Is Paying For Facebook Really Necessary To Reach People?

by | Facebook

Two-girls-playing-on-facebookAt one time getting into the News Feed of your Facebook Page fans was free.

Most Business Pages expected to have to pay to grow the number of people (fans) who liked their Page. But paying for Facebook to share their content with people who were already fans was not expected!

Not so today! And in reality, not so since about 2012. It was then that Facebook began to slowly wean businesses away from the idea that Facebook was a free way for businesses to grow their brand and encourage engagement with their fans and potential fans.

Over the years, pretty much annually, we’ve continued to hear new stories about how Facebook is making it difficult to reach those who like Business Pages organically. Truthfully, Facebook has been weaning businesses away from organic reach for years. And each year they reduce the opportunity for Pages to reach their fans even more.

Today, for almost all businesses, if you want what you share on Facebook to be seen in the News Feed of those who have liked your Page and their friends, paying for Facebook isn’t an option – it’s a given.

Today’s reality is that if you have a Facebook Business Page, you’ll have to PAY Facebook to show what you share on your Page to those who have liked your Page. But the flip side is this, is that by paying you can also show boosted posts/ads to those who are not yet your fans.

The question to ask yourself is this: “If I’m not prepared to spend money to show up in the Facebook News Feed of my fans and others, should I even be on Facebook?” The answer is, “Probably not.”

Facebook Organic Reach Is Down, Down, Down

Internationally recognized Facebook expert, Mari Smith, said this about unpaid Facebook reach in 2016: Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1-6% of your fans.

And that was in 2016!!! 

That meant, that for every 100 people on Facebook who liked your Facebook Business Page, only 1 in 6 of them actually saw your posts in their News Feed. That is if you left it up to Facebook to share your content organically (free).

And, things haven’t gotten better. If anything they’ve gotten worse.

So, if you’re sharing great content and no one is seeing it, and you’re not willing to spend any money to have Facebook show it to those who have liked your Page and others, does it make sense for you to be on Facebook? Probably not.

Paying for Facebook is a must for most small businesses, entrepreneurs, charities, etc. today.

Especially if you actually want people to see what they are sharing on their Page!

The Silver Lining of Paying For Facebook

While on some level paying to reach fans who are already connected to you on Facebook sucks, there is a silver lining. The silver lining is this, you can also pay Facebook to show your posts to those who are not already fans.

At the simplest level, you can pay to have Facebook show your posts to people based on their gender (Male, Female or both), their age, their interests and where they live. This allows you to narrow the focus of your posts to a particular city or broaden it to reach the world. The choice is yours … at a price.

Paying Facebook to boost your content opens up new brand building, marketing and sales opportunities for your business.

But, Won’t Great Content Alone Get Me Into The Facebook News Feed?

While there is still a lot of talk about great content being enough to get you in front of your fans, it’s not enough for most Pages.

Great content is hugely important! But great content doesn’t guarantee you’ll get into the News Feed of your existing fans. And it won’t get you into the News Feed of those who are not your fans.

Facebook’s Long-Term Strategy For Business

As noted earlier in this article, Facebook’s drop in organic reach hasn’t happened overnight. You can be sure it has been part of their long-term strategy:

  1. Build a platform consumers love and use.
  2. Give businesses a free taste of how they can reach their audience on Facebook via their business Page.
  3. Charge businesses to reach consumers through their own Facebook Business Page, including their own fans.

Their initial plan may not have looked quite like this. But rest assured, they didn’t build a worldwide empire so that they could give away all that exposure for free. They are a business, not a charity.

Facebook knew that once businesses and other organizations had experienced a taste of the exposure Facebook could give them through their Business Pages, they would need to be weaned off of free reach and onto paying for reach. That’s why Facebook reach for Business Pages has been declining slowly but surely for several years now!

What Facebook has done to date is to build a monster consumer market for their product.

They have are leveraging the free service they provide to the average consumer, by monetizing the service they offer to Pages. In other words, to businesses and other organizations who want to reach the Facebook user base.

Paying For Facebook Reach

As already stated, for the vast majority of businesses, your Facebook Page fan base is no longer reachable without an investment of cash.

All major social networks are looking for ways to monetize their services to business. They know if they build it – a social platform that consumers use en masse – businesses will come. They know businesses and other organizations want to reach the consumers that use those social networks. And they know that, if the numbers are big enough, businesses will eventually pay to reach consumers using those social networks. Facebook and Instagram, in particular, have done this.

The cost for most Facebook Pages with a local audience to reach a broader audience on the platform is cheap in comparison to other types of advertising like Google Ads.

On Facebook, a little goes a long way. At least for now. Even so, it’s costing more to reach people on Facebook now than it did a year or two years ago.

Boosting Your Most Likeable Content

Finally, keep in mind, when paying to boost the reach of a page post on Facebook, that if people don’t like what you share, they may eventually block what you share.

It may be as simple as unliking your page or using the link Facebook provides on a post to indicate they don’t like or want to see any more of what you’re sharing.

Traditional advertising that pushes you and your business in front of consumers won’t cut it for most businesses on Facebook. Facebook is a different animal from a newspaper, magazine, billboard or flyer!

On Facebook it is all about the consumer and what they like, find interesting, valuable, helpful or inspirational. it’s all about what the consumer wants to see.

While it makes sense that what you post to your Facebook Page is related to your business, it’s important to find creative ways to share content that helps build your brand and engagement in a way that isn’t seen as intrusive and pushy.

This article has been significantly updated from earlier versions.