Don’t get us wrong, social media is still an integral part of any businesses digital marketing efforts & overall online presence, but these days with so much competition & saturation - it’s just not as cost efficient & effective as it once was. If you aren't aware of this, read our blog on Why Is Social Media Management Failing your Business in 2020.
Organic social media used to be about simply creating some interesting & valuable content, publishing it on social media platforms to your followers and engaging with the consumers who respond. It’s still extremely useful for maintaining your online presence, showcasing company updates & achievements, establishing social proof & brand credibility and ultimately, opens a hyper-connected communication channel to stay in touch with consumers in real-time & build a sustainable community with memorable brand stories.
Think about it: what would you think if you tried to find a company’s Facebook page and it didn’t exist or hadn’t been updated in months and relied on a stock profile photo? You would look away and never turn back.
On the other hand, if your company comes up in searches on Google and Facebook, and if they have thousands of followers and an active feed, potential customers will see that plenty of people have found, used, and loved their product or service before them – you would be more willing to get in contact with them.
As great as all that sounds, organic social media on its own just doesn’t cut it. Even if you have 100,000 followers, Facebook & Instagram’s algorithm only shows as few as 2% of them any given post. So the other 98% of your community (and those ideal customers who aren't part of your community yet), just won’t see your posts, be aware of your product and/or service offering – and ultimately not take action. Even more so – it’s completely impossible to prove sales and return on investment from social media – so how do you know if all the time and money you are spending on social media is effective? You don’t.
There are, however, some ways to boost engagement, despite the algorithm. If you want to know a little bit more about the Instagram algorithm, as well as learn a few tips and tricks on how to maximise your engagement; read our blog on How to Cut through the Instagram and Grow your Following on Instagram.
So, what is the problem with both of these organic social media scenarios from above, other than being unable to prove return on investment?
Both of them leave it up to chance that the customer will find them. And even more so; with the algorithm – even if they do find you, there is potentially a 98% chance they will not even see what you’re posting. Facebook made a recent announcement that they were working hard to reduce the amount of public content from businesses and brands in the newsfeed - thus rendering organic social media, effectively, dead. You’ve got to understand that Facebook is a business and they make money through ads. So it’s in their best interest to have businesses pay for advertising and incentivise it.
So while it's not worth totally giving up on organic social media all together, Facebook and other platforms are making it increasingly harder for brands to see long term, sustainable results through organic content alone, as their competitors (whom are paying for online advertising) will always rank above them. Just like any other business, Facebook prioritises their highest paying clients over all others - simple as that.
You’re probably asking – so what’s the solution? What if you could find & engage with all the fans who follow & likes your social media pages? Furthermore, what if you could find additional qualified customers & not just get them to contact you with a small query – but get them to provide their information & be nurtured; automatically – until they become paying clients. How? Paid Social Media Advertising.
Paid social media advertising not only helps you reach your existing audience, but it helps you expand your audience with even more highly targeted options. Did you know that we can drop a pin-drop and advertise to people in a single building; even a house? Did you know that we can find people based on their job description, based on their interests & hobbies; even based on their activity on your website? And it’s all extremely fast & measurable results, at a fraction of the price compared to almost every other marketing medium out there. For more information on the benefits and capabilities on targeted, online advertisements - read our blog, 5 Reasons to Embrace the Power of Facebook Advertising.
The last major benefit of paid social media advertising is that platforms like Facebook will optimize for conversions and other business goals. If you want more website visitors, Facebook will track that and optimise for it. If you want more lead signups, then they will focus on that. And if you want more e-commerce sales, Facebook will change it up to maximize sales. This type of focused optimisation with online ads supplements sales funnels & lead generation efforts extremely well! Don't know what a sales funnel is? Read our blog on What is a Sales Funnel & Why your Business Needs one to Succeed in 2019 and beyond.
This makes your Return On Investment calculations, measurable & provable – giving you solid data to tweak your strategy and digital marketing efforts accordingly. Simply put, you get significantly more bang for your buck!
So what are the two most common reasons entrepreneurs don’t want to invest in paid social media advertising:
Everyone is obsessed with what is free, people love saving money - the more the merrier. But let’s be honest, at the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Don’t want to pay to promote your Facebook post? Then don’t complain when 2% of your audience sees it and you generate a whopping 6 likes and 0 new leads. That's like expecting Michelin Star Restaurant quality from your local McDonald's drive-through - it's never going to happen.
Furthermore, let’s examine whether or not it actually is really free. Having an up-to-date organic social media presence is extremely exhausting. It takes a lot of time to schedule posts, reply to comments & it costs money to develop content. And if you aren’t doing it yourself (which as a business owner you shouldn’t be – you should be focusing on scaling your business), you’re paying a social media manager or PA to do it. So if you're not willing to pay for ads, but still want more than 2% as an engagement rate, the only way to achieve this is through a well thought out, effective content marketing plan - which, as mentioned above, will cost you money.
So, a supposedly free post actually represents a fixed cost, no matter how many people see your post. We wanted to test this theory out at New Age Explorer and these were our findings:
Blog content cost: R3,000.00
Results: 12 Engagements
R250 per Engagement
Blog content cost: R3,000.00
Ad Budget: R1,000.00
Results: 1867 engagements
R2,14c per Engagement
So there you have it. While Organic Social Media efforts aren't a total waste of time - unless you're putting the effort and resources into creating a thorough, quality content strategy (which comes at it's own cost) just to reach at best maybe 5% of your audience, you're not seeing the best results you possibly can. Consider branching out into paid online advertising, but remember: it can be extremely tricky business too and you should consider consulting an expert - like us at New Age Explorer. Contact Us, here.