Why Your Social Media Expert Needs an Advertising Budget

Marketing word cloudThe misconception that social media is free gives people the indication that they shouldn’t have to, or at least don’t plan to, spend money on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

From a business perspective, it’s nice to have that ‘free’ place to market, but in no way does it actually cost nothing to have a presence on social media.

For an example, let’s look at Facebook.

Social Media is NOT Free

It is free to sign up, make a fanpage, etc, unless you are paying an employee to do it for you, or hiring a social media contractor to do it.

Then you are paying their hourly rate, plus benefits, or per project for the contractor. It isn’t free.

As long as time is being spent on an activity for business, it isn’t free. With that kind of thinking, social media isn’t free.

In fact, with Facebook, the time spent on being active to increase exposure is quite expensive. This is why advertising is a good idea, and should be part of every social media marketing budget.

For example, an hour spent by an employee on Facebook (an employee properly trained to maximize social media) costs about $30 an hour, on the low end.

A social media contractor probably costs $50 an hour. During this one hour, the fanpage might pick up 3-5 likes. Spending that same amount on ads even at $3 per like is going to bring in 10-16 likes.

Social Media Advertising Isn’t Just About Likes & Followers

Admittedly, the first thought that comes to mind when considering Facebook ad management, is the getting more likes, but that isn’t necessarily the best, or only, way to use social media advertising.

In fact ads are very often used to collect leads without even having them like the fanpage.

This tends to make people cringe, but if the end idea is to either get more business or increase revenue, the like or follow isn’t necessarily needed, at least not when you get the lead itself (email, name, other personal information).

Why Your Social Media Expert Needs An Ad Budget

Ad Targeting

Social media advertising is the new pay per click. Similar to Google’s Adwords, where you would pay to be shown for certain keywords, you can do even more precise targeting with social media advertising, specifically Facebook and Twitter, but Linkedin is quite promising for B2B companies as well.


Traditionally to get significant traffic to a website quickly, pay per click was used. Now with the better targeting options, social media ads can be used to test the performance of a new offer/ landing page. There are also ways to set up tracking, conversions and a/b testing to make test runs work even more effectively.

Get Social Proof-

Some social media experts and their represented companies feel social proof is an important part of getting their fanpage or account to grow. In my own experience I have seen this work, but not everyone in the industry agrees on it. For those interested in growing their following much faster and economically than spending hours investing on the site, advertising is a great alternative.

Reach New Markets-

A fanpage tends to appeal to certain industries and players in those industries, but running short ads can easily help a company expand their reach into other markets. A simple ad with a tab application landing page is a great way to garner new likes from a different demographic.

Facebook offers many advertising opportunities for the fanpage, off site places, that it makes a great place for testing what works and what doesn’t.

Offering your social media expert a budget to use on a monthly basis gives them access to a new tool that can make a significant difference to the success of a social media campaign.

If you’ve found that Facebook advertising has been beneficial to your company, do you mind sharing how you decided on a budget? What was your expert able to achieve with their ad campaigns?

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  1. Totally agree, there seems to be a misconception out there that social media is free and I think the sooner the notion is dropped the better. Setting a small daily budget to test the waters is often the best way to show a client the value of having a well planned, implemented and monitored social media advertising campaign. When they can see the ROI in front of them it becomes rather compelling. Cheers, Rob

    • Hi Robert,
      Thank you for commenting. I can’t wait until the ‘free’ idea is dropped, it is so misleading for companies. I love the idea of using ads, it is so useful in proving ROI quickly. Showing results almost immediately really seems to put new clients at ease. We should chat sometime, are you on Skype?


  2. Hi Mary!
    I’m quite new to the business but I have been following your blog for a while. I love your article for summing up clearly the arguments to get rid of the ‘free’ misunderstanding!

    I have a question though regarding Facebook Ads. I have experimented a bit and closely followed up the results and my experience with Ads that are aimed at Fanpage likes are very disappointing. Yes you get “fans” in but in my experience they were ALL people that didnt have the profile of my “organic” fans (people interested in social media for nonprofits). They also never ever engaged with page. I visited their profiles and they were all people liking a bunch of pages, mainly trademarks & brands. I am convinced Facebook somehow has contracted some of those obscure companies that pay people to click on likes.

    It might be interesting for social proof to have more fans but these paid fans certainly messed up my metric for % of fans that engaged with my page!

    What are your thoughts or experience on this?

    • Hi Lize,
      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. I’m glad you like my blog, sometimes I write and I think “who is going to want to read this?” but it seems to be doing well.

      I was having some issues with people and social media being free, like if it is free it must be easy and anyone can do it- oh well, I guess they will figure it out.

      For the ads, I don’t love the results I get from FB advertising. I’ve found that even when I choose demographics very carefully, I get a low cost per click, but it’s an ad, people click like and move on, they aren’t learning more about the business, and since they probably like new pages often, it’s difficult to reach them on their newsfeed, or they don’t even remember why they liked the page and they don’t want to engage.

      Organic fans are so much more useful for any business (maybe one of us should write a post about that?). Social proof to a point looks good, but I like engagement a lot more. I would be interested in hearing what Jon Loomer has to say about your results, have you approached him?

      • Hi Mary!
        Thanks for the reply! Your blog is extremely interesting – no worries about that and go on!

        I understand that Facebook is an advertising medium like any other and that advertising is and will always be something people are not very interested in and will zap away – I don’t have a problem with that.

        But what I don’t like about it is what I mentioned – that because you pay for it Facebook needs to guarantee some results and breaks (as it seems) its own rules of ‘buying’ Fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they apply the same technique of buying clickers for any CPC Ad, not only for gaining fans.

        I am still learning about ads and only recently discovered Jon Loomer’s blog, but I will certainly keep a close eye on the issue and approach him with my results – thanks for the tip!

        I agree with you that it is much better to concentrate on engagement of just a couple of hundred fans and that’s what I am trying to do, at least at my own Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/eclecticlines.

        Most of those fans are people that were already in my network but through them (and my daily posting of course) I have gained some true new fans that are extremely enthusiastic, responsive and applauding. It takes some time to build up an engaged fanbase but I think it is much better to have only 300 fans and 20% of them engaged and grow organically from that point on. So that’s the strategy I am going to sell my clients!

        • You are spot on in your article. I agree totally. I have come to the same conclusion marketing for clients as well.

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