I’m 35 years old, and I remember when I first got a Facebook page. It was pretty amazing that when I posted something, it would reach thousands of people and every once in awhile, something would even reach tens of thousands.
But since those early days of Facebook, things have changed.
If you were a small business that was engaged in Facebook early on, chances are that you are aware that the algorithm has tightened significantly. I have often kicked myself for not being as active on Facebook during the early years because I know I could have gained so many followers compared to what we have now.
Business owners are often hesitant to invest time and resources into social media because they don’t see a great return on investment.
“Why should I spend money on Facebook when I’ve never gotten a sale from it?“
Most small businesses end up asking a question concerning whether or not they have to pay for advertising in order to make Facebook work in their favor.
I’m going to quickly answer that – Facebook isn’t going to help your business unless you do paid advertising. The only other way to have success on the network without using paid advertising is by having absolutely incredible content. And by that, I mean that the things getting organic reach are those that truly provide massive value to consumers.
Not even paid advertising is going to help you – unless you have a strategic and tactical marketing plan to implement.
The Why Behind the Spending
So why is it that we have to pay for advertising in order to get Facebook to benefit our small businesses? The answer is more telling than you might think.
Sometimes it can be difficult to remember why Facebook and Google work so hard to create amazing user experiences while giving it away for free.
Why do Google and Facebook spend so much on their cutting-edge free technology? So that people will use it.
When people are using the platforms of Google and Facebook, that means there is an audience that can be advertised to.
Anybody that has a business page on Facebook is probably wondering why they don’t see massive results from the posts that they create.
The question we want to talk about today is whether you need to pay for Facebook advertising in order for it to benefit your business.
Facebook used to allow profile posts and business page posts to spread across their platform pretty easily. When you share a post and people like or re-share it, you are getting what’s called organic reach.
Organic reach used to be easy – until Facebook went public.
Facebook worked to create a cool platform that more people would want to spend their time on, and then once they had garnered enough users, they transformed it into a profit-making machine and went public.
Facebook stock didn’t do incredibly well at first, but now it has bloomed because their model proves to be effective.
The bottom line is that people like to use Facebook to do all sorts of things. Whether it’s looking at family photos, arguing about politics, showing their collections, or taking part in micro-communities in Facebook groups, Facebook has continued to retain users.
Facebook does not need to give out organic reach because, for most businesses, it is profitable to do paid advertising.
So the answer is yes, if you want consistent success on Facebook you’re going to have to pay for advertising.
Four Keys to take note of as a small business owner concerning Facebook.
One – Because Organic Reach Stinks, Don’t Focus on Getting Likes and Followers
There are a couple of different strategic approaches when it comes to Facebook advertising, and we’ve been seeing that it’s a poor return on investment to seek a large audience.
There are examples of businesses and Facebook pages that have hundreds of thousands of followers, but their organic reach is still dismal.
So it seems that getting likes and followers on your Facebook page doesn’t necessarily give you the ability to connect with that user base predictably. Sure, when you have lots of followers you’re going to have a higher organic reach on the things that you post – but those organic posts are out of your control compared to paid advertising.
If you’re going to use Facebook for your small business, you’re going to want to do paid advertising with a very strategic backend system setup.
You will want to find a way to get people into your sales funnel, capture emails and phone numbers, and give away various low commitment lead magnets to entice people.
In other words, we don’t recommend paying for likes or for clicks, we only recommend using Facebook advertising for highly strategic and tactical conversion.
Two – Don’t Trust Facebook With Your Bidding
We found that in order to have success with Facebook advertising, you should not simply boost a post or allow Facebook to make the decisions for you.
Manual bidding is not a simple process, but it yields much better results than the more automated systems within Facebook.
When compared to AdWords Express, we see that Google AdWords is a much more precise and accurate way to target the right customers at the right time.
In the same way we recommend using AdWords over AdWords Express, we also recommend doing manual bidding and precise targeting with Facebook.
We don’t recommend simply boosting a post or handing over the keys to Facebook spending. They have a tendency to see very little return on investment, and it’s essentially pouring money down the toilet.
Three – Use Custom Targeting
Did you know that you can upload an email list into Facebook and target those people? Did you know that you can upload a list and build audiences that are like what you uploaded?
People have no idea that the real technicians in the Facebook advertising world are highly skilled at targeting specific groups of people.
You can combine purchased lists of locations, home ownership types, and all sorts of other data which can then be uploaded into Facebook and targeted.
It’s confusing the amount of data that Facebook has, and using a targeted list like this can really help make sure that your Facebook advertising is showing up in the correct News Feeds.
Four – Use Specific Landing Pages – Not Broader Home Pages
Your Facebook advertising should be highly strategic and tactical and shouldn’t just push people towards your homepage.
Each advertisement you use should have a specific targeted audience, touching on a pain point, dialed into a message, and have a low commitment conversion goal.
All of those factors should be on a specific landing page that can tactically deliver and convert.
Your homepage is probably not going to be the spot to push Facebook advertising to. You need to create a very compelling, beautiful, practical, and highly convertible landing page.
You don’t necessarily need to pay for Leadpages or some of the other landing page software out there, but you should work very hard on what your lead magnet would be and what core focus the message will hit on. You should also have the proper site functions such as forms, pop-ups, and even locked content in certain cases.
The bottom line is that you need to have the machine behind the landing pages in order to convert Facebook clicks to some sort of tangible results.
So if you’re wondering if the only way to make Facebook work for your business is to pay for advertising, then I would assure you that the answer is yes. Facebook doesn’t need to give out organic reach anymore, because it’s showing that the platform has a committed user base, it’s advertising tools are effective, and that you can make lots of money if you do it properly.