There is truth to the oft-cited mantra that today’s social media is ‘pay to play’, as well as the accompanying admonition that all brands require a social media marketing budget. Milkshake’s Digital Advertising Guru, Mike Knowles, explains why.

There’s no question that, over the past few years, organic social reach has been on the decline. Organic reach can be described as posts that find their intended targets ‘naturally’, without paid promotion. Brands and businesses have noticed a drop in organic reach as Facebook changes algorithms to tailor content to individual users. Over one-million pieces of content are shared on Facebook every minute; yet, the average user misses more than 70% of it.

Think about it: let’s say you have 500 friends on Facebook, do you see content from all 500 of them every time you log in? You are likely to see content from the same group of friends and brand pages every time you open the Facebook app. This is because Facebook algorithms have decided this is the content you’re most interested in – tailor-made news feeds that aren’t overwhelming. Perfect! Unless, of course, you’re a brand trying to increase awareness of your product or service.
This has provided the chance for Facebook to further monetise its platform – after all, Facebook is a free service, but they still need to turn a profit.

Paid social media allows advertisers to reach who they want, when they want and where they want. Brands can easily create a conversion funnel using specific user actions, for example: completing a form, making a phone call or sending a message. Having a budget allows you to reach a larger audience and to place your content directly in front of the people with whom you want to engage. Paid advertising also allows you to re-target those who have visited your website with highly personalised content to draw them back. Research by Facebook shows that users don’t act on a commercial website (buying, enquiring) until the third time they visit. If potential clients visit once and never again, that’s an opportunity lost. Paid advertising also offers enhanced analytics into the performance of social media compared to organic alone.

So, are there still opportunities in organic social media? Definitely.
Perhaps the best thing about organic social media is the fact that it’s free. Not every business has the know-how or funds to warrant paid digital advertising. Organic development also has longevity, providing the opportunity to engage with your community and push brand awareness. Active social channels improve brand loyalty and trust – pillars upon which successful businesses and social media presence is built. Using social media to talk to your customers, listen to feedback and address issues is invaluable and should not be overlooked. If, however, the hope is to win new customers (and lots of them) with social media, you’ll have to look at paid advertising.

Case Study 1

In 2016, we ran an Invisalign Facebook and Instagram campaign for a client over the course of 10 months. With a budget of £20 a day, this campaign generated an average of two new Invisalign patients each week. That’s 80 new patients over 10 months for a treatment that costs on average £4,000. Do the maths: spending £5,600 in advertising yielded a revenue in the region of £320,000!

Case Study 2

Over the course of a month in mid-2017, we ran a client’s Facebook lead-generating campaign for facial aesthetic treatments. With a budget of just £5 a day, we generated six high-quality leads (name, e-mail and phone number). The practice then converted four of these leads, with an average spend of £300 per treatment. A humbler, yet still highly profitable, campaign.

This goes to show that, no matter the budget, it’s always possible to make a healthy return with smart social advertising.

We still believe that the best social media strategies contain a mixture of both paid and organic. You can’t beat the fantastic customer engagement that social media so easily provides. Active social media can not only help to retain clients, but can also increase word of mouth promotion through your friends, fans and followers sharing your content. If you’re not online, you can’t be found. And if you can’t be found, you can’t be shared. Active social media shows potential clients your business is alive and well. Paid advertising allows you to reach highly targeted audiences and track each success. Whether you have £50 or £500,000 a month to spend on advertising, if you’re not currently paying for social media, there’s never been a better time to start.

Want to discuss you Social Media needs? Call us on 01844 292086 today!