Is Paid Social Media a Necessity?

Is paid social media a necessity?

The question of whether paid social media is now a must comes from the virtual disappearance of the organic reach of posts.

Organic reach – how many people you can reach for free by posting to your business or fan page on Facebook and other social media platforms– has been declining steadily for years now. Facebook’s organic reach, depending on who you believe, is now somewhere between 2-5%. In other words, for every 100 people following your page, only 2-5 get to see your carefully crafted post. It’s not just Facebook. Organic reach and interactions across all social media channels have fallen off substantially.

The free ride is over

A few years ago Facebook made it quite clear that organic reach would become infective, at best. They’ve kept their word. Facebook has begun to increasingly prioritize posts from users’ friends and family. To make room for them in your newsfeed, Facebook is making things even worse for businesses by deemphasizing posts from businesses, brands and content publishers more than ever.

There are several logical reasons for the decline of organic reach. Facebook has offered up a couple and the third we offer up as just plain common sense.

  • There’s just too much content being published on Facebook to show everyone everything. This has made gaining visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive with a greater degree of difficulty succeeding.
  • Facebook is trying to show people the content their experts feel is most relevant.
  • Marketers, being the cynical bunch we are, tend to think Facebook’s ulterior motive is simply to get more people to start buying ads.

To prove us cynics have a point, Convince and Convert published a chart showing Facebook’s declining organic reach charted against Facebook’s rising stock price during the same period. Would it surprise you to find out that as organic reach plummeted Facebook’s stock price increased a substantial 40% due to increased ad revenue?

These days Facebook feels businesses should look at their Facebook business or fan pages as a way to make paid advertising more effective. From Facebook’s point-of-view, organic reach is in direct conflict with its belief that inundating News Feeds with posts from pages the user likes (along with many others) just isn’t an ideal user experience.

So, can you improve your organic reach on Facebook? Truthfully about all you can do is increase engagement. The goal is to get as much interaction with every post as possible. Here are some of the ways to maximize your reach:

Here are ways to maximize your reach:

  • Ask followers of your other social media business pages to like your Facebook page and return the favor.
  • Encourage readers to engage with your posts when they see them, so they’ll (hopefully) see more of them.
  • Add a “Please like and share” reminder to the end of your posts.

Since social media’s organic reach is going the way of the dinosaur, it’s smart to focus on digital channels you own and control — your website and blog. Spend more resources creating blog posts and long-form content (eBooks, case studies, or videos). These have a shelf life that helps increase your inbound traffic, leads, and customers long-term.

If your budget allows, consider paid posts to share this content to the appropriate social media platforms for additional reach. While knowing how to use paid social media is also important, knowing when to use paid social media is key.

Here’s a checklist of good reasons to invest in paid social media ads:

  • Getting started
    If you are just starting your social media marketing and have a small number of followers, paid traffic is critical. You need an audience for your content or no one will see it or share it.
  • Looking to reach a different audience
    With paid social media, you can target new demographics and reach out to new geographic areas.
  • Improve organic reach
    To supplement your organic reach, you should consider investing in paid posts to get your social media content in front of more of the people who already like and follow you.

What paid social media works?

Social media advertising’s evolution from outdated banner ads to native ads has greatly improved the paid social media advertising experience for both marketers and consumers.

So, where’s the best return on investment? According to an eMarketer study, over 95% of social media managers say Facebook offers the best return on investment, followed by Twitter (63.5%), Instagram (40.1%) and LinkedIn (37.7%). However, keep in mind that which social media platform will work best for your business depends largely on knowing where your social media audience is.

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