Dear Business Owner: Facebook Spoiled You

You are a squatter. If you are not paying to be seen on Facebook, good for you, but you are living rent free. This means less control over who sees what you post and share. It means you have to be very good at your message, your offer and your images/videos. It means you need a higher frequency of sharing so that ‘something will stick.’ That is okay. That is actually a strategy and it also works.

I have listened to colleagues, clients and business authors complain about the increasingly challenging Facebook algorithm and need to pay for views and clicks.

I get the frustration. But you are a squatter on borrowed real estate.

History Says You Are Spoiled

But here is a little history lesson that might give some perspective. You have had a sweet, free all access pass to your prospective customers for a long time without needing to pay.

In the history of advertising and marketing, there has never been an easier, cheaper way to reach your audience before social media. Once you get the hang of Facebook advertising, it may cost you $5 or less to reach 1000 people.

When I worked at an advertising agency in my 20s, there was no social media, we only had traditional methods to reach prospects and clients: direct mail, print advertising, newspaper, radio, tv, outdoor signs. We could get crafty with couponing and promotions to cut the cost. But honestly, if you could nail down a $15 CPM (cost per thousand) you would be lucky. It was more like $50+ CPM. And you couldn’t track it. You couldn’t change it with ease. You had to commit to a multi-media campaign at a cost of thousands per month.

You know what that did? It separated the fly-by-night businesses from the ones who took their businesses seriously and invested in their marketing.

Investing in Facebook Advertising = Putting Your Big Girl Panties On

Now, you have $0 to $5 to reach 1000 people – with tracking and the ability to tweak your campaign as you go. You can pause any social media campaign at any point to fine tune your audiences, your creative, your goals and your message. You can be nimble. You can pivot.

You, dear squatter, are spoiled. If you can still run your business without investing into social media advertising dollars, that is amazing. I think it is very possible to run a business with organic reach on social media. That is how I have grown my business.

95% of my business is now gained through unpaid, organic word-of-mouth marketing purely grown off my solid brand and consistent marketing strategies. I am thrilled with this. That is my how I grew for 8 years actually.

But now, I am not bitter about the other 5% invested in advertising to take me off the squatters list, to run campaigns to grow my online reach to new audiences. I like it. I have spent the past many months learning how and the learning curve is constant (because Facebook changes). So, I will be doing more.

It feels like ‘old school’ and legitimizes my street cred as a business owner to invest marketing dollars in such a simple, inexpensive, targeted way. It feels like I am cheating! But I am not. I am having fun getting off the squatters list.

More than it being ‘fun’, it is purposeful. It is the only way to accurately find an audience. When seeking good return on investment (ROI) the more specific you can be about who sees your message, the better the return (unless your images, message and offer are boring or not truly appealing – that’s for another day).

Maybe consider that you too have lived rent free for the better part of a decade and paying for your rented real estate is actually a good thing.

What do you think about Facebook advertising now? Have I changed your mind? Do you invest in advertising online?


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