Michael O'Neill

Social media marketers are more experienced, more data-driven and more targeted than ever.

In both the B2B and B2C spaces, social media posts are the most commonly used type of content in marketing campaigns. And LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are still the top three social platforms in terms of how marketers are distributing content.

But questions abound.

We’ve compiled some of the most common social media questions we hear each day and provided a bit of helpful commentary.

Got more questions? Let us know!

1. What is the best way to reach MY target audience, and should I do so organically or through paid ads?

It starts with understanding who your audience is and which social platforms they use.

This is where audience personas help.

You likely do not need to invest in organic or paid social campaigns on platforms where your customers don’t exist. Similarly, when starting out, running a campaign on a single channel can create a baseline from which to measure subsequent campaigns on other channels. This will allow you to see where you’re obtaining the best results, which can dictate future investments.

For more immediate results, paid ads may be a better option. However, this is a short-term, higher-cost strategy. You should combine paid ads with an organic social strategy to more thoroughly engage with your audience.

2. Should I follow back, like, comment and direct message back to everyone on ALL my feeds?

It may seem like proper social media etiquette to reciprocate follower engagement, but in general, do not feel beholden to the actions of ALL your followers.

Just because you earned a follow or a like doesn’t mean you now owe someone the same. However, it CAN be beneficial to reciprocate engagement with industry influencers and other brands that have large followings.

As for comments or direct messages, it’s best practice to respond to any and all of them. If you receive an absurd number of comments, however, don’t fight online battles with negative users, and don’t use generic responses every time – it’s OK if you limit your responses.

It would be way too time-consuming to engage with EVERY action on EVERY channel. Decide which feeds and which users may lead to actual business opportunities at some point and scope your plan of attack from there.

3. Can my social strategy be the same across all feeds?

Well, yes, it feasibly can, but it’s not recommended.

A successful one-size-fits-all social strategy doesn’t exist, and you shouldn’t treat your social users as if they are cut from the same cloth. You don’t go to LinkedIn to watch cat videos, do you? You’re not on Snapchat to find in-depth commentary on current events, right?

Understanding the real-world applications of social platforms is key to knowing how your audience intends to engage with your brand.

Your social strategy should be customized to the capabilities of individual platforms, your following across each channel and the types of content that best serve your commercial goals through social media.

More commonly, we’ve found B2B brands are allocating social spend to a singular platform instead of dividing up budgets across a large variety of potentially ill-fitted channels.

4. How do I know social media is worth the investment?

If you have no baseline data to look at and you’ve never run a social campaign for a business, then you may not have the confidence to give a firm answer on whether you know for certain that social media with generate ROI.

That said, well-planned campaigns, targeted social tactics and dedicated time spent on turning your social feeds into business assets will assuredly make each penny worth it.

Social media is how consumers obtain breaking news, review products to make purchasing decisions and build trust in those with which they interact. To tap into the agency of these consumers, you need to invest in social media.

Set up goal tracking in Google Analytics, sync your social analytics with a singular dashboard, monitor every ad dollar and optimize every organic social post: That’s how you know whether your investment is worth it.

Measure metrics like:

  • Reach.
  • Engagement.
  • Mentions.
  • Shares.
  • Links.
  • Impressions.
  • Pages/Session.
  • Social Referrals.

5. How much should I budget for a social ad campaign?

This is an important question with a highly variable answer.

The number of contingencies involved here is too great to offer general advice on campaign budgets. Here are some industry standards that can steer you in the right direction based on the total budget of your company:

  • Annual revenue spent on marketing: 5-15 percent.
  • Annual marketing budget spent specifically on digital marketing: 30-35 percent.
  • Annual digital marketing budget spent specifically on social media: 15-25 percent.

Likewise, marketers are expected to increase social media spend 89 percent by 2022.

Since social ads rely on a bidding structure, the more you pay, the more impressions your ads will receive. And the more impressions, the higher chance of clicks. So start small, and see how your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) pans out. If you’re seeing results, you can always invest more.

Your CPA equals cost-per-click (CPC) divided by conversion rate.

Using this formula, you can determine the max cost you’re willing to pay before your conversions begin tapering off. That’s how much you should budget.

6. How come I can’t see my social ads in action?

Paid ads are based on target audience behavior. Because you’ve likely set your ad parameters to display a given ad for only subset of social users, your ad appears for that audience, not you.

Behind the scenes, your ad campaigns are using cookies to track and determine search and social behavior, which you then use to glean insights into buyer personas. Serving ads to a high-intent persona is, of course, a best practice, but because your browsing history likely doesn’t align with your personas, you are inevitably left out of your own ad campaigns (and that’s a good thing!).

7. Do I really need social media if I’m in a boring industry?

It’s OK to run a business in a boring industry. But it’s NOT OK to be boring.

Taxes are boring. Insurance is boring. Shelving is boring.

In a way, this can be an advantage for your company. Imagine being the only business within the manufacturing industry that has a strong personality, an interactive online presence or a committed social following. Imagine offering something unique to customers beyond just price points and a phone call from Dennis, your top customer service rep.

Companies like Geico, 3M and Charmin are bustling on social media, and they provide branded experiences that shed important light on what these companies stand for, what they hope to achieve and who they are as humans behind their corporate names. Charmin makes toilet paper for Pete’s sake!

Social media isn’t a millennial trend for B2C brands. There are a world of opportunities to stand above the fray in niche B2B fields, as well.

8. How will social media directly lead to more business for my company?

You could also ask, “How do TV commercials or roadside billboards result in more customers?”

Social media marketing is about presenting your brand where customer attention exists. ROI in a dollar sense is not immediate, although ROI certainly exists in the form of conversions, engagement and brand reach.

The heart of social media is the fact that it positions your company one Google search, one share or one follow away from connecting with prospects who would have never known you existed otherwise. These are leads that are literally one click a way.

Combined with analytics, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to delight your existing customers and offer unique experiences to your target audience. It’s free to use and free to measure.

Ever looked at the cost of a TV ad these days?


Now that you have some answers, it’s time to kick-start your social campaigns.

Here’s some helpful data that can inform your direction:

  • 79% of internet users have a Facebook account.
  • Customer service through social media makes it easier to resolve issues, 59% of American social media users say.
  • Tweets with images generate 18% more clicks than those without.
  • LinkedIn users spend, on average, 17 minutes on the site each month.
  • 80% of time spent on social media occurs on smartphones.
  • 2 million businesses run Facebook ads.
  • 55% of B2B buyers conduct research via social media.
  • 78% of people state their purchasing habits can be influenced by companies’ posts on social media.

What social media questions do you have?