Is Social Media “Pay to Play”?

by | Sep 16, 2019

TM - Is social media pay to playSince the days of Myspace, social media users have asked a burning question.

“How can social networks make money?”

Social networks are free to use, have the option for anyone to build pages, and an opportunity to interact with users. How can these networks stay afloat without charging users?

It’s pretty simple. Social networks make money from advertising, and over the years, the networks have fine-tuned the process to make paid ads necessary for brands. Simply having a Facebook or Instagram page is no longer enough. Brands won’t be visible unless they run paid ads.

The Decline of Organic Reach

Before social media started making so much money from advertising, brands enjoyed organic reach. They would build followers or fans and create posts that large numbers would see. The posts might not reach everyone, but they were still getting noticed. That has changed, though. On average, around 6 percent of a brand’s fans see their organic posts. This problem might get worse in the near future as networks continue to adjust algorithms.

Engagement Is Also Declining

Facebook’s new algorithm prioritizes posts that are most likely to receive high levels of engagement. In 2018, engagement across Facebook pages dropped more than 50 percent. This puts brands in an impossible position. The engagement is dropping because the posts aren’t being shown. However, the posts won’t be displayed because the engagement is dropping. Brands can’t get out of this situation unless they are willing to pay for ads.

Does Organic Social Media Still Have a Role?

If you are using social media to attract fans and make sales, you will need to run paid ads. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still benefit from free social media, though. Your social media pages might not be the marketing juggernauts they were of the past, but they still serve a purpose. Look at some ways you can benefit from organic social media.

Communicate Your Brand’s Values

People tend to research social media pages after coming across a company. For example, Bill might find your business while conducting a Google search and then go to Instagram to learn more. Use social media channels to communicate your brand’s values and stand out from the competition. This can help you build relationships with potential customers before they contact your company or make a purchase.

Reputation Management and Customer Service

Even though organic reach is on the decline, people still use social media to talk about brands. They might recommend a company, lodge a complaint, or even use social media to ask questions. It’s important to monitor your social media pages, through showing appreciation for positive comments, fixing problems, and answering questions. This will show that your brand is engaged and willing to work with customers.

Build Communities

You can create groups and communities filled with your most loyal fans and followers. This will motivate them to become brand advocates. You should monitor the groups and communities to keep people on top and address concerns.

Attract Talent

Does your company need to add new members to the team? Social media is a great place to start. People use social media to find openings, so you can list your opportunities right on the page.

The New World of Social Media

Social media has changed a great deal over the years. At one time, it was a free place for people and brands to connect. Now, with organic reach on the decline, you need to run ads to meet your advertising goals. You should also maintain an organic presence, though. When you combine both organic and paid social media campaigns, you can reach new customers while engaging with the ones you already have.

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