Should you pay for social media advertising?

Whilst it’s safe to say that the majority of businesses these days have an element of social media output in their digital communications strategy, is it as straightforward as it seems to set up a paid campaign? And does it provide the right kind of ROI? The truth is, it’s really just trial and error.

Digital advertising spend is set to double in 2017 with social media making up a large proportion of that, as such, it would seem that social media marketing does really pay off for clients. However, if you don’t employ someone who is clued up on social media targeting, is it actually better to save your cash and focus on organic growth? Well, as someone who has really pushed both strategies, I have found that organic growth has been much easier to achieve…and it’s of course, free.

I think social media marketing has a lot to do with where your ideal client ‘hangs out’. Allow me to explain. Last year, I really pushed my business through Facebook. I paid for campaigns almost weekly, and found that a lot of people saw my posts but didn’t necessarily engage with them. Over time, I realised that my target client just wasn’t spending time on Facebook.

After switching my focus to Instagram at the beginning of this year, I figured out that my ideal spending client was engaging with my posts and I have managed to grow my following by 429%, largely through organic means such as hashtag research, post construction and imagery, alongside offline activity.

Now, with all this being said…paid advertising may indeed really help your business. Like I mentioned at the start of this blog…there really is no hard or fast rule. My advice would be to trial it and keep a record of your engagement, conversations and conversions vs those of your organic posts.

So, what should you be focusing on?

Understanding your audience

Paid campaigns can be useful for distributing your message to both a targeted and broad audience who may be interested in your content. Be super clear on who you need to target before you launch your campaign – even though parameters can sometimes be changed once the ad has gone live, it is infinitely better to have a good idea before you make a start.

Being clear on your desired outcomes

What is your end goal? Is it to build awareness, increase impressions or boost engagement, or do you want to drive traffic to your website? Being clear on what you want to achieve can help you stay focused and also encourage you to properly breakdown the successes of the activity once it has ended.

Getting the copy and content right

Don’t get caught up in writing reams of copy. It needs to be punchy and powerful; telling the audience exactly what they need to know quickly and concisely. Partner this with strong imagery that is representative of your brand or end goal for the post itself. And don’t forget to credit the image source if it’s not your own!