Jim Tobin Talks Paid vs. Organic Social at Expion Summit
The sun was shining in Raleigh as Expion kicked off its social business summit Mission Possible, but when Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media, took the stage, he painted a not-so-bright picture for the future of Facebook marketing. In his presentation, Jim focused on discussing the much debated topic of paid vs. earned social but started off by declaring that Facebook has a problem, which of course created a heavy – although short-lived – gray cloud over the room full of social media marketers.
So, according to Jim, what is Facebook’s problem?
First off, there’s a waning consumer interest in Facebook in general, and in particular it’s losing traction amongst teens to other social platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. He also said that fan growth is down, sharing that across the top 50 Facebook brand pages fan growth has fallen by over 12% since 2010 – it was 18% in 2010, but only 3.7% in 2012.
The biggest issue though, is that while brands spent $5.7B on Facebook advertising in 2012, paid social is not proving to be as effective as earned social. Supporting the premise, only 36% of people trust social ads whereas 92% of people trust recommendations from other people – which is what the value of a social network brings.
Jim also declared that ‘bought’ fans will destroy a brand’s Facebook page. He used one of his clients as an example showing that organic reach and interaction rates went down significantly after the brand deployed a paid fan acquisition strategy. Organic reach dropped by more than 50% after the brand employed a paid fan acquisition buy, and fan interaction dropped by 65%.
Despite the doom and gloom, Jim said there is a silver lining: organic posts drive better business results. Jim has seen that a social strategy that strives to generate organic as opposed to paid results, is generally more successful. To prove this point, Jim shared the below Starbucks example.
The moral of Jim’s story is that although Facebook’s paid acquisitions and sponsored ads are not proving to be effective, brands can still success through smart organic social programming. An organic approach will drive authentic fan engagement, better business results and will likely keep your accounting department a lot happier.
You can follow the Expion Summit conversation using #Expion13 or view Jim’s full presentation here: http://expi.co/010lu