In today's era of severely limited organic reach, much of the PR and marketing world has turned to paid ads on Facebook to get messages through. And the number of those paying for algorithmic boosts continues to rise: Though it has yet to report its Q4 earnings, Facebook has already hit over $18 billion in ad revenue in 2016, already up one billion from its Q3 earnings in 2015, according to TechCrunch.
But for PR pros, it can be challenging to make the argument for budget dollars for paid social, especially for those working in highly regulated industries and nonprofits with limited marketing budgets.
To make the case for a social budget, it can be helpful to look at brands already using their resources wisely and successfully on social. Take TOMS, the shoe brand with a "One for One" mission to match every purchase with a donation to those in need worldwide. Its Facebook audience, almost 4 million strong, engages actively and often with its content, which makes use of emotive storytelling and high-quality images.
James Chong, senior manager of social customer engagement at TOMS, is tasked with managing TOMS' social budget while spreading its cause-related messaging to new audiences. He will be speaking on paid social strategy at PR News' Digital Summit Feb. 24 in Huntington Beach, and shares the arguments he's made to senior leadership for his social budget, below:
- You gotta pay to play—even within your own sandbox. Organic reach is very low. Most social networks require a paid budget to reach your own audience, let alone new audiences. Having a lot of followers doesn’t mean you’ll be able to reach them for free—follower size has become a vanity metric.
- ROI on paid social is both feasible and trackable. Paid social has been proven to drive traffic, revenue and engagement with its sophisticated targeting, optimization and integration with other channels like websites and email.
Ready to learn how best to use your budget dollars to drive ROI and grow your brand's audience? Register for PR News' Digital Summit, Feb. 24 in Huntington Beach, CA, and hear from PR pros at Boingo, eHarmony, Northrop Grumman and more on how they're winning new audiences with social content strategy and measurement.
- It's an opportunity to test, listen and learn. Paid social enables you to test targeting approaches to find out which audience groups best engage with and convert on its content. You can also test various forms of content to determine which works best.
- Paid social can grow your customer base. Paid social enables us to reach new users outside of followers, which we can add to our social databases and CRM to grow our community, eventually converting them into customers.
Follow James: @JamesChong
Follow Sophie: @SophieMaerowitz