Do You Have to Pay to Play on Facebook?

by Andrea Parins | 13 Mar 2014

If you’re an avid Facebook user, you may notice that sometimes you miss out on friends’ content in your News Feed. For example, while browsing Facebook, you may find out your friend got engaged, but then discover her post has already accumulated 300 likes and was posted a week ago. Similarly, you may manage a Facebook page for a business eventually realizing that only about 200 of the 1,000 fans of the page actually see the content. You may be wondering … WHY does this happen?

The answer is actually quite simple. Your friends, family, local news and favorite products are competing for space in your News Feed and Facebook cannot show them all. As of May 2013, Facebook reports almost five billion pieces of content are shared daily on the site. That’s five billion status updates of dog shaming, first birthday parties, baby announcements, wedding photos, articles on the ‘Top 5 Super Foods”, Polar Vortex weather updates and much, much more. In addition, your business may be trying to post about a recent sale, special event or new hire.

Your News Feed is now prime real estate. So how does Facebook decide who’s earned a spot at the top? Facebook wants to ensure its users get the most relevant and valuable content in order to sustain a loyal relationship with their customers. Therefore, based on your activity, Facebook tries to present the content it thinks you want to see. Considering how much activity on Facebook is “personal,” posts by businesses don’t have much chance of achieving a high rank on their own.

The reality is, to stand out in the 5 billion daily status updates a brand must invest to reach their customers and potential customers. But before you cut your content creation hours to free up cash for advertising, it’s important to review your overall Facebook strategy. The success of your paid media on Facebook hinges on a solid strategy with engaging content because if the people you pay to reach don’t interact with your posts, then Facebook will not continue showing your content. Then, you’re basically throwing marketing dollars out the window.

In an effort to spend your dollars wisely, you need to establish your audience, message, editorial plan and have experienced some successes (and mistakes) that have allowed you to understand exactly what content resonates with your customers. Then you can use your tested strategy and money together, to propel your content to the next level with Facebook advertising.

What type of content have you found to be most successful in your Facebook strategy? Have you used Facebook advertising to support your social media goals? What results have you found?

To learn more about establishing and executing a social media strategy that is supported with paid media, contact the social media experts at Insight Creative.

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