We’ve talked several times in these pages about Facebook’s continuing evolution into a pay-to-play medium for brands, nonprofits and other Page owners, and the trend seems clear. The straight dope? It looks like you’d better budget for Facebook advertising, at least if you want to guarantee that you can actually REACH those followers you’ve worked so hard to recruit.
Valleywag sparked the latest round of the pay-to-play discussion with an article claiming that as few as ONE PERCENT of our fans may soon see our content by default in the future, though that has yet to be confirmed. Time picked up on the story as well, meaning that it’s starting to break out into the mainstream. Some page owners are panicking, others are reacting with disgust…but some are pushing back, for instance arguing that a good content strategy will still keep you in front of your followers.
The e.politics perspective? On the free side, you should run good content (duh), watch your Facebook stats to see what kinds of formats and subjects your followers are responding to, and watch for opportunities to repost successful content from your friends and allies whenever possible (content that’s performed well for others already has a leg up). On the pay side, set aside a budget to boost your more-successful posts and get them in front of more eyeballs. Even a ten-dollar boost can make a difference. And, let’s get back to building that email list — no one’s taking that away any time soon.
The broader lesson? Don’t put all of your marketing eggs in one basket…particularly when someone else owns that basket.