You don’t need me to tell you how hard it is to gain visibility, engagement and a loyal, genuine following on social media. It’s the constant battle that bloggers face. Ultimately we just want our content to be seen but in a seriously over-saturated marketplace, it’s becoming increasingly difficult.
You know the drill. Slaving away over content, embarrassing your friends and family by going out of your way to get the perfect Insta picture, spending hours engaging with blogger content. And goddammit another ten people have unfollowed you and suddenly you’re going backwards. Then you have to remind yourself that you DO love blogging and you DO want to make this work. But not before you’ve declared in a wine-fuelled tantrum that you’re going to give it all up because what’s the point and nobody even notices my content. Phew, what a rant. What a dilemma.
Which leads me onto the point of this post. What about spending a little bit of money to put your content in front of people who may actually be interested in it? I’m talking social media advertising for bloggers.
Why should I listen to you, Jessie?
Honestly, I have absolutely no idea.
Kidding, I actually do it for a living. Social media advertising, that is (along with other bits and bobs like SEO and other digital marketing mania). I’ve had a lot of experience running social media advertising campaigns for a range of different clients and all in all it’s been extremely successful for them in terms of achieving their objectives.
Ah but the difference is that these are businesses and they’ve got swanky marketing budgets. Why should I, as a mere small-time blogger, spend money when I’m already giving you all so much of my time for FREE? I don’t really have an answer to that but being curious, I thought I’d give it a go.
That’s right, I experimented with my money so you don’t have to. You’re welcome!
Okay so I only spent a minuscule amount of money, I’m talking like twenty quid. I’m not made of money guys.
From experience I know that a pretty fail-safe objective to choose was increasing traffic to my blog (more on that later). But this was an experiment, I wanted to try something that I wasn’t sure was going to work. From speaking to other bloggers and my own personal experience, I know that one of the biggest frustrations faced by bloggers is trying to build a genuine following on Instagram. As per my above rant.
I decided the objective of my little campaign would be just that, to push my Instagram account in the hope of gaining genuine engagement and followers. All Instagram advertising has to be done via Facebook (because Facebook own everything) through the Adverts Manager but you can choose for your adverts only to be shown on Instagram. Although there is an objective for getting more Facebook page likes, there isn’t one for gaining more followers on Instagram. It’s kinda annoying. So the next best option was engagement.
I’m not going to talk you through exactly how I set up the ad and which options I chose because I would literally be here all day and neither of us have time for that. I will likely reserve that tutorial for another post, so stay tuned! If you give a crap.
I’ll cut to the chase. It was a pretty big fail. Sure I got loads of likes for this particular Instagram picture but frankly I didn’t really care about likes in this instance. Anyone can like, it’s too easy. And it’s not gaining me anything in terms of conversions.
Twenty quid later I can safely say that it is pointless trying to build a following on Instagram via paid advertising. Seriously just don’t bother. Back to the drawing board on that one I’m afraid.
So social media advertising is pointless for bloggers?
Slow your horses kiddo, that is not the case. It depends on your objective. As I mentioned earlier, from my experience, Facebook advertising is great for increasing traffic to your website/blog. However, full disclosure here, there is an art to getting it right.
Anyone can launch Adverts Manager, plug in some credit card details and select an objective. But to be really successful you must get every aspect right, from audience selection to the copy and images. It often takes a fair bit of A/B testing and therefore a decent budget. Again, this is a whole other kettle of fish, so I’ll do a separate post on my top tips for running Facebook / Instagram adverts for increasing traffic.
Jeez Jessie, get to the point
Right, sorry. The long and short of it is that if you are happy to allocate a small budget to social media advertising each month then go for it. Just ensure that you are doing it for the right reasons: to increase traffic to your blog and hopefully convert these users into returning readers.
However, I would caution against spending much money on this. It depends on how serious you take blogging but if you are not yet earning any money from your blog then I would strongly advise not engaging with advertising. Unless you are extremely rich, in which case throw in all the cash you got.
On the other hand, if your blog is your business then you definitely need to start spending some time on social media advertising. When done right (that is the key, do it right), it can generate impressive results. Just make sure you have the budget first.
Have you ever tried social media advertising? How did you find it worked for you? Hit me up in the comments or on social!
Want more blogger tips? Check out the first post in my SEO basics for bloggers series.