13 Nov The Benefits of Facebook’s Push to Have Marketers Pay for Advertising
Earlier this year I sat in a marketing meeting led by an agency focused on helping Mississippi businesses (and really businesses across the Southeast) realize the potential of social media and digital advertising. One of the presenters made the comment, “Yes, Facebook is pushing businesses to spend money on advertising, but it’s really good for us as marketers. It affirms our position that social media is a relevant advertising media.”
Okay, so maybe she didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s pretty much how I heard it.
Earlier this year the social media giant instituted a new algorithm that reduces the reach for many businesses’ pages. Businesses were outraged–they still are.
“Facebook is just trying to make money off us,” they said.
“They’re forcing us to buy advertising,” they said.
And they were right. From the beginning the company has generated revenue. Take a look back at the history of the social media giant published by HubSpot.One of the very first things the company did was allow advertising. They called it “flyers” and mostly they had ads for local parties. In 2009 they allowed businesses to set up and target their own advertising.
Let’s be real here. You created your business to solve a problem for someone else. You created it to offer jobs to people in your community. You created it to make an income. Maybe you honestly do not desire to strike it rich and sell your company for millions. Maybe you do. But the goal of any company is to be profitable. Even non-profits have to generate revenue to stay afloat.
Facebook is a company. Now it is a company with publicly held stock, which means more people than just Mark Z. are expecting it turn a profit. Are some of those folks greedy? I’m sure they are. But that doesn’t change the fact that as a company it can not, and will not, offer its greatest asset for free.
What is that greatest asset? you ask. Its data on its followers.
My response to those who bemoan having to finally pay money for advertising on social media is “what do you expect?” Businesses do not expect the newspaper to give them free advertising. The television station isn’t showing your ad for free. The radio station won’t promote you for free.
If we see the value of our followers enough to be upset that our reach and engagement has lowered, then we’ve realized the power and benefit of the network. Now it’s up to us to decide where to go from here.
First, don’t try to cheat the system by using a personal page for your business. It’s against the rules of Facebook. They can and will remove your profile. You will lose all your data and your content. So just don’t. K?
In addition to it being against the rules, your personal page does not allow you to gather the insights provided by a Facebook business page nor does it allow you to advertise. So while you might in the short term reach more people, in the long term, you’ll lose out on valuable information and the ability to reach people who don’t already know you.
This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t talk about your business on your personal page. Go ahead and share a great post from your company on your personal page, just not every day. The Social Media Examiner provides some excellent ways to use your personal page to supplement your business page.
Second, get ready to create a digital marketing plan to take advantage of the data they have gathered about their followers. Just as you chose the magazine or television station with the target market most similar to yours, you’ll want to choose a social media demographic that mirrors who would buy from you.