Boost Your Reach and Engagement With Paid Social

Katie Vaughan
October 10, 2017
As a business owner, you’ve likely poured your energy into building your social team, finding the perfect filters, and vibing those captions just right. Why?

As a business owner, you’ve likely poured your energy into building your social team, finding the perfect filters, and vibing those captions just right. Why? Because you, just like everyone else, assumed that the larger your network, the more opportunity you’d have to gain exposure and develop the following of potential customers you need. After all of this hard work, are you seeing your engagement flatline or fall? It’s a common complaint, but there’s an explanation—and we can help.

Organic Decline: You're a Needle in a Haystack

Social networks are changing constantly, and organic reach has been declining since 2014, but that’s not because people aren’t using social networks—they are more than ever. In 2017, Facebook has seen a 20% drop in organic page reach. What does that mean? It means that even though Facebook’s one billion daily users are still sharing and liking posts, the volume of content has boomed, making it easier for your posts to get buried.

If the average user is exposed to around 1,500 stories each time they log onto Facebook (really active users might see up to 15,000 stories), then those posts all compete against one another for a user’s attention. Facebook’s algorithm (like many social networks) helps filter which posts actually get seen, using countless factors. So, how do you ensure your posts win the day?

This graph shows the most recent dip in organic engagement:

Facebook Engagement Graph

The Solution: Paid Social

You still need to approach your social strategy with organic traffic in mind, but you simply can’t ignore paid social anymore. A consistent social strategy using content that is diverse and compelling will keep users engaged with your brand, while a paid strategy ensures that your brand is actually seen, by exposing your posts to the audience you’re after.

Here are a few examples of paid social posts that we’ve created:

Center for Women's Leadership

With a limited timeframe and budget, we created this ad for the Center for Women’s Leadership’s annual Power Lunch—it was viewed by nearly 9,500 people and garnered 253 clicks, 243 reactions, 15 shares, 18 page likes, and at least two direct ticket sales with a spend of $300. We achieved success with this campaign by hyper-targeting the audience and using thoughtful and varied creative.

Facebook Ads for Dresses

With a $1,500 monthly spend for this clothing company's Facebook ads, we’ve seen 9,000 impressions per month and 95 sales per month, with returns hovering around $5,300.

Stahl Firepit ads

Creating a branding campaign for Stahl Firepit, we targeted Facebook video ads to friends of Stahl’s current followers and purchasers. With a mere $75 spend, we reached close to 3,000 people and gained 400 video views, which amounted to just $0.22 per video view.

So, What Now?

First, consider the following when you approach paid social:

  • Determine how much you should be spending. For example, if your budget is limited, start out with as little as $50-100, though effective large-scale campaigns might require at least $500 per month in the long run. To determine the right budget for you, identify your specific goals (increase followers, more direct sales, etc), your cost per conversion, your conversion rate, and the maximum amount of budget you'd be willing to invest.
  • Figure out who you should be targeting. Paid media allows you to reach only the demographics you’re looking for, making for more interested and engaged followers. Think carefully about which users are most valuable to you and your brand.
  • Decide what platforms you should be utilizing. Are you looking to reach millennials? Try Instagram. Do you sell products online? Consider Pinterest.
  • Think about what type of ads will work best for your brand, and which are most appropriate for the platform you are targeting. Video? Images?

Things to Remember About Paid Social

  1. MEASURE CAREFULLY: Set goals that make sense for your business and use Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to measure your campaign’s success.
  2. PICK PLATFORMS THAT WORK FOR YOU: Consider your business objectives and where your target audience spends their time.
  3. TAKE AIM: Target the people you want with ad creative or content that is most relevant to them. Speaking of which...
  4. GREAT CONTENT STILL MATTERS: Like any other marketing platform, paying for space is just part of the equation. Use high-quality imagery that is clean, compelling, and aligns with your brand. Give a boost to your organic content that is already proving successful.
  5. DON’T GET STALE: Refresh your ad creative regularly and formulate new ideas and variations based on your best performers.
  6. TEST, TEST, TEST: Adjust and test different aspects of your campaign, as your budget allows—try different keywords, bids, demographics, copy, images, and posting times. If certain segments aren’t performing, cancel that spend and set up a new test.
  7. LEARN AND IMPROVE: Keep track of what works and what doesn’t so you can use those best practices in future campaigns.

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