Why organic social media is so important for ad success

People often ask me whether they need to be active on social media before they can run ads. And the quick answer to that is YES, YES, YES!

But if you’re not sure what that means – or why it matters – let me explain.

The content you post on your personal and business social media accounts is known as ‘organic content’ and ads are known as ‘paid media.’

And, in a nutshell, having an active organic presence will help your ads return a bigger bang for your buck.

What is organic social media?

Organic social media refers to the free content that social media users and businesses share on their platforms.

Organic social includes photos, videos, memes, lives, stories, Reels, Tweets, posts and pins.

As a brand, when you post organically, you can expect the following people will see it:

  • A percentage of your followers (a.k.a. your ‘organic reach’)
  • Your followers’ followers (if people choose to share your post)
  • People following any hashtags you use

Back in the early days of social media, many brands relied solely on organic reach and got great results. These days it’s not quite so simple.

You see, the platform algorithms became smarter at prioritising friends and family content, making it harder and harder for small businesses to compete. 

That’s why having a combined organic and paid social media strategy is now so important.

The pros and cons of organic social

Organic social reach has been declining for years and, although free in monetary terms, there is a cost from a time perspective.  

It can take years of consistent posting and engaging with your audience to grow and attract more engaged followers. 

But social advertising helps you to target and connect with your ideal audience more quickly.

Why organic social media is so important for ad success

If you’re planning on running ads, organic social media will play an important part in the success of your campaigns. Here’s how:


When people who’ve never heard of your business are shown your ad, it’s likely they’ll click through to your social media profile before visiting your website (it is an ad on social media after all). 

If they go through to an empty profile, your business will look spammy and untrustworthy. But that’s not all.

Facebook values user experience and won’t look favourably on an empty or low-quality page. As a result, your ads might not perform as well as they could.


Your organic accounts are a great place to test ideas and get feedback from your most loyal fans about new products or services.

This is useful because you need to be confident the thing you’re selling is viable before you promote it. Ads will only sell what people want. If a product is rubbish, Facebook ads won’t help you.

You can use your organic content to test creative concepts too. Do your followers prefer image or video content? Do they respond well to certain offers or promotions? 

This valuable insight will help you to structure your ads and save you money.


Facebook ads offer incredible targeting options including people who have engaged with your page.

You can, for example, target people who’ve viewed your videos and people who’ve engaged with your account either by visiting your profile, liking or commenting on your ads or saving, sharing or swiping through your content.

Best of all you can create ‘lookalike’ audiences made up of people with similar interests and behaviours to your existing followers.

Do I need a Facebook account to advertise on Facebook?

Yes, you need a personal Facebook page (but not an Instagram account) to advertise across Facebook and Instagram. 

Can I advertise with a new social media account?

Technically yes, but I wouldn’t advise it. 

As we’ve already discovered, Facebook favours accounts that give followers a great user experience, so my advice would be to focus on building an engaged organic presence before you start spending money on ads.

And yes, engagement is more important than follower numbers – let me tell you why. 

If you have an engaged audience – that is one that likes, comments and shares your posts – Facebook and Instagram have more data on your business and who you want to target, than just followers alone.  

This is particularly important since iOS14 started rolling out in 2021.  Facebook can no longer always track what people do after they click on your ad but they can track all activity within the Facebook and Instagram platforms. If you want ad success, you need to get people engaging with you!

What if I don’t post organic content?

In short, your ads won’t perform as well as they could and/or will be more expensive to run. 

Brands with deep pockets may be able to get away with this because they have bigger budgets and don’t care if their ads cost more.

But, if you’re a small business owner, it can make a huge difference.


Your social media accounts are your shop window online. Use them to share your brand personality, show off your products and build an engaged following of enthusiastic fans. 

Get this right, and you’ll be rewarded with ads that work better and cost less to run.

Are you ready to advertise on Facebook and Instagram? Find out by downloading my FREE Facebook Ads Checklist.