Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is*

 

Of course not literally, because money is kind of gross.

Advertising and marketing is putting your mouth to use – in the figurative sense.  You want to get the word out any way you can, and in recent years, social media has been one of the prime ways small businesses have taken up using to get the word out about their businesses.

While I wholeheartedly agree that social media can be a great way to market your small business, I have found many people believe social media should be a free advertising avenue, and I disagree.

As Facebook changes its algorithms approximately every .025 seconds, there is always going to be another post going up saying how THIS is going to be the end of businesses pages on Facebook. Pages start telling people to comment on their posts or they will never see them again. Some people claim they are going to start boycotting Facebook and go elsewhere. Everyone gets mad and freaks out.

Stop.

Yes, organic reach continues to decline on most social media platforms. Yes, you often have to change strategies and look at things more critically. And most importantly, YES, you need to be willing to pay to advertise on social media.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. are all FREE platforms for businesses, meaning that you get to put your message out there without paying anything for doing so. This is already a great deal for small businesses, as I don’t know any billboard company, magazine, or radio station that does that!

So … you’re already using the platform for free – why wouldn’t you expect to have to pay for the ads to run?

A couple years ago, I compared two non-profit business pages I managed on Facebook. One of those non-profits refused to put money towards advertising (anywhere – not just on social media). The other was willing to let me use $100 a month to advertise on Facebook (this was split up between boosted posts and traditional traffic ads on Facebook).  

Just looking at reach alone (not to mention action taken on the posts), during one month’s time, the non-profit that was advertising reached an average of 200% of their fan base, with their highest post reaching 458% of their fan base. The non-profit that did not advertise reached an average of 9.4% of their fan base, with their highest post reaching 30% of their fan base. For just a few dollars a post, one non-profit was reaching beyond just their fan base, while the other wasn’t even reaching a full third of theirs.

Being on social media is simply not enough anymore. In fact, I do not even advocate to my clients to have a presence if they are not going to be willing to put some money into advertising on their platforms. So right here, right now, I am telling you – if you want to run a successful business on social media, you need to be prepared to put your money where your mouth is.

*Yes, ending a sentence in a preposition is considered poor grammar. In this case, I don’t care.