Heading into 2019, paid social is not a choice — it’s mandatory.

Organic content is in a death spiral.

Which is nothing new — AdAge talked about it as early as 2014 — but these days organic reach for platforms like Facebook has plummeted to average figures as low as 2 percent.

If you’ve got 100,000 followers, you’re only reaching 2,000. if you’ve got 100, well… you get the picture.

2018 saw Facebook shift focus toward creating meaningful engagements between human users, rather than between users and brands, which drastically reduced organic reach for brands across Facebook and Instagram. Twitter and LinkedIn are no different, the reason being that advertising is how these raise their stock price; they can’t have brands growing their followings for free.

Social is pay-to-play — and it will stay that way.

Nowadays, it’s an open secret that social is a pay-to-play game for brands moving into 2019. Facebook itself has stated that organic reach for brands will eventually hit zero, suggesting that paid advertising will eventually become the only way.

If you want results, you’ll need to boost posts and create ads if you want to reach, engage, and expand your audience, not to mention generating conversions via your sales funnel.

Ads are as affordable (or expensive) as you want them to be.

Luckily, whatever money you have on hand is good enough to get started. Like most things, the more you put into your paid social efforts, the more you’ll get out of them, but there’s an extremely low threshold to start.
With that in mind, marketers and brands should focus on determining what goals social is trying to achieve via their favored platforms, whether it be awareness, engagement, conversions, etc. Convincing stakeholders to pony up more cash on top of whatever they’re already paying can be difficult, but the results are worth it, especially if you can tie the increased budget to brand goals.

However, the best way to avoid having to ask for more is to…

Assume paid social is part of the plan from the start.

If you’re in the planning stages of your social strategy, it’s best to bake paid social into the cake to avoid having to negotiate later.

While you’ll need to maintain a steady stream of organic content, the sooner you can put dollars behind your social efforts, the less of that content will go to waste since boosted posts tend to have higher organic reach than unpaid posts. In addition, the earlier you can acquire audience members, the more people your organic content will reach up front.

There’s no sense in working hard to create content that is reaching next to no one while you build up your following if you know that you’re going to deploy boosted posts and follower campaigns in the future.

If you can, do it now. You’ll have more time to learn about your audience and avoid letting your best content go to waste.

Plus, we’re betting you’ll be happy with the lift you see.

When done right, paid social delivers results.

This should be no surprise, given that these social platforms’ business model is designed to make paid advertising the viable way forward.

As an example, one of our clients saw a 73 percent increase in reach via paid content over organic content through boosted posts. Using a paid follower campaign, they gained nearly 9,000 followers over the course of 2018 to date, and increased their web traffic 346 percent. That’s right — social went from accounting for 1 percent of all website acquisition to a whopping 79 percent.

One important caveat in this section is the phrase “when done right.” Luckily, that’s something we can help with — though if you want to go it alone, we’ll be putting out a more detailed article on strategy soon.

InQuest Marketing

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