Welcome to the virtual neighbourhood

At the start of every posting season, our local military base presents a free community openhouse. It includes shuttle buses, tours of tanks and other assorted artillery, a local business expo with giveaways, a BBQ, and more. Families from the city come to see their friends and ultimately welcome newly posted families.

This event is a major opportunity for local businesses to promote its products and services to a desirable market, not to mention the military promoting its values to its employees, their families and the community as a whole. I don’t think I have ever heard a complaint regarding this ‘free’ event, despite the promotional and advertising elements throughout the event.

A loose comparison can be made for individuals, businesses and organizations using social media to promote their personal brands, connect with like-minded individuals and customers and talk with friends.

Last week,  an artist posted how annoyed he was at the “sponsored” posts on Instagram and complained how he didn’t want to be be ‘solicited’ by anyone on Instagram. This artist was using Instagram to feature his works and his creative process.

If you agree this this statement, you might as well stop reading right now.

  1. This platform is free. Free. How do you think they make such seamless user experiences and generate revenue to do so?
  2. This paid attention is still incredibly underpriced. Even with highly targetted ads, you are paying on average about $5 per thousand impressions. There is really no other way to microtarget potential customers at such an incredibly low cost, even compared to Facebook advertising, which is also a bargain.
  3. You don’t HAVE to use social media. Using these platforms is a choice – but if you want to spend time on the platform, sponsored posts and ads are the current reality.

You can read a great article about the ROI for Instagram ads here.

If you are willing to pay for a phone number so you can connect with people, or put up with businesses at a free event, consider taking advantage of hyperlocal, microtargetted opportunities with paid social media posts. Perhaps your artistic practice or small business could use these to grow and succeed too.

Want to learn more? Check out these great tips for getting started with Instagram by Neil Patel.


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