Deciding whether you should "pay to play": Is it worth it?
The pay to play announcement has been very disturbing to many of our clients, friends in business and attendees to our classes. When someone has invested a great deal of time into something it becomes a very important part of one's business. We have worked closely with many small businesses to help them achieve a respectable Facebook footprint as a way to stay in touch with their existing customers and tap into the power of Facebook to connect to those client's friends and families.
Every business owner understands the need for the "bottom line" and while, yes, Facebook definitely has made a little profit this year (haha), they are still a business and we've all seen this shift coming. It has been talked about and shared for a long time now so we really only have to make a decision and that is to either jump on board or sit back and let it go.
We have been watching our clients' Facebook pages diligently and specifically for a decline in reach. We haven't seen it yet but we know it is coming and have been wondering a few things ourselves. If a page already has a very nice following, high engagement and continual growth but doesn't pay for boosted posts or ads then will they really see a dramatic decline? What if a page is brand new and does not have a strong following or engagement yet; how much will they need to spend to see a positive result? And when a page has had some history but while it is growing and has engagement, it is slow, then what happens to that page? There are so many variables!
We believe that every business owner has to answer the question of whether paying to play is the right move or not. Every business is different and unique so you must spend time taking a good, hard look at your page, goals and clients. No matter which category you fall into whether it is a new page, a slow growing page or a booming page, Facebook is still Facebook. It is still a place for friends to share information, laugh, play and learn. It is still a place for businesses to connect to their clients and continue to grow your online presence. Sometimes it is important to simply change the plan. Your goal doesn't change - but how you go about achieving that goal might change.
So, do you pay to play? Or not? Consider the following in your effort to answer this question for yourself.
Do you spend advertising dollars elsewhere? Can you funnel some of that budget into your Facebook ad budget? If so, then you may want to experiment with some boosted posts or ads to increase page reach and engagement. Always check your insights and know your numbers so that you can see what type of effect the ad dollars are having on your page. Watch for increased engagement, likes to your page and ultimately the phone call or appointment. Always ask clients "How did you hear about us?" and if they say "the Internet" then you must dig a little further to know if it was truly a result of your Facebook work.
Is Facebook your only alternative? While we believe that all social networks will eventually tap into the "pay to play" arena, there still exists social networks available to you where you do not have to be forced into paying to play. Consider utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest to see if your business can benefit from those communities. No matter where you go, your content must be fresh, powerful, creative and engaging.
Are you using your social networks to drive traffic to something you own? You do not own Facebook, but you do own your website, your email list, your blog, etc. While you can, use your social network to drive people to the things you have control over. Email is not dead! In fact, it is a very powerful tool that can yield dramatic results. Done properly, your social networks and email marketing work together. Emphasize what is being missed by not being a member of your email community. Encourage followers to stay up to date, "in the know" or on a priority list and drive traffic to your email list where you'll be sending valuable content, promotions and offerings.
It can be scary out there and with changes being made frequently I encourage you to continue reading and studying. No one is interested in wasting time - or money - so spend them both wisely! If you have a budget to add to your Facebook marketing, experiment! Take some classes on Facebook advertising, watch YouTube videos and learn how to make the most of your advertising, if that is what you choose to do. While it can be scary, it doesn't have to be. You've got resources, tools and support to make your efforts work!
Thanks for reading!
Kim Walker 5 Stones Media Constant Contact Area Local Expert Solution Provider Member of Solution Provider Advisory Council 985.520.1141
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