Social Media: Pay-to-Play?

Social media algorithms are in a state of constant flux – and that state often gives business owners and marketers heartburn (or should I say acid-reflux?). Similar posts often have great disparity in reach and interaction, certain types of posts seem to get almost no organic reach at all, and other posts seem to outperform all their peers for no apparent reason.
Wrapping your head around the how and why of social media reach is enough to make anyone’s head spin. Understanding just how Facebook determines what to show and what not to show is a full-time job – and even at that the best we can hope for is educated guesses and inferences.
Then they complicate the problem with that little blue ‘boost post’ button looming at the bottom of every post. There is a great temptation to throw up our hands and just start throwing money into boosted posts. It would certainly be easier, wouldn’t it? But before you give up on understanding social media algorithms and start throwing your hard-earned money around consider these four steps to determine what, how, and when to boost your posts.

1. Target your Posts

If your posts aren’t getting the reach you hope for, maybe you need to refine your target audience. Before you start spending money on boosting posts, make sure that you are reaching the people you want to reach. This includes all aspects of your posts – copy, images or videos, and the times that you post. By combining your target audience personas with your social media analytical tools, you can find out what to post and when to post it. Getting this step right is the first step in determining what and when to post.

2. Be Patient

Building a social media presence is a marathon not a sprint. It takes time to build a trust and a loyal following – so don’t rush to blow your advertising budget in your first month on social media. Paying for boosted posts and advertising can be a great way to grow your following, but make sure you’re offering something worthwhile to new followers. Focus on providing valuable content before rushing into a paid marketing campaign.

3. Don’t Over Sell

Social media is about interaction and entertainment – not heavy sales pitches. The temptation is to boost posts that encourage sales and conversions, but that’s a quick way to push away followers. There is a time for a (soft) sales pitch, but if that’s your only focus then paying to boost probably isn’t going to bring the return on investment you’re hoping for. Prove that your social media accounts are worth following and then slip in a sales pitch once you’ve built that reputation.

4. Pay for What’s Popular

Far too many people pay to boost under-performing posts. The thought process makes sense – you put the time and effort into crafting a post and only 50 people have seen it, so why not drop a few bucks to increase the reach. The problem is that those posts are under-performing for a reason (or a number of reasons), but throwing some money at it won’t fix the problem. Instead boost your most popular posts – they are tested and proven. Posts with lots of interactions and shares have made an impact, so capitalize on that by paying for those impactful posts to reach even more people. And use the successful posts to figure out what works and why it works.

Be Sustainable

Blindly throwing money at social media isn’t a sustainable strategy. Instead of swinging in the dark, consider following the above four steps as a good starting place for considering what and when to pay for social media reach. Of course, it is only a start but we must start somewhere. And so much of running a successful social media presence comes from experience and trial-and-error.
If you’re taking the trial-and-error approach (which I recommend), then it is vital to develop a social media strategy that is sustainable. Blowing through your advertising budget in the first two months because there’s not consistent plan in place isn’t the way to do that. Instead follow the simple steps laid out above: target your posts, be patient, don’t over sell, and pay for what’s popular. Fusion Group USA offers extensive social media management services – so if all this sounds like too much time or effort then contact us today and see how we can help you manage a sustainable social media presence.

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