Once upon a time, few businesses had a facebook page, and people were delighted to see what you had in it, and even more so, what could they learn, buy or share from you.
Fast forward to 2018 and that is no longer how it works. Today, EVERYONE has a Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, the list goes on...
And to make it even harder, Facebook is constantly changing its algorithms for one simple reason, they live from what you pay; in consequence, they want you to pay.
Lately, I don't know if you've noticed but if you publish something on your facebook page, it won't show on people's feed unless you pay for it to appear. This is no mistake. They strongly want you to promote it as a paid publication, and this is clear on their UX design approach, where all publications appear with a clear and blue "Promote Business", "Boost Post", "Promote Website", it is all across your page.
Recent growth reported on Facebook of 45% is no coincidence. This is due to increased investment in ads and nothing more. The cause? Your competitors are probably investing more and more each day.
You can probably create more organic noise by using hashtags and creating a very consistent style that people look for, or videos that people share. Something that is considered to be viral, but nowadays going viral is not as organic as it used to be. Most viral content you see today have a large investment in it.
And the indirect costs...
Something you probably don't know when first creating your brand is that you're going to have to invest in tools to make your life as a social media manager easier.
Tools such as HootSuite, Buffer or Sprout Social have a separate cost. At first you're probably not going to need to pay for their service since they offer a free version for your first pages/brands/social media, but eventually, as you grow and have more than one account on one same channel, you are going to have to start paying for the service.
Later on, you are going to find other tools that help you as well such as Buzzsumo, Semrush, Sprinklr and so on.
You can probably skip paying directly to the social media you're on by trying something else like using influencers. The good news is it'll probably have more effect on your audience. The bad news? It is going to be either more expensive or more difficult. But think of it this way: it is a more efficient way to invest your paid promotions on, considering of course, that you're picking the right influencer for your audience.
There are some cases where your influencer will ask for no fee, if you're strategic enough, you can negotiate something very productive for your brand and probably a strategic alliance with this influencer, which will be very beneficial for your product. But for this to happen, you have to first convince your influencer to try or promote your brand, and this can sometimes be hard.
Whether you decide to invest or not on social media ads, the most important factor is to make sure that the content you're offering truly resonates with your brand and, most importantly, reflects your core value, your unique proposition and who you really are.
One of the worst mistakes any Marketer can make is following someone else's lead. Not creating your own brand will most likely promote your competitor, even more, it will strengthen them. Is that what you really want? Consider that doing what others are doing may not resonate with your brand or your why. Start by defining what you want for your strategy and look for inspiration based on that. Don't ever do it the other way around because it might mix your strategy towards the wrong direction.
Social Media paid to advertise is definitely the most efficient media available nowadays, it is actually claimed to be more than 50% less expensive and much more effective than traditional media, but for this to be true and to apply to your business, you have to understand how it works.
The difference between social media and traditional media is that you can decide practically exactly who you will be advertising to, so no resources are wasted. But in order for this to be true, you first have to define your audience at the deepest levels. Meaning, the more you know about your customer, the better you'll be able to know who they follow, who they listen to, who they like, who they don't like, what they do, what they dream about, etc. This is why, in the first place, you need to define your audience.
Once you have a very targeted and defined audience, then you can take full advantage of the magic of social media advertising, because with technology nowadays, you can instruct ads to go to exactly that person, with those likes and dislikes. This is where Social Media advertising turns really effective and can drive growth to your sales like no other media can.
Another thing is deciding where and how you want to advertise through social media. Some ways could be:
The list goes on. This is where you decide what will resonate better with your brand and what message do you want to give in the end.
Facebook and other social media, as well as Google, varies its CTR (click through rate) to the effectiveness of the ads within an industry.
When choosing a media to run your ads, you also have to set a specific budget, and for this to be done correctly, you need to know the different price trends for each industry. The platform will give you an estimate when you are publishing your ads in which it calculates what will be the reach based on your budget and the days it will be running.
If you are deciding on wether or not to invest in paid advertising, consider all of the above factors, but please first start by defining who you are, who your audience is, and where you want to go. Social media ad can definitely be the most effective and efficient media available, but to use it right you first have to decide who you want to reach.