Does social media really need to be a component of my business’s marketing plan?
We get some variation of this question pretty often.
There are a lot of avenues for getting marketing messages out there, and people are often unsure about whether or not social media is one of the most a) effective or b) cost effective.
Here are our two main takeaways from managing our own social media marketing and our clients’.
1. Most Businesses Should Be On Social Media
Maybe you came to this article searching for any reason, any excuse that you can use to justify not being on social media.
Sorry, you won’t find it here.
Chances are good that your audience, or at least many members of your audience, are on social media. How do I know that? Because whether you sell a product or service, whether you’re B2C or B2B, whether you’re a local business or you’re global, for- or not-for-profit, your audience is people. And people are on social media.
There are about 7.7 billion people on earth as I write this. The number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach nearly 3 billion by 2020.1 Barring an asteroid strike or some other disaster, that means that about 40% of all humans will have a social presence a year or so from now. (I think. I’m bad at math.) In 2017, 77% of the U.S. population had a social media profile.2
Bottom line: Social media marketing can help you reach many members of your audience.
But you have to tailor your strategy to your business; you’ve got to do social in a way that works for you. What works for one company may not work for another. Not every business should be on Pinterest, or Snapchat, or Instagram.
Don’t be afraid to change things up if a platform isn’t working for you. Honestly, the best way to find out what will work is to make informed guesses and then try it for yourself.
I’m going to talk about the importance of social advertising in the next section, but I want to make it clear that just having a simple social presence—fleshed out social accounts and some level of organic (unpaid) posting—can still be beneficial. I’m talking a time investment of just a few hours a month.
You may not see high engagement or followership—you will need advertising for that—but the benefits of social media go beyond reach. A basic social presence lets people who stumble upon your pages know that you’re alive and active, it humanizes your brand and can increase authenticity, and it’s also a great avenue for connecting with customers and providing support. Plus, you can learn more about your customers from observing their behavior on social media.
2. You’ve Got to Pay to Play
Social media has changed a lot in recent years. A decade ago, simply being present on social platforms and posting organically could get you a decent-sized following and solid engagement. That simply doesn’t cut it anymore on most platforms.
The sheer volume of content, and efforts to improve user experience, mean users are seeing less and less of your content on their timeline. Organic (unpaid) reach has dipped as low as 2% on Facebook.
That’s enough to make anyone say, “Should I really be on social media, then? What’s the point of putting time, effort, and money behind it if no one is even going to pay attention?”
We tell those people “yes!” for the reasons listed in the previous section, and with this caveat: You’ve really got to pay to play. You most likely need to take advantage of social advertising if you want to drive conversions through social media (as opposed to just having a presence, which—again—is still beneficial).
Here’s the good news: Social advertising can be extremely effective and extremely cost-effective. In fact, it’s one of the most effective and cost-effective advertising avenues available.
We run a fair amount of Facebook and LinkedIn ads, and we’ve seen impressive results. Facebook ads have led to hundreds of clicks that generally cost under a dollar each. (AdEspresso analyzed nearly $300 million of ad spend and found that the average Cost-Per-Click of Facebook Ads in 2017 [worldwide] was $0.97.)3 LinkedIn ads, while typically much more expensive (in the range of $4-$8 per click), have driven highly-qualified traffic.
And the clicks and traffic aren’t from random people. They’re people who we have targeted based on specific characteristics. While social platforms have cut down on targeting options to protect user privacy in recent years, they still offer incredibly powerful targeting options.
Another reason why social advertising is so powerful is that you can see the results. It can be challenging to prove the ROI of marketing efforts, but not with social ads. Performance is plain to see.
If you’re a social media marketing skeptic, I encourage you to try social advertising. You might be amazed by the effect a few hundred dollars can make.
I’m convinced that most businesses should have some level of social media presence. I don’t think social media is the holy grail of marketing, but I’ve seen the impact it can have, and I don’t want anyone to miss out! Looking to get started with social media marketing, or wondering how you can strengthen your strategy? Contact us!