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Is advertising now absolutely necessary for Facebook brand success?

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Answer: Yes.

That’s a pretty bold claim, right?

But, I think it’s pretty accurate. And, it’s exactly what Facebook wants.

 

This isn’t great news for brands–especially smaller ones who welcomed Facebook a couple years ago. At that point, it was the ultimate playing-field leveler. Now, with the advent of Timeline and Facebook’s decision to go public, all that has changed.

In the blink of an eye.

What am I talking about?

Recent studies have reported that as few as 1 in 10 of your Facebook fans see your posts at any given time (real number Facebook shared: 16 percent). You might doubt the stats, but I’ve found this to be pretty close to the truth. For the handful pages I manage (or contribute to managing) for brands, we only see a small number of likes/comments on “organic” posts.

For example, one page I help manage currently has 2,200 fans (it’s a smaller organization). For organic posts, we typically see 10-15 likes and a handful of comments. But, for one post a week we put $300 of Facebook advertising behind it to spur engagement (and ultimately, page likes, too). The result? North of 700 likes and 50 comments for each of those posts. Pretty big difference, right?

And, that’s where we’re headed with Facebook from a brand perspective. Facebook ads (including sponsored stories and promoted posts) will be the PRIMARY way your fans see and engage with your content. I’ve seen some folks recently suggest that companies should add a line item to budgets for 2013 for Facebook advertising costs (I’m guessing that’s already happening in 2012, too). After what I’ve seen the last few months with my clients, I can’t argue with that suggestion.

Now, I’m not suggesting brands need to promote every post, or turn every post into a sponsored story. But certainly if you want to succeed on Facebook, whether your goals are engagement, reach or leads, you’re going to have to invest monetarily in the tool.

That could be $2,000 a month for smaller clients. Or, it could be $10-20,000 a month for larger brands. Depends on your pockets–and ultimately, it depends on how much focus you want to put on Facebook as a brand driver.

But make no mistake about it, Facebook advertising is becoming ESSENTIAL to success on the platform.

What do you think? Do you agree with that position based on what you’ve seen on Facebook with your clients/organization the last few months?

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Is advertising now absolutely necessary for Facebook brand success?

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