Instagram and Twitter have been making headlines recently for changing their timelines from chronological to algorithmic, similar to how Facebook has organized posts for years. The ultimate goal of these social networks is serving users the most relevant content, but these changes typically hit brands and advertisers the hardest when it comes to reach. To put this in perspective, the average Facebook organic reach in 2015 was 2.6 percent.
This means that all of those years you spent building an audience on these platforms is starting to become less and less valuable. (*Disclaimer: If you are just starting a Facebook page, Twitter profile, or Instagram account for your brand, disregard this. Many people look at an established social media following as a validation of sorts.) Your audience isn’t seeing the majority, if any, of the organic content you are posting. But, there is a solution. Pay for social.
Promoting your content is a guaranteed way to transcend crippling organic reach and get your message in front of your target audience. Through promoting posts, you can choose detailed targeting options like age, gender, interests, geography, etc. The only limiting factor to reach is your budget.
Now, you may be wondering why you have to pay for social media. Social media is supposed to be free. While that may have been the case years ago, it is no longer. There are a couple of reasons that explain the shift from free to paid social media in the big three social media platforms.
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all businesses that need to generate revenue.
- These platforms continue to grow in size, meaning more content and a lengthening timeline. This turns into a complex supply and demand equation, with the platforms trying to decide what users want to see and when.
The next thing you may be wondering is why you should spend money on social media when you could spend your advertising budget elsewhere. My simple answer to that is spend money where people spend time.
Eighty-one percent of the U.S. population has a social media profile and spends an average of 1.72 hours on social networks a day. This represents 28 percent of their time spent online. So, while social media cannot solely be your strategy, it is an integral part to a successful digital strategy.
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