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Ever since brands starting feeling the effects of Facebook’s algorithm change, they’ve been experimenting with boosted content and trying to determine what does and doesn’t work for them. Although every brand is different, they tend to fall into one of two camps: 1) Boosting works and has been adopted as part and parcel of Facebook posting, 2) The ROI on paid social is poor and the brand is turning to other methods. We spoke with brands and marketers who fall into both camps to see what has and hasn’t worked for them in their attempts to adjust.

Brands and agencies embracing and adding it to their social strategy

Masha Gaidouk, Social Media Strategist at iAcquire, has seen the positive results that can come from Facebook advertising, but because of the price tag attached to it, the sponsored promotions are reserved for select pieces of content. ”With the drastic decrease in organic reach, boosting Facebook content has become imperative for every brand page. At iAcquire, we have set aside a monthly ad budget to promote content that is most important for our brand – the content we really want to share with our audience and make sure they get a chance to see it. Our boosted content receives above average engagement and reaches the number of fans Facebook estimates during our purchase.”

Jon Clark, Founder of Fuze SEO, Inc., has also seen positive results from sponsored content, but his team uses a different approach. Rather than reserving budget for select posts, an incremental budget is being assigned to everything they post. “Previous to the change, we used to have a set budget to help promote specific posts for campaigns, events, etc. Now, we are giving everything we post an incremental dollar amount — at this point in time that amount happens to be $50/post. We have found this approach to be successful in helping to get initial shares, likes and lifting the content out of the abyss. While we have only been testing this for a short time, we are actually seeing improved organic reach even after the funds are depleted.”

For marketers who are working with many clients, it’s become essential for paid social to be included in budgets, pitches and packages. Elizabeth Ryder, Director of Social Media at Gossip Genie, details, ”We know that in order for our clients’ posts to be seen, we absolutely must put money behind boosting them, which we do on a regular basis. Facebook has been adding features to their ads platform which also helps with targeting.”

Courtney Herda, Founder/President Smarter Searches, has experienced a similar change in approach. “As a digital agency that represents small businesses, we’ve had to change our social media packages to include paid placements, advertising, and post promotion to ensure that our customers’ messages are seen by the right connections. We still focus on providing meaningful messages to our customers, but to make sure they are seen, we have to implement advertising dollars. Even though the messages behind social haven’t changed, the approach we take and the costs involved have changed.”

Small, independent brands turning to other options

Early on, we recognized that the group who would be hit hardest by Facebook’s algorithm change would be SMBs — brands who need and would love the exposure, but don’t have the audience base or budget to make use of advertising. Now that more small brands have had the chance to experiment with the feature, many are confirming their suspicions.

Writer Annalisa Parent has grown frustrated with the reduced organic visibility of her posts and sees Facebook as a far less effective networking tool than it used to be. “I paid for one boosted ad, and for my $20 first venture I got fewer than 10 new likes. It seems a waste of advertising dollars for the ROI.  It makes me feel disgruntled about Facebook; it’s an ineffective tool for advertising. I have turned more to Twitter — which is fabulous — and other social networking sites.”

Independent children’s author Tim Johnson says he’s experienced a similar ROI. “For a time I did embrace boosted posts and tried to get my presence out there using that as a vehicle. At first glance it is a great way to get the post seen, given that, for $5 one can 2,000 – 5,000 views which is far more than I would generally expect for one of my posts. And granted, the posts do receive the anticipated views but there is very little to no reaction or engagement with the posts. It is clear that the targeting features are not doing what they claim and that my actual followers are still not part of the audience receiving the post. Either that or they are seeing it in a way that makes it obvious that it is a sponsored post and they have developed habits that allow them to subconsciously skip over them during the browsing experience. Instead I will be encouraging people to sign up for my newsletter for relevant updates to things I’m working on and will not be relying on Facebook advertising.”

What are your thoughts? Are you a brand that has seen good results from your paid social experiments within Facebook? Or do you feel that your dollars are being wasted with little to show for it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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