Great content isn’t enough – you must pay to play

It’s not news that Facebook is reaching the naught in terms of organic reach by branded posts. Brands initially viewed social media marketing as a less costly way to reach their target. Small businesses especially, without a huge marketing budget, thrived on this arrangement. No longer are Facebook and other social media platforms the “cheap way” to market.

Earned and owned media is merging with paid. You’ve got to pay to play. Brands have been trapped in a freemium game – they were get sucked in and enjoying themselves, but the only way to get to the next level is to fork over a few quid. Eat24 is one company that is rebelling against this standard and is leaving Facebook entirely to focus on other social platforms (including, ironically, the Facebook-owned Instagram). 

Eat24 has one thing right, and that’s it’s important to have a diverse mix of marketing channels within social media more so now than ever before. The necessity of promoting posts on Facebook and Twitter will continue to rise, and there are alternative networks where content could still have an impact with the target audience without spending a penny. However, play time is running out as the major social platforms (such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and LinkedIn) quickly find viable ways to generate revenue with promoted content.

PR, social, creative or content marketing teams are the chief experts in developing and executing a brand’s content on social platforms. Now media buying teams have joined the game – invited or not.

PR and media have long been at other ends of the spectrum when it comes to marketing strategy and spending, but it is imperative these different teams are fully integrated in their social strategy. Great content has a limited chance of breaking through without paid support, and poor content will not succeed despite being promoted. This poses a challenge to agencies, which will have a difficult time selling the increased cost of social given the imprecise return.

Therefore, agencies need to demonstrate the return on the increased spend using metrics that clients can easily digest. They don’t want to hear about how the algorithm works, they just want to see that the agency is able to navigate the algorithm to deliver the best results.

Since Facebook isn’t the only game in town, brands do not need to tie themselves down to one platform in order to execute effective campaigns. However, Facebook has such a significant user base and its sponsored post targeting is so valuable, that it’s a mistake to ignore it completely – especially as the other major platforms adopt a similar model for promotional content. Departments or agencies need to develop great content plans and need to work hand-in-hand with the promotional team to have the greatest impact with that content … or else you’ll be stuck on level one while the competition collects its gold coins.

Jim Hawker, co-founder, Threepipe

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