Social Media engagement is no longer free

Published on December 20, 2013

facebook-promoted-postsPaid promotion has long been an excellent tactic to extend reach across social media platforms. However, some recent changes have shifted this tactic from a nice add on to a must have. The final nail in the free-engagement coffin being Facebook’s confession that it is suppressing content that performs well to push companies to use promoted products. As Facebook explained it, “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”

With Twitter going public and the addition of Instagram and Pinterst ads, it’s only a matter of time before these platforms turn to similar tactics to boost ad revenue. We don’t like these changes. The need to promote posts makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish what content performs best, and adds additional costs for brands. Unfortunately, we see no indication of this changing in the near future.

While we lament these changes, it’s important to realize that social media has always been an outlier in the marketing world. What other advertising and marketing mediums allows brands to connect its customers with its messages at no cost? We’re all accustomed to paying for audience on television and the web, now social media is no different. As a platform with a direct link to consumers, it still provides exceptional value, at a cost that is still quite low when compared to other platforms.

So instead of lamenting the chances, we suggest you get ahead of the game and get a plan in place today. Here’s our three-step guide to initiating or optimizing social media advertising:

  1. Establish a social media advertising goals and budget. Increasing likes will require a different type of campaign than an objective to increase engagement. Depending on how many people you want to reach, a Facebook ad campaign can be successful for as little as $500 a month.
  2. Identify promotion-worthy posts. Focus on the content that speaks best to your social media and marketing goals/objectives. Promote content that has a clear call to action, links back to your website, and/or which will drive significant engagement. We recommend starting with one promoted post weekly, or bi-monthly.
  3. Monitor organic/viral reach and paid reach metrics separately. This will help you determine the true engagement of content. Continue to measure and make adjustments as the campaign progresses.

If you’d like to know more about the implications of these changes, or to help set up your social media adverting program, contact the social media marketing experts at RIESTER.