Q: Given the not-so-recent changes in Facebook visibility of posts among fans, how useful is to still concentrate the part of social media effort on Facebook? Also, with your findings, how profitable -- from the traffic generation point of view -- is to invest in FB paid advertising?
A: A few years ago, you could say, “I’m on Facebook, that’s my social strategy.” Not any more. The majority of the online audience in the U.S. (52 percent to be exact, according to comScore) is using two or more social platforms -- about an eighth of the audience is using seven or more.
Should you be on Facebook? Yes, absolutely -- if you have content that’s appropriate for Facebook. But don't focus on all of your resources on Facebook. Instead, be everywhere. If you have photos, be on Instagram and Pinterest. If you have wisdom, be on Twitter. There are a lot of social platforms. (Have you heard of Secret or Whisper yet?) You should use them each if you’ve got something appropriate to offer.
But the buck doesn't stop at social, you should also use email (think newsletters), and you should also think about paid search and SEO.
I can’t speak to your specific company and your strategy, but I can give you this: Try everything and measure your returns so you can balance your mix.
If you are trying to sell product through an ad, you should measure everything in terms of ROI. That’s easy math. How much did you spend to get the returns you can track through those efforts? Eliminate the costly and double down on the efficient.
If you are trying to establish awareness or interest in your brand, the calculation is a little harder. What you care about here is how you can best deliver your message to the perfect audience. How much are you willing to pay to speak to the right audience, how can you be sure the audience you want is the one you buy and how do you measure the effect the message has on them? (Hint: Clicks don’t measure brand impact.) This also requires not just buying access to the audience but experimenting with what to say to them when you’re in front of them. The placement doesn’t make the impact, the creative does -- the placement gives your creative the eyeballs it needs to succeed.
Big companies have access to advertising opportunities that small businesses may not. But even small businesses have powerful advertising tools available to them through self-serve features on Facebook, Twitter, Google and others. Take a look at the ads you get on each platform -- you can bet many of those are from small businesses. Do they work? Well, some of them are priced on a cost per click, so if you are willing to pay the bid price for each click you get then they are very efficient. But the onus is on you to give them a reason to buy both before and after they click.