Do-You-Really-Need-To-Pay-To-Reach-Fans-&-Non-Fans-On-FacebookAt one time getting into the News Feed of your Facebook Page fans was free. Most Page owners expected to have to pay to grow the number of people (fans) who liked their Page. Paying for Facebook to share their content with people who were already fans was not expected!

Today, for the most 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 to those who have liked your Page.

The question to ask yourself is this: “If I’m not prepared to spend money to show up in the 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 last year: Facebook organic (free) reach is down to a mere 1-6% of your fans.

That means, that for every 100 people on Facebook who like your business Facebook Page, only 1 in 6 of them actually see your posts in their News Feed.

And this statistic is from 2016! 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 businesses with Facebook Pages today. Especially for those that want people to see what they are actually sharing on their Page.

The Silver Lining of Paying For Facebook!

While on some levels paying to reach fans who are already connected to you on Facebook sucks. There is a silver lining in that you can also pay Facebook to show your posts to an audience who are not already fans … almost anywhere in the world. This means you can narrow down the focus of your posts to a particular city or broaden it to reach the world. The choice is yours … at a price.

When paying to boost your posts, you can choose the gender, age and geographic location of those you’d like Facebook to show your post to. You can choose interests they might have too. In other words, paying for Facebook opens up new paid marketing 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.

Don’t misunderstand me, great content is hugely important! But great content, for most businesses, 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 either.

That said, if your fans are super interested in seeing anything and everything you put out, you could ask them to select to see your content first in their News Feed.

Facebook-Notification-&-Follow-LinksHow do those who have liked your Page choose to see what you share on Facebook first in their News Feed? Here’s how:

  1. Scroll over the ‘Following’ button beneath the cover image.
  2. Select to ‘See First’ in your News Feed

Doing this will ensure what you share on your Page shows up first in their News Feed.

They can choose this option for up to 30 Pages.

Here’s the caution: If your fans find you post content to Facebook too frequently and/or if your content isn’t interesting to them, they may decide to deselect this option. If they do, it’s unlikely what you share will show up in their News Feed unless you boost your posts.

Getting fans to choose to see your content first is not as easy as it sounds. You have to work out the best way to let them know about these options and convince them they want to always see what you share on Facebook.

A well worded and designed boosted (paid) post targeted to those who have liked your Page is one option. Including the information in an eNewsletter is another option.

Facebook’s Long-Term Strategy For Business

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 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 with Pages had experienced a taste of the exposure Facebook could give them, they would need to be weaned off of free reach and onto paying for reach. That’s why Facebook reach for Pages has been declining slowly over the past 6+ years!

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

They’re now 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.

Of course, most social networks still have to grow their user base in order to attract business ad spend dollars. Facebook has already done that!

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. On Facebook, a little goes a long way. (At least at this time.)

The price for Facebook advertising will no doubt rise in the future, as more businesses begin to use Facebook creatively to reach their fans and other consumers.

Changes To Advertising Guidelines Make It Easier

Facebook used to severely restrict the amount of text on images in their advertising. This made it difficult to create images with easy to read coupons, sales information, inspirational quotes or such that could pass Facebook’s old 20% or less text rule. So, even if you had wanted to pay to boost that content, you couldn’t. Facebook wouldn’t allow it.

So, even if you had wanted to pay to boost that content, you couldn’t. Facebook wouldn’t allow it.

In 2016, Facebook eased some of its rules around the use of text on images. Not a lot but enough to make a difference.

Facebook still prefers boosted posts that use images with 20% or less text. And, they restrict the reach of posts that use what they consider to be too much text. (They’ll usually provide you with a warning that you have too much text when you boost the post.)

To determine whether an image meets Facebook’s guidelines, you can check your images by uploading them to Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool.

For more on this the amount of text you can use on Facebook images, read ‘Facebook Boosted Posts: How Much Text Can You Use On Images?’ 

Promote Your Most Likeable Content

Finally, keep in mind, when paying to boost the reach of a 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, unfollowing 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 focused on you and your business 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 you should be paying for Facebook to boost some, and maybe all, of the content you share on Facebook, make sure that what you share is what consumers/fans will like/want to see.

Getting into the Facebook News Feed is important. But without content that is of at least some interest to your target audience, you’ll be wasting your money.

This article is from the Growing Social Biz blog.