Do I Need to Pay Facebook to Get More Traffic?

Gone are the days of all your fans seeing everything you post on your Facebook page. Now, Facebook expects you to pay if you want more than a few people to see what you post. Here’s how to determine whether it’s worth paying for that visibility.

Admit it, you’re still holding a major cyber-grudge against Facebook. You remember the days when Facebook was this loosely organized social media site where you and a couple of million other people could hang out under the radar.

Then, you became an entrepreneur and used your hundreds of friends as a way to advertise your business. Things were going pretty well, right?

But Facebook had to go and get all greedy. Overnight, without asking you what you thought of the idea, Facebook introduced the “boost post” option. For about the price of a preppy coffee at Starbucks you could “boost” you post and scores of other people could read it.

The problem was that you noticed that your unboosted content was no longer getting the traffic that you normally saw. It was like Facebook was trying to force you to pay.

Fast forward to today. Those boosted posts are now more expensive than a swanky latte and it feels much more like an uphill battle to get any ROI out of your Facebook page.

You’re now asking the same question as everybody else: Do you have to take the plunge and start paying Facebook to get your content in front of more people?

Do you REALLY need Facebook?

In the business world, Facebook, (and Twitter) are some of the best examples of following the herd. All the cool kids are doing it so you should do it too, right? Put aside for a second all of the articles that tell you every good business is on Facebook.

The truth is that most businesses are on Facebook but most aren’t effectively using the platform to drive revenue. It’s easy to forget that businesses were successful long before Facebook and those same businesses are still thriving despite their minimal, and largely ineffective use, of the platform.

Ask yourself, is Facebook an integral part of your marketing strategy? Before you start dumping real money into your social media efforts, you better have a killer strategy for monetizing your social media audience.

If you weren’t seeing much response from your social media efforts in the past, paying to boost a post isn’t likely to significantly change anything.

A better use of the money might be to hire somebody with a proven record of building social media profiles and growing into paying Facebook.

Don’t Chase Page Likes

Facebook now gives you ways to put your page in front of a lot of people that will hopefully “like” your page. That big number at the top of your page becomes a status symbol—the online version of what kind of car you drive. From a business perspective your number of likes isn’t nearly as important as you and so many others might believe.

If you truly want to measure the worth of your Facebook page, go to the page insights tab and look at the engagement rate. Engagement is the amount of people who like, share, or comment on your content.

Related: 7 Reasons People Aren’t Engaging With Your Business on Facebook

You can measure the overall engagement by dividing the “Talking About this” number located under your page name by the total number of likes. You should be between one and 2 percent although some brands are as high as 20 percent.

Engagement causes your post to get in front of more people as your customers like and share it. Also, engaged fans are the ones who are most likely to purchase from you. If somebody likes your page but never engages with any of your content, they’re most likely worthless.

Interestingly, some of the biggest brands have surprisingly low engagement rates. Lady Gaga, for example, has a 0.9 percent engagement rate and Coca-Cola is below one percent as well. Even Facebook has a 0.6 percent rate.

If You’re Going to Pay…

Back to question at hand. If you’re going to take the plunge into Facebook advertising, consider these thoughts:

  1. Only pay to boost content that is fantastic, over-the-top, amazing. Unless your sale is incredible, boosting “We’re having a sale this weekend” is probably money down the drain. If you see that a certain post is doing well, boost it but be very intentional with your content. It has to be stellar.
  2. Target the right people. Facebook gives you all kinds of options that allow you to target your money-making demographic. Going after everybody will cost a lot of money and is less likely to result in engaging fans.
  3. Don’t overspend. Set your daily limit conservatively in the beginning. If you’re seeing a response that justifies the expense, up your investment. Ignore the advice from people who say that you have to pour big money into Facebook ads to see a response.

Finally, know your strengths. If you’re getting better response advertising in local publications and other media outside of Facebook, keep your advertising dollars there. You can still get mileage out of Facebook without paying. Run an online contest, for example.

Bottom line: Unless online advertising is an integral part of your business or you or your staff have expertise in social media advertising strategy, keep your investment to a minimum until you see proof that its working.

Related: How to Get Your Content Seen on Facebook

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