I Have to Pay Facebook for Reach?
The unfortunate answer to that question is a resounding yes.
For quite a few years after Facebook first started, when brands were jumping on the bandwagon left and right, we experienced a golden age of reach that will probably never be seen again in the social media world. Any brand could start their own Facebook business page and push content or updates out to anyone who liked their page – all for free, just like we can as individual users.
Because gaining users and building adoption was more important to Facebook than making money off brands, they were forced into a situation where they needed to allow anyone to post anything for free. Facebook was a giant brand bulletin board, and everybody could (and did) jump right in and throw their ads and promotions up.
Since then, things have changed. Drastically.
In the world of 2014, where every brand feels like they absolutely must be on Facebook or they’ll be missing out, the landscape has given a significant upper hand to the social networking giant. They have more than 1 billion users in their back pocket, and every day they’re taking more of them away from us and hiding them behind a wall that we have to pay to get over. The free ride is coming to an end fast.
Now when a brand posts an update to their Page, organic reach is usually less than 10%, not counting shares and expanded reach due to user engagement. That means that if you have 4,000 fans on Facebook, less than 400 of them are seeing each one of your posts. And the other 3,600 people have gone out of their way to express interest in your brand!
Even Facebook now admits that organic posts are ineffective, and they’re urging brands to pay for ads to increase reach. Despite these changes, there is still a very valuable audience on Facebook that you don’t want to miss out on.
So what can you do about it?
1. Start paying for Facebook ads
The sad truth of the matter is that you’re going to have to pay Facebook to get your message out. But is that really so different from every other medium? You wouldn’t just produce a television ad and place it on local TV networks for free. Media space costs money. And now you can’t just create a Facebook ad and throw it on Facebook for free either. To get the results you want, you’re going to need to set aside a budget.
2. Pay to boost your Facebook posts
The alternative to creating actual ads and running them on Facebook is to pay to have your organic posts boosted to a larger audience. As we said earlier, less than 10% of your fans will see your posts on average, but you can pay to increase that percentage and even target a specific audience to promote your organic content to.
3. Some combination of the previous two
The brands that are really seeing the highest ROI on Facebook are cleverly using some combination of the previous two strategies to reach a larger audience. Maybe you come up with promotions and run those through Facebook ads while you target your most profitable customers and pay for them to see your organic posts. Whatever the strategy, you’re going to have to spend money to make it work.
4. Hire someone to help
If any of that sounded overwhelming or complicated to you, your best course of action might just be to hire a social media agency to help (psst, we know some really cool people we can hook you up with). An agency can handle all the complicated targeting options, ad creation, monitoring and reporting for you while you’re free to focus on other projects or concentrate on the big picture.
No matter what you decide to do about it, make sure you do something. If you’re spending a lot of time creating organic content and pushing it out on Facebook, your time will be wasted if you aren’t fueling your posts with a budget.