In the mid 2000s, pop rock band Panic! At The Disco grew a large enough fanbase for the music industry to take notice, so much so that they were signed before ever playing a show for an audience. They climbed to popularity this entirely through growing a massive following on Myspace and engaging with an online audience.
Fast forward to 2013. Twitter and Instagram are bastions of free interactive outreach and engagement. Facebook has monetized and begun the early stages of their Facebook Business Manager product.
This brings us to present day - Facebook has monetized their value to the point of significantly limiting organic reach. After purchasing Instagram in 2016, Facebook has also monetized Instagram and begun limiting organic post on that platform as well. Twitter activity worldwide has been on the downward slope for a while, and Snapchat, the last major platform with free social media interaction, has yet to provide any tools, analytics, or marketing infrastructure for marketers to utilize.
Paid Media: The New Normal
This presents a dilemma for business, both on the side of the marketers and of the client businesses marketers partner with. A majority of businesses are already behind the curve on utilizing social media as any sort of marketing tool, and the industry is changing exponentially faster than businesses can keep up. Most small businesses owners have familiarized themselves with the idea of having a Facebook page and managing it within the last few years - yet in today’s landscape maintaining a social media page is only a small piece of the puzzle.
Social advertising reigns supreme in the current digital marketing climate. The #1 best way to market a brand is through paid social advertising, specifically through Facebook Ads and pay per click (PPC) ads on google adwords, which have now become universal tools at the frontier of digital marketing. For any business or brand who is looking to significantly boost growth for their business, social advertising is an absolute must.
Long Term Strategy
That doesn’t mean that organic social media strategy is obsolete, however. For all of the valuable conversions social advertising can bring, these instances do little for long term brand development. This is where a strong, consistent organic social media strategy is still valuable. Posting to various social media platforms several times per week as well as developing an online network across said platforms will pay dividends in the long run. It’s important to represent that you are consistently active across social media platforms by posting and interacting with your audience daily. It will set the precedent that they can come to your platforms to interact with you, address their concerns with you, and stay up to date on special events or other information pertaining to your brand.
If social advertising is your way of opening the door to your brand, then consider your organic social community what is on the other side of that door. If you simply focus on the short-term gains of social advertising, your results, while initially satisfactory, will plateau without continuing to build upon your brand’s foundation. In addition, Facebook’s algorithm factors your organic social presence into the performance of your paid advertising. Make no mistake - while organic social media is no longer the primary way of generating conversions, it is vital to a brand’s longevity.
The advancements made in the digital marketing industry over the past five years have been significant, but come at a higher price. A marketing budget in the present day must be larger than previous eras of digital marketing due to the need for both organic social for long-term brand development and paid social advertising to achieve concrete goals for your marketing campaign. Giving it a half hearted 'test it' out approach or trying it with slightly less budget and looking for results before committing simply doesn’t work because it’s not giving a well-rounded marketing strategy a fair chance.
An increase in recognition of the significance of social advertising will help brands in 2017, but the business models that allot for both social advertising as well as long-term brand development will last far beyond this year. For any well-rounded digital marketing strategy, one cannot exist without the other.