I remember when I started doing social media marketing back in 2009, and even more when I co-founded Kontra in 2011. The whole idea of social media marketing was to get as many Facebook page likes as possible and then to post as much as possible. We had a client, a group of bars and nightclubs, who demanded 5 posts per day on every Facebook page they had. And it worked because Facebook reach was high (nobody actually talked about it back then), so we kept doing it for some time.
We used Facebook page likes ads to increase the number of fans as much as possible so we can have a “free” medium to spread our messages. We used Facebook applications and “like gate” to gain even more fans for our clients. But slowly, things started to change…
At some point, the organic reach on Facebook pages started to decline. Facebook introduced EdgeRank, an algorithm which decided what kind of content will be displayed to a certain user. It made sense, as more people started to like more pages and add more and more friends. Today, at any given moment, Facebook can show up to 1.500 posts to any given user. Almost overnight, we saw a huge decline in organic reach in all published content on Facebook, making it really hard to explain it to our clients. At that point, we had to change our strategy.
A new strategy for our clients
So, instead of publishing as many posts as possible, we decreased that number to 3 to 5 post per week, but focusing on quality. What we needed was a much bigger Facebook advertising budget, as we needed to use that budget to promote those posts. For example, if you have 10.000 fans on your Facebook page when you publish a new post, it will reach maybe 500 fans. If you spent 1 hour to prepare that post, it’s probably not worth it. So we had a really awkward situation where some clients would be paying us 5x more for our services than they’ve been paying Facebook for distribution of that content. (Facebook) content is king, but Facebook reach is what wins the battle.
If you try to compare it with traditional advertising, it would be like hiring a really expensive marketing agency to prepare a new campaign for you (costing you tens of thousands euros/dollars), but renting only one billboard to display your new campaign.
We still needed time to do social media marketing (and that’s why it costs as much as it costs), but without an increased budget for distribution via Facebook advertising, we were not getting good results. Sometimes we’ve been spending as much as 5 hours to prepare one Facebook post (and that costs some money), but without proper distribution, that post reached maybe 300 users. To be honest, that’s not a really good use of resources. Some people call it a Facebook boost post, looking at how to boost a post on Facebook as cheap as possible, but we really don’t like that term, and here’s why. If you want to learn how to advertise on Facebook properly, you can download our free ebooks:
With every new client, we told them that, in most cases, they would need to pay Facebook as much as they pay us, if not even more. For some old clients, we’re still in a process explaining to them why they need to increase the Facebook advertising budget. There’s just no point in paying us for our social media marketing services without paying Facebook for reach. We can create amazing content, but without distribution, that content is (almost) useless.
Do you agree with this strategy? Do you do something else? Please leave a comment.