TOUGH NUMBERS: Yes, I know paid content is great but what if you’ve got no money?


There was an interesting discussion on paid advertising on Twitter this week. 

It centred around the importance of paid content on social media. In other words, the post you’ve backed with some money so it can reach pinpointed people.

I absolutely get the importance of paid. It can cut through the noise to get to the 25-year-old from Stafford who loves brass bands and who would love to go to your brass band convention up the road in Uttoxeter. Paid is an art. I’ve been experimenting with it for a while on a few things.

The discussion was prompted by Stephen Waddington. A former President of the CIPR Stephen is someone I’ve got a lot of time for.

He’s right. Knowing the when, where and how of paid is an important string to have to the bow.

But later in this thread…

Malpractice? Or not?

I simply don’t agree that you’re committing malpractice if you are a communicator not using paid.

I don’t know Marshall but I’ll dial back 50 per cent on the table banging just to be on the safe side. But it did make me stop and think.

My background is local government comms. This sector has taken a 40 per cent hit in budgets since the bankers burned down the economy. There is very often no money for paid.  That’s not because comms people are poor at demonstrating the value of their worth. It’s because there’s no money. Literally.

In my own head, this is where things get interesting. How do you reach people on social media when you’ve got no budget?

Sharing content in a time of no budget

Well, you can try and craft engaging content

You can do the tried and tested devolving access and accounts.

But if you don’t have people queueing up to like your page you’re in trouble.

For me, part of this is through knowing your way around Facebook groups.

A few weeks back I ran a workshop for NHS comms people to look closer at Facebook. Setting them the task to look for groups they found a patchwork of Mums and Babies groups. There was one with 300, one with 1,200, another with 2,300 and one with 100.

Those may not be big numbers compared to the wider population but they’re the right numbers if you’re after new Mums.

It’s also setting up access for Instagramers at picturesque locations you have can control access to.

In short, its being creative and working to connect with real people.


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