Want social media success? You’ll have to pay for it

  • Marketing
  • 25th April 2022
Written by Adam Barrett Brook

How often have you scrolled through your social media feeds and wondered why your competitors seem to be doing it so much better than you? Be honest.

These days it’s widely accepted that social media is doing no one’s self esteem any favours, but what about the confidence you have in your business? This free tool can potentially enable us to reach millions of eyeballs with our marketing messages. In theory, all it takes is some clever strategizing and a spot of jumping on a zeitgeist. However, the more common experience of businesses is this:

·       not enough engagement

·       not enough reach

·       a blank when it comes to proving ROI

The thing is, it’s not just about your content strategy; a lot of businesses are failing because they are simply not willing to put their money where their mouth is.


Why isn’t social media free and easy anymore?

When Facebook first sprang onto the scene, marketers were champing at the bit. Back then it was relatively easy to amass a large audience and get decent reach with organic posts. Going viral wasn’t such an uphill struggle. Fast forward nearly 20 years and the much-expanded roster of social media platforms has wised up to the profit opportunity.

Monetisation of social platforms has seen brands experience declining reach and engagement. And while clever tactics can help, at the end of the day, as with so many things in life, you get what you pay for.


Why pay for something you can get for free?

Organic social and paid social have become separate entities for many businesses. It’s not uncommon to have the organic role fulfilled in-house, while paid social advertising and influencer marketing get shipped out to agencies.

For many companies, social strategy has split into three strands:

·       Organic Social = brand

·       Paid Social = direct performance

·       Influencer Marketing = combination of brand and direct performance

What’s also common is for those with the spending power to put their foot down when it comes to spending serious money on paid social and influencer marketing, especially if it is not to drive direct performance. For many business leaders, good social can and should be free; they think it’s about getting social managers who are good enough to make their content go viral and expecting influencers to bring exposure by way of a few free products, rather than a proper payment structure.

We beg to differ.


Why the value and cost of social media is higher than you think it is

Recent research suggests that UK adults are now spending 109 minutes a day on social media, but because social media is so much more readily available to us than other channels like PPC or affiliate marketing, it’s easy to think that we shouldn’t have to pay for it. If teenagers can go viral, then why should companies be paying out big salaries and ad spends for this ‘fun’ medium?

Well, the answer is this: social media as a job isn’t about ‘fun’. It’s about leveraging a whole host of skills to win success. That success isn’t just about driving sales or email leads, it’s about positioning your brand, getting in front of people and building a community of loyal brand advocates. If you only pay for direct performance, you’re seriously limiting your scope.

The same goes for the talent you pay for. A social media specialist requires a specific skillset that is not easy to find. It’s also apparent that not all influencers are made equal. If you are only willing to pay a low CPA (cost-per-acquisition) or to exchange free products in return for social posts, then it’s hardly reasonable to expect a million views.

Check out our list below to see some of the skills that a Social Media Manager requires.

Social Media Manager Skills

·       Content planning

·       Budget planning

·       Community management

·       Agency management

·       Influencer management

·       Copywriting

·       Design / editing skills

·       Audience segmentation

·       Data analysis

·       Adeptness at keeping on top of trends

·       Crisis management

Doesn’t look so easy when you consider the skills list, does it?


Why a hybrid approach is key to success

There’s nothing wrong with separating out your paid, organic and influencer functions, but crossover is inescapable. What’s more, you shouldn’t be trying to escape it. A hybrid approach to social strategy means looking at how paid social, organic social and influencer marketing can cross-pollinate and complement each other.

This doesn’t mean applying entirely different targets to each. The best way to approach this is to decide on overall aims and then to decide on how each strata can help to achieve this by setting KPIs.

In the UK fashion sector 38% of brands are allocating 10-20% of their marketing budgets on influencers. Across all sectors, it is reported that 19.4% of UK marketers planned to increase their social media expenditure in 2021.

So, if your company’s social strategy isn’t paying off, it may be time to look again at budgets.

If you need help with your social strategy, get in touch. We’d love to chat!