• Alanna Poole

PAY TO PLAY: Why You Should Be Using Paid Social Media


The world of social media marketing is evolving. A shift is occurring in the way marketers get their content to an audience. Some marketers may say we are going back in time, but maybe that’s a good thing? Here’s why.

Organic Reach Is Slowly Declining

A company’s ability to reach their audience by using free exposure on social media sites (organic reach) is declining. Facebook has changed it’s algorithm to have news feeds focus more on what people’s friends are sharing. According to Ogilvy, organic reach on average is only getting through to 6% of people who liked a brands page. Stats like this are disconcerting to marketers, who are missing out on most of their potential audience. Other social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest are moving in the same direction. For example, due to the abundance of posts on Twitter, a company's tweet will only reach an average of ~10% of their followers. With these changes to the world of social, it seems more and more unlikely that companies will be able to take a “free ride” to gain exposure on social.

Marketing Has Never Been Free

Our CEO, Tessa May Marr, was recently quoted in a VentureApp interview saying:

“In the beginnings of social media, people often thought of it as free and that’s just not the truth. Making an impact in this space takes investment in both smart people who know and understand it and the platforms you want to execute in. In the days of traditional marketing, no one balked at the idea of paying for radio advertising or print or bus or billboard. And those gave us almost zero true measurable results in the way of impressions and clicks. Now we can see results much more sophisticated and yet we don’t want to pay. That has to shift.”

Marketing has never been free. And really, if you are utilizing time, energy and skills to create great marketing - why should it be? One of our partners, Katie Burkhart of Burkhart & Co. recently explored this topic in a post called The False Promise Of Free.

A recent cross channel media cost comparison performed by Marketing Science consulting group found that traditional advertising techniques - such as billboards and radio advertisements - cost between $5 to $10 per thousand impressions. The same study found that using paid ads in various social media networks cost around $2.50 per thousand impressions. With more people than ever before using social networks it’s a no-brainer for companies to move a larger portion of their marketing dollars towards social media and away from traditional methods.

The Future Is Pay To Play

As social media evolves, all of the major networks h