Should You be Paying for Social Media Advertising?
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become well established marketing tools in businesses of all sizes. But many companies resist the idea of paying for exposure on these channel, perhaps because we've grown accustomed to the notion that social media activity should be free.
But in our experience, there are many arguments in favour of paying to reach your audience via these channels.
Firstly, social media is never free. There is a significant cost in the time it takes to grow a well targeted following, engage with them and keep them engaged until they convert into customers. And many companies struggle with that final step of monetising their following and measuring the result of all their financial and time investment.
So, here are a few arguments in favour of paying for advertising on these platforms:
- The targeting of ads is incredible, particularly on Facebook. So, it's easy to find and reach your target audience, whether that's B2B or B2C.
- You don't have to spend time, or wait until you've built a large enough following to make your efforts worthwhile. Once you've identified your target market you can get your content shown to as many of them as you marketing plans require.
- You only pay for results, such as clicks through to your website.
- It can be very inexpensive - often costing only pennies per result.
- The results are immediate. No waiting around to build your following and you'll be seeing result soon after your ad goes live.
- It's very quick and inexpensive to test and refine. You can run a test ad with, say a £50 budget to see how it performs. You can quickly measure the results, refine and amend if necessary and test again until you get the results you want. Once perfected you can roll it out to as many prospects as required.
- It's scalable. This may be the most important aspect of all. Once you've got an advert that works, you can quickly scale up its delivery to get more clients and customers. If your only exposure is to your social media following, this simply isn't possible. And if you reach a point where you have too many customers you can also scale it down.
- It's measurable. So, for instance, say you sell a product for £50, your profit is £25 and you're happy to spend £10 to get that customer, reducing your profit to £15. You also know, on average you need to attract 50 people to your web page or sales funnel to make one sale. So once you've devised and tested an ad that gets click throughs to your website for 20p per click, you're in business. Each £10 spent will generate 50 visits to your webpage, which will generate one customer. You've made £15 profit and have a customer on your list who can be sold to in the future without any marketing costs.
There is still great advantage in building and engaging with your following on social media. Especially when in comes to social proof, market positioning and fostering loyalty with current customers and clients. But it's well worth considering if paying for exposure to a wider audience should form part of your marketing plan.