Organic and Paid social media — A hybrid strategy

Understatement is an underwear brand that empowers women

When thinking about social media, many options, formats and channels come to mind. In this competitive space, killing it on social media can be a success factor for an eCommerce brand.

In this article, we'll dive deep into the social media world. To bring more insights to the article, we will back it up with episode 3 of yaylive, the loyalty podcast for DTC brands. The episode welcomes Jemina Pomoell, CEO and co-founder of Astrid Wild. It's a Sweden-born and based brand that creates outdoor wear for women. She will walk us through the brand's early days and how social media has been the key factor for its growth.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing includes all actions of using social networks to promote something. It's one of the primary marketing tools for brands as it comes to play in many parts of the customer journey. It's a great place to build an audience, engage with customers and find new ones. For Astrid Wild, social media has been the key for the brand success and growth.

“Social media has been the key in building our brand and how we keep building it. We ask everything from our followers and our customers. And that, of course, enables us to engage with our customers.”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

There are two ways to do social media marketing: organic and paid social media activities. We will discuss the differences and the main aspects of both down below.

What is organic social media?

It represents all social media content which does not involve paid promotion. For example, posting engaging content on social media, like videos, pictures and stories. The content that appears to users depends on the algorithm and who they follow.

What counts as paid social media?

Opposite to organic social media, it includes any activity on social media that implies financial compensation. It can be sponsored content, influencer marketing or creator partnerships. Sponsored content is advertising that naturally integrates with a platform rather than intrusive. Although the most common platforms are LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook (Meta), Pinterest and TikTok are fastly catching up, and so is Snapchat, although a little slower and not globally. Choosing the platforms to advertise on is fundamental, as you must select one in line with your target customers.

“It’s very hard to say that this [Instagram] is the channel to be in, but everything is worth a try. Facebook and Instagram have been excellent channels for us. Hopefully, we find another strong channel there [TikTok].”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

A strategy that combines both

Both paid and organic social media activities are essential for brands. In the beginning, connecting with people to build a community is needed, and organic social media is the right medium. Afterwards, growth is achieved by finding more potential consumers, primarily via paid social media. In this case, retargeting campaigns and lookalike audiences play a big part.

We started working with paid social media when we had been live for about six months. We first focused on building the brand and organic awareness before we started paid [social media], and then we increased it gradually. It [paid social] is the growth driver, specifically on Facebook and Instagram; organic social media is super, super important in the retargeting or retention.”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

As you can see, organic and paid social media marketing are the two sides of the same coin. Let’s now see the benefits and challenges of social media and how brands can navigate them.

The benefits of organic social media

As mentioned before, we will detail the specificities of social network marketing, starting with organic social media actions.

Allows brands to engage directly with customers

Brands use social media to engage with their customers and potential customers. The authenticity of the content is perceived, and a base of followers and regular customers is created. Brands can use social media to create surveys and engaging content regarding their products and future collections so that their customers and followers feel part of the production process. With these actions, brands can build a healthy relationship with their following and get their insights and preference regarding products.

We get so much input from our customers and our followers, which ensures that we can do the right things, launch products that our customers want to see and hopefully love.”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

Build customer loyalty

Interacting with followers and customers on social media boosts customer loyalty as customers know they are being listened to. Astrid Wild is constantly in touch with their customers through social media. This allows them to build healthy relationships with their followers. These grow to love the brand and become part of its story rather than be a customer that buys.

At the end of the day, buying something is a transaction between the buyer and the seller. It’s on your power [brand] to make of this transaction an experience that the customers remember. When a brand constantly communicates with its followers and customers on social media, the buying experience is different. The goal is to have customers choose your brand because it aligns with their values, they connect to the story and feel supported by the brand. When these factors align, the brand dimension comes into play and elevates the transaction to build a long-term relationship.

Organic social media is “free”

Apart from the time and professional investment, there is no promotion cost. Content creation can be handled by someone in-house or an external professional (freelancer) that specialises in the content you’re willing to produce and has experience in the field. Astrid Wild, for example, chose the freelance path when they started out in 2019 and the same person that kicked off the brand’s content production is still with them now.

