Ah, the dreaded social media paid advertisement. Questions about paying for social media and the ever-shifting opinions on whether or not social media will become entirely “pay-for-play” (i.e., businesses will only be able to reach their consumers based on how much cash they dole out) have come to the forefront of the industry since Snapchat’s announcement last week that it will charge $750,000 for a disappearing ad on its platform. Yes, this means that the company believes that their audience is still worth that amount of money, even if the ad disappears in ten seconds.
If this causes you to readjust your thinking about social media, you’re not alone. As Chris Bishop mentions in his article for digital marketing blog EConsultancy, the idea that social media is free has always been wrong, and if that hasn’t been at the forefront of your mind until now, it will be in 2015. As Bishop claims, “If you don’t have a budget for paid inclusion, a senior social manager, paid amplification, an integrated digital media agency, or simply paid social to compliment your organic social activity, expect your social presence to decrease.”
For those who have just figured out how to use Facebook or that a content-driven blog is a great option for them, all of these terms and phrases are going to sound overwhelming. And this doesn’t mean that Facebook is going to start charging a fee to create an account (though in the future, who knows what could happen). What this means for us as a social media company is twofold: first, that Facebook ads should be inherent in any good social media plan, and that the importance of strategic organic content creation is more important than ever.
In our social media marketing package, a line item is always build, manage and fund Facebook ads daily. This is because although Facebook advertising is fairly easy to use, it’s like any type of advertising — you can’t throw money at something and hope it sticks; building the appropriate ad of an equally appropriate scope is key. This paid content, whether it’s a boosted post or ad for page likes, is a given. It is a fact that with the way Facebook’s algorithms look, it is more difficult to grow a page purely organically than ever. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but you can have the best social media in the entire world, and still garner one or two likes a week.
Second, it means that daily management and brand monitoring are equally as important as developing the fantastic strategy in the first place. Competition for digital space is stiff, and only becoming more so. However, as evidenced by Snapchat’s uber-expensive ad sell, this digital space and the consumers that can be found there are worth that time and effort.
It will be interesting to watch where this leads, and is just another reason to integrate social media in your advertising. However, it’s all about knowing when, where and how to do it effectively.