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Should You Pay for Social Media?


Many of us who have used Social Media for a long time have grown used to getting a lot of exposure for free. However in recent times that exposure is becoming less easy to find. There are two reasons for this, many more people are actively using the networks but in the case of Facebook the algorithm is weighted against organic reach.

LinkedIn have quietly been removing some of the free features available recently. It was the announcement that a new Facebook style message service would be available to all users but that more formal inmail service would be included in paid for versions that made me stop and think.

Would and should you pay for social media?

When it comes to Facebook at some point as a business you will need to pay for Facebook ads to make the platform really work for you. This isn’t a problem; it’s easy to use, very cost-effective and allows you to target a very specific audience if you wish to do so. Facebook have successfully limited the reach you can achieve organically therefore making an ad campaign more attractive and sometimes necessary.

Twitter also has ads. Up until now I have never seen the need to use them but I have noticed, backed up by a couple of articles I’ve read, that the impressions my Tweets get have dropped considerably in the last few months. It might be time to take a look.

While LinkedIn also has the ability to post an advert they also offer various paid for options for users. I recently conducted a very limited survey on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ asking if anyone paid for LinkedIn. The replies I received backed up my own view of LinkedIn. The paid for services seem to me to be aimed at specific sectors – indeed one of the people who responded to say they paid was an HR Consultant. Most of the other responses said much the same thing, that LinkedIn provides a lot of value for free if you know how to use it. I also heard from Ri Web who designs websites saying that they had tried LinkedIn ads with limited success. This is possibly because people don’t log on to LinkedIn as frequently as they do Facebook and Twitter.

Now at this point you probably think I’m going to conclude by saying that you should pay for Facebook ads, consider Twitter ads and continue to use LinkedIn for free unless you have specific needs met by their paid for service.  All of this is my advice but it is worth considering the bigger picture.

The financial growth of Twitter is slower than had been hoped so it makes sense for them to find ways to make their ads more attractive to users. It could be that they take the route of Facebook by lessening the impact businesses can make for free.

LinkedIn has been around since 2003 and is very established as a recruitment tool hence it’s very specialised offerings in that sector. However it makes sense for them to increase revenue by getting more of their substantial user base to pay.

All three platforms need a large amount of users so they have to offer most of their services for free. However they are all accountable to their shareholders so they have to make a healthy profit. This is their dilemma. My view would be that at some point in the possible near future those of us who use social media to promote our businesses have seen the end of a totally free way of doing so.

Do you agree with me? I’m interested to hear what you think so do leave a comment?

If you would like help gaining the most value from social media or setting up adverts to spread your message further. Please contact me on 01491 524002 or drop me an email.



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