Organic vs. paid social media: What’s best for your brand?

Jan 18, 2024
January 18, 2024
Ruby Adams

While developing a content strategy, brands often feel that they face a tough decision: organic vs paid social. Choosing between organic & paid social media ultimately depends on your goals & your budget, but the special recipe is combining the two. We’re here to break it down & help you determine how different social media approaches can support your marketing goals.

Let's start with the basics 👇

What’s the difference between organic & paid social media?

What is organic social media?

Organic social media is a broad umbrella term that can be boiled down to one essential factor: an absence of paid spend directly on your social channels. 

Reach & engagement will be driven by your followers & the algorithms, meaning your performance is at the mercy of the quality of your content & your understanding of different social media platforms.

Whether you’re sharing a photo of fine dining on your personal Instagram or engaging with other brands on X (formerly Twitter) on the company account, if there’s no paid push behind the post, it’s considered organic content. 

What is paid social media?

Paid social media refers to running sponsored ads across social platforms targeted at users of pre-determined demographics & interests. 

Platforms utilise the data & habits of individuals to serve sponsored content to as relevant an audience as possible within the preset boundaries of your ad, which exposes you to larger audiences &/or boosts performance across specific content pieces. 

Paid social media content may be published organically on a brand’s timeline & then “boosted” with paid support to drive increased performance or reach. Alternatively, content may be posted as a “dark ad”, meaning it is never published on your page’s feed but still shows as a traditional post to targeted users of similar interests within their social feeds.  

So, which is better for your brand, organic vs paid?

In short – both.

If you’re reading this, you likely have some predisposition one way or another based on past experiences or conversations, but try to take a step back & look at things another way… 

Organic social media builds awareness of your brand & fosters community. Paid social media is an amplification tool which exposes you to new audiences en masse & will drive conversions from primed users. Organic social media is you in a crowded hall, delivering a speech that builds awareness of your brand. You foster community with those who have listened before & draw the attention of some bypassers who stumble across you. Paid social media is the platform on which you may speak to the room, the mic to amplify your voice, the posters hung throughout the room. It’s a platform to capture new listeners & expose people to your offerings. 

One is always complimented by the other, & BOTH depend on the quality of your content! Of course, every scenario is different & your budget may not stretch to cover an always-on strategy for both organic & paid social media. In this case, strategic thinking is key to utilising both effectively to maximise your social presence.

🥰 Looking for a deeply engaged audience?

Go organic!! Having great organic socials is essential for building a strong & sustainable online presence that will build advocates for your brand & retain followers. Killer content that resonates with your audience will grab attention in the feed, & meaningful interactions with the community will create genuine connections. 

🎯 Targeting specific demographics for quick brand visibility?

Cough up!! If you’re running a campaign at a moment's notice or trying to reach a new audience base as quickly as possible, paid social media is the way. You can target ads to specific demographics, interests, behaviours, & locations, all against a sliding budget scale to give you pretty clear & accurate ROI. Some platforms also give the options to target people at different stages of the sales funnel. For example, on TikTok you can target users who are already in the consideration phase of your game or product.

🧠 Limited resources, but you’re in it for the long haul?

C..c..c...combo!! Splitting resources to account for a consistent stream of organic content alongside occasional paid amplification will keep your audience satisfied day-to-day while still allowing you to maximise performance on reactive opportunities or bigger-beat campaigns. 

Studies show that it takes an average of 7 touch points between brand & consumer before someone considers making a purchase, so a combination strategy is a great way to prime your audience frequently ahead of launches & sales to make your ads more effective.  

How can you integrate both paid & organic social media into your brand strategy?

You talk to us! At Disobey, we’re staffed by real creators with industry-leading knowledge of social media & years of experience working across different platforms. 

We’re here to support your brand mission, to think about your marketing goals & choose the right tactics at the right times to help you achieve them. Remember, social media -& subsequently your strategy - will evolve over time, & we pride ourselves on keeping you ahead of the curve.

Want to chat about how social media strategy for your brand? Hit us up at!

Disobey is a games marketing agency specialising in game launches, social media strategy & influencer campaigns within the gaming industry! We pride ourselves on our personal approach & good connections within the gaming influencer world. We love to help indies with community growth, game launches & understand how to strategise on a budget.