to-action is. 

How Do I Create Targeted Ads?

Let’s say you’re using your brand’s Facebook account and you want to create a targeted ad. Once you have the copy and image(s) prepared, you can dial into the specific demographic you want to reach with your post.

Facebook allows you to specify your paid post’s intention based on a variety of factors:

  • Your marketing goal
  • Location of potential customers
  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Education
  • Finances
  • Relationship status
  • Work
  • Interests
  • The device used (desktop computer, android, IOS)

How to Choose Your Demographic

If you’re overwhelmed trying to fill out all the demographic categories, don’t worry! Do a little bit of research to help you narrow down your selections. If you’re creating the targeted ad on Facebook, all the information you need is on your brand’s business page. It can break down who your audience is so you’ll know who to target with your ad. 

If you have a brick and mortar store, you probably use local SEO to target your community. You want to draw in customers who have access to your store to shop in person. If you use eCommerce, your SEO practices have a broader reach. Targeted ads work similarly; if you need to draw customers into a physical store, your demographic selections will look different than if you are attracting customers worldwide.

Once you have selected the demographic specifications for your paid social media post, you can let Facebook do the work of placing your ad where it will most likely perform its best. Or, you can customize the placement of your ad. Options for targeted Facebook ad placement can include the following:

  • Newsfeed
  • Stories
  • In videos
  • Messenger
  • In articles

And just like with a boost, you can use an existing post as a targeted Facebook ad. There are a lot of options when it comes to your budget, so you should be able to create the perfect paid social media post for your brand, whether big or small.