Social Media: Facebook Advertising Redux

‘Organic’ isn’t always about food

I haven’t been a fan of paid social media advertising. When I started working in the field, companies weren’t convinced about spending money to get people to ‘like’ their content. How did you value a ‘like’? Was it the same a ‘views’? Could they be compared to ‘TRP’s? What was the return on investment, ROI, on say every $1 you spent on Facebook?

 

We used to stress on ‘Organic’ growth or letting people stumble on your content when they came across a tweet, a share or a like by their friend. Anything else felt like paying for people to like you, something that firms didn’t like to do. Organic growth ensured that true fans found your content and shared it across to other dedicated fans. The logic was that such a strong fan based community would always stay by your brand.

 

But times have changed. In the constant babble on the social web, its hard for brands to find people who would genuinely like them, its also hard for people to find brands. Getting your voice heard in a roomful of shouting people is hard.

 

Paid advertising neatly solves this problem. On Facebook, a spend as little as Rs 85/day can help your brand reach people who’ve already mentioned on their timeline that they like the space your brand operates in. For a brand its about reaching out to a potential community of fans without having to hope and wait for the fans to stumble across something they may like. This approach costs less: the cost of creating content and waiting (often these amount to wasted man hours) is far more than paying up to be heard.

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Case in point: last week I started a little Facebook advert that was targeted to people in Delhi who like social media and social media marketing. BlueAnt needed this push, I wanted to find people who might like to join me. The page’s graphs sky rocketed:

 

Over a weekend, 6th to 8th of October, BlueAnt acquired almost 100 fans with 15 of those fans writing in asking for interviews and details on the job I was offering. For the entire exercise I spent Rs 250. Hopefully, one of them will be joining me soon. That’s the ROI for you.

 

The sheer effectiveness of the advertising makes the ‘organic’ argument stand on its head. But more than that, it makes me wonder: People who saw my advert are people who like social media, they’ve said so themselves, so if I spend a little money to reach out to them and they in turn ‘liked’ the page on seeing it, how is that different from Organic ‘true-fan’ based growth?

 

In my opinion there is no difference.

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