I read a report from eMarketer earlier this week that explained that small and medium sized businesses rank social media as the second most effective marketing method; only their website was more effective.
And the fact that social media is a powerful tool is not a shock, it has been the darling of the marketing community for years now. But social media, like every element of digital, has evolved. The days of being able to do social media exclusively free are sadly behind us. But a lot of marketers who I talk to seem to have a problem paying for social media campaigns – but here are 10 reasons why you should dip into your pocket for social media.
1) Facebook organic reach – Facebook’s organic reach has been in decline for some time now – the number of people who like your page is not the actual size of your audience. With organic reach rumoured to be as low as 10%, if you want to increase your engagement, you firstly need to ensure people see it – and you do that by paid advertising.
2) Twitter volume – The number of tweets being posted per day is continuing to rise (500m and counting), and to get your voice heard above all of the noise is very difficult without paid help. There are some very cool Twitter advertising campaigns which can suit every budget.
3) It’s psychologically tough – If you have been using something for free and then, to have the same impact, you need to pay, it hurts. Just look at the recent reaction to the Tidal music streaming service as a challenger to Spotify. Getting your head round this (or persuading your boss!) is not easy but it’s simply a result of the social networks having tough commercial shareholders.
4) Social isn’t a standalone channel – Like most things in marketing, social works best when it is tied up with other marketing tools. Email is a fantastic tool to use with social media. You can link your CRM email database with Facebook or Twitter to supercharge your communications, giving both channels an extra boost.
5) Social is not a one trick pony – Most marketing channels are good at one thing: billboards and TV for awareness, direct mail for response. But you can use social media to achieve a wide range of promotional objectives – brand awareness, direct response, market research, promotional, etc.. You would pay for a tool that could do all of that!
6) ROI is not a guess – Metrics in digital have been string for some time, and yes it’s true that access to (free) social media metrics has not always been easy. But the social networks are getting better at it – they need to encourage people to pay so they must provide strong analytics, and both Facebook and Twitter released new versions of their analytics in the second half of last year: expect more improvements.
7) Does it actually work? Metrics are all well and good but does social advertising have a positive effect on results? Well, the signs are good. With Facebook ads for example, you can expect engagement levels of between 1% and 3%, far greater than you would expect from an alternative paid advertising channel like the Google Display Network.
8) It’s designed for your pocket – If you still feel skeptical, and you should, then you should try it for yourself. You can start a paid social media campaign for as little as you like (some of the best results I have seen from campaigns costing less than £100), so try a small scale one and see how you get on. Unlike more traditional media channels, this is not the preserve of multi-nationals.
9) Find the people you want to talk to – The depth of segmentation that you can get to with social media advertising is very powerful. And a little un-nerving from a privacy perspective! If you’re looking to talk to a Cheshire-based dad who plays the guitar, supports a London-football team, likes indie music and podcasts, you can find that specific person – or just message me…!
10) Is organic social media dead? No, this doesn’t mean that organic content is dead. Far from it! In fact, paid social media content works really well when used in conjunction with organic content. You should use the learnings from your organic content to tell you how best to execute your paid campaign.
Those marketers who have used paid social media have seen great success (70% who used it in 2014 will increase their spend on the channel for 2015), so is it now time for you to take the plunge?