Do I have to pay to use social media for my business?

Written on 24 October, 2016 by James Baylis
Categories: Marketing, Social Media

Short answer: no, but you should.
Long answer: keep on reading.

Social media has arguably been the biggest entity that has shaped online shopping, human culture and how we interact with friends and businesses. With more than three million businesses using Facebook on a daily basis, social media has become a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.

In this article, I will discuss what you can do on social media for free versus what you can achieve using paid advertisements and promotions.

Using social media for free


Every popular social media website allows you to create a profile and dispense content to its user base for free.

There are no hidden costs.

The upsides are that it's free to do and great if you don't have any sort of marketing budget.

The downside is that you'll have to spend a lot of time managing your social media account to build a following and send people to your website. For example, the half-life of a tweet is 24 minutes and a Facebook post is 90 minutes.

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You could spend hours writing a blog or creating an image and within 24 minutes, 50% of the engagement has already been received. If you only have a few hundred fans, very few people will see it.

Early last year, Facebook updated its organic posting algorithm to reduce the reach of organic posts by businesses; some were claiming to reach less than 3% of their entire fan base.

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Paid advertisements on social media


If you don't have the time to post multiple organic updates on social media and grow your audience for free, you can bypass the time-consuming work by deciding to promote your content instead. To take Facebook as an example, you can create any number of adverts to reach various marketing objectives.

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When you run paid advertisements you can select who sees your advert and who doesn't. For example, if you're a real estate agent running an advert in Sydney, you can target parents with children, baby boomers and people with specific job roles, incomes and postal codes.

This increases the chances of serving your content to the right audience.

How much does it cost to promote on social media? Facebook allows businesses to promote their business from as little as $1 per day, making it suitable for every business type.

The perfect social media strategy


To maximise your impact on social media, you should be using a mixed strategy. Make regular organic posts, and when you have a blog post or video that receives a lot of engagement, consider boosting that through paid ads to reach a wider audience.

Are you looking to grow your business using social media? Then click here to learn more.