We have a person working on content creation who has been with us since 2019. She’s a freelancer but very part of our team.”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

Challenges of organic social media marketing

Organic social media is no unicorn; while many great benefits start to show after hard work, some challenges and limitations come with it.

Limitations on audience reach

With so many people on social media, you can’t target a specific audience or target group, and reach is limited. Social media is an overpopulated space, and it’s easy for your content to get lost between thousands of posts.


It should be mentioned that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the perfectionism of social media that we forget about “less is more, " which Jemina mentions on the podcast.

“It’s not necessarily that you have to use hours and hours for one post, often authentic content work. Creation takes time, and it’s not easy, but you shouldn’t be a perfectionist.”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

Constantly changing algorithms.

The main challenge of organic social media is the algorithms. They are different for every platform, meaning that what might work for TikTok won’t for Instagram and vice versa. Algorithms are based on what you interact with (either positively or not), the time you spend on a certain profile and the type of content. With all those parameters, a relevancy score is determined. It’s on continuous change, which is a struggle for all social media marketers out there.

The benefits of paid social media

Here are the main benefits of paid social media advertising if you want to increase reach and target audiences or re-target consumers.

Increase reach and target audiences more effectively

Paid advertising is ensured to appear to your target audience as it’s not linked to the algorithm. Regardless of other content, this provides you with a clear slot to increase your exposure, website clicks and, hopefully, sales.

Establish your priorities

With paid social, you can have a precise purpose, such as increasing brand awareness, gaining followers, or selling a product. Depending on your goal, your ad, copy, CTA and target audience might vary.

Create custom audiences to retarget consumers

Paid social ads can enable you to re-engage your customer base or followers to announce your latest products or create hype around a campaign, product or season of the year. This will allow you to keep these users near your community and gradually make them become a part of it.

“To find new customers, absolutely paid social media stuff is the driver.”
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

The downsides of paid social media

Paid social marketing allows companies to expand their brand by finding new customers, increasing brand awareness, and re-marketing to existing clients. However, it isn’t as easy as it seems. With its potential, most brands follow the same strategy regarding paid social media, increasing ad price value. There are ways to work around it, though.  Let’s dig in a little deeper.

It’s highly competitive

It’s a popular way of marketing activities, which means you can expect big competition for ad space on social media platforms. Remember, other brands share your goals, and paid social media content is a common way to reach them.

It’s expensive

Most social media ads are sold in a bidding system where you specify a maximum offer for a goal (like a click) or a daily budget. Based on your campaign objective, you will most likely pay for views, clicks or the first 1000 impressions. Aside from what the competing brands offer, other elements influence the amount you’ll pay for a social media ad, like geographical target, specific time frame and placement.

Choosing the right platform is not easy

One might think that the right place to advertise is currently a battle between Instagram and TikTok. That’s where you’re wrong! While it might be the case for many brands, others might find Pinterest to work better for them, as so can Facebook for others. Many factors come to play when it comes to choosing where to advertise. The most important one is understanding your target audience, but other factors like CPC, competition and ad format play an important part. You can be on every platform, but you must be ready for that.

"I’d say don’t follow the typical rules, like keeping your ad copy a maximum of 100 characters. Our best ads have long ad copy. You have to be creative and think outside the box. It's really important to test things out and see what works. Some channels work for some brands, and other channels work for other brands. Everything is worth a try."
Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild

The importance of using both paid and organic social media

Paid and organic social media need to work in parallel to ensure your social media strategy skyrockets. While organic social media creates customer engagement and helps build a community, paid activities will help expand that community and bring more people to acknowledge your brand and potentially become customers.

Once again, Jemina’s experience speaks for itself: “We started working with paid social media when we had been live for about six months, so we focused on building the brand and organic awareness first before we started paid social media and then we increased it gradually.”

If you wish to get inspired by Astrid Wild’s social media strategy, you can listen to the full episode with Jemina Pomoell, CEO and Co-founder of Astrid Wild, on your preferred Podcast platform. Time to go get your social media strategy rolling!

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