Organic posts vs paid posts on social media

Facebook and Instagram are often considered essential marketing tools for businesses of all sizes, but many SMEs have found it increasingly challenging to reach their target audience through “organic” posts.

Time to read: 3 mins

Firstly, an organic post is any content you’ve written or shared on your page and not put any money behind – just a standard page post, event, photo or video. Here are some reasons why organic posts are no longer especially effective for small businesses (but still important to have):

Algorithm changes

Facebook's algorithm is constantly changing, and this makes it difficult for small businesses to get their organic posts in front of their target audience. The algorithm favours posts from friends and family over posts from businesses, (it is a “social” platform after all) and uses machine learning to adapt to each individual’s user preferences. Which means if you like to watch cat videos or monster trucks, you will see more of that content.

Unless your content is considered interesting, organic posts from SMEs are just less likely to appear than they once were.

Limited reach

Even if a small business's organic post does appear in a user's newsfeed, the post's reach is limited. According to Facebook, organic reach for business pages is only around 6.4% of their total followers and dropping. This means that if a business has 1,000 followers, only 64 will see the organic post. How many followers do you have? Do the math – it can be quite sobering at times.

Increased competition

There are over 200 million small businesses on Facebook worldwide, which means competition for organic post visibility is high. With so many businesses vying for users' attention, it's difficult to stand out and get noticed.

Paid advertising

Facebook and Instagram’s paid advertising options have become more sophisticated over the years, and businesses that are willing to invest in advertising (not boosting!) have a greater chance of reaching their target audience than those relying solely on organic posts. This means that SMEs that don't have the budget for paid advertising can be at a disadvantage.

“Boosting” as a tool is okay – but it only increases the percentage of your existing followers that see your content, rather than introducing it to a new audience. That’s great if it’s a client event or special offer for existing customers, but not helpful if you’re looking to generate new enquiry.

Declining engagement

Even when SMEs manage to get their organic posts in front of their target audience, engagement rates are declining. This is because users are inundated with content and it's becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to capture users' attention and encourage them to engage with posts.

In conclusion, while Facebook and Instagram can still be a valuable tool for SMEs, relying solely on organic posts to reach target audiences is no longer an effective acquisition marketing strategy. Organic posts have their place though. As consumers we go through a “research phase” when considering doing business with someone, and often we use social channels to get a feel for a place, look at their pictures of products or people, read a review, or even to see what they might be like as an employer.

So, while organic content has a role in your overall marketing strategy, do consider investing in paid advertising to get more out of Facebook and Instagram if you plan to keep using them as part of your marketing mix.

If you’d like some hands-on or remote help with the Meta Business Suite of tools or general marketing strategy, our Taranaki office can help. For more information, contact Sarah Ellem.

DISCLAIMER No liability is assumed by Baker Tilly Staples Rodway for any losses suffered by any person relying directly or indirectly upon any article within this website. It is recommended that you consult your advisor before acting on this information.

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