The recent Facebook algorithm update throttling brands’ organic reach is merely a sign of things to come. With brands running more social ads and investing in paid monitoring tools, social media’s status as a totally “free” channel is going the way of the dinosaur.

But you absolutely need an effective organic social strategy if you even want to succeed with ads.

For the sake of maximizing your reach while keeping your budget in check, a hybrid paid and organic social media strategy provides brands the best of both worlds. Let’s have a look at the strengths of organic and paid channels, and then show you how to combine your efforts to give you the best without burning a hole in your pocket.

Why organic social media still matters

Despite the boom of ads and constant algorithm changes, organic social media isn’t going anywhere.

Conventional wisdom tells us that promos should mostly be confined to running ads. That said, there’s still tons of value in organic social media that simply can’t be bought. Consider the following staples of non-paid social for brands.

Raising brand awareness

Letting people know who you are. Showing off your personality. Educating, motivating and entertaining your audience.

These actions are what made social media enticing in the first place, all of which cost nothing but your time.

Customer service and community management

With over half of consumers already reaching out to brands on social, managing customers and communities is a key part of your organic presence. Offering an instant, free channel for people to get in touch will always be in-demand even when paid social media grows.

Customer-centric content

Social media is the perfect place to pick your followers’ brands for future content ideas. Also, it’s a prime place for curating user-generated content like customer photos to sell yourself without being sales pitchy, you see,

When does a paid social media strategy make sense?

It’s simple. Running social ads allows you to go beyond the confines of an algorithm in order to reach your target audience. Ads put your stuff front and center in peoples’ feeds and keeps you afloat in the sea of content across the internet.

Ideal paid social media strategy scenarios:

Targeting a specific demographic

Facebook and Instagram’s respective ad platforms get ultra-granular in terms of targeting. This allows you to reach relevant prospects and only relevant prospects based on their activity, location, age and so on.

Promoting a major piece of content

Have a killer piece of content such as a lead magnet that you want to attract new prospects? A paid campaign helps ensure that it doesn’t go unseen. Whether it’s a case study, webinar or any other prioritized promotion, such items are brilliant ways to encourage visits from new and former fans alike.

Raising awareness beyond organic reach

For the sake of making yourself visible or highlighting a fresh deal, ads make those offers can’t-miss.

How paid & organic social media strategy work together

Below are six key ways you can mesh your paid and organic efforts.

Determine your most popular content

If you have a particular piece of content that converts well or enters into viral territory, it might be perfect material for an ad. For example, you can quickly boost a Instagram post to quickly convert your content into a promotion in a matter of clicks.

Variables such as imagery, calls-to-action and copy all deserve your attention when it comes time to whip up a paid post. Metrics such as clicks and followers earned are both good starting points to spot top content.

Tap into perfect timing

You can use the best times to post on social media to inform when you should run your ad campaigns in addition to your own data.

Based on your numbers, you can actually use tools like Facebook’s ad scheduling optimization to your advantage. This feature allows you to maximize your ad spend for engagement, publishing when and only when you see fit.

Drill down your demographics

The more time you spend growing your organic presence before running an ad, the better.

The combination of Facebook or Instagram Insights with a third-party tool like Sprout can give you the most comprehensive view of your audience prior to a paid social media campaign.

The end result is less wasted time, money and effort when it comes time to pick your ad audience.


Retargeting via Facebook is one of the most popular and high-converting types of social promotions. These ads allow you to create a custom audience to target former customers, site visitors, people on your email list or CRM leads.

And with Facebook’s latest ad roll-out, you can specifically target people who’ve previously engaged your content on Facebook or Instagram.

Don’t be afraid to promote without ads

If you’re launching a new product or feature, your followers most certainly deserve to know. Such content is perfect for pinned tweets or posts on your profiles.

Keep your data up-to-date

The common thread between combining your paid and organic social strategies?


No matter how you slice it, social ads can get pricey. For the sake of your ROI, it’s for your benefit to have a constant pulse on your social data before, during and after your paid campaigns.

Remember: Your paid strategy should work in harmony with your brand-forward organic strategy on social.