Some marketers are still longing for the days when you could promote your content on social media without paying for it. The reason for this is simple – if dealers have to pay money to get their message out there, that’s less money for the vendors or marketers. The reality is that it’s not a bad thing for anyone – marketers, dealers, or social media.
The velocity at which social media is growing is such that many people are starting to spam the heck out of it. That’s not an ignorant statement; of course there has been spam since the beginning of the internet and social media made spamming even easier. However, over the last couple of years the spam levels have hit (and possibly exceeded) the levels of email, a spam haven. As a result, good, high-quality messages were getting pushed down as a result.
The pay-to-play model on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks makes sense. It means that if you really have an important message to put out for your dealership and you really believe that it’s important enough to get in front of your customers and potential customers, you’ll put a little money behind it. That’s the key – little. It doesn’t take a lot of money to prove to social media sites that you’re serious and you aren’t just trying to spam your way to success.
Because the numbers are so low, it’s not a bad thing for social media marketing professionals. Not at all. In fact, it increases the need for us. Social media is not like other mediums where your payment helps to make sure that your message gets seen. It does at first, but if your messages are poor and they’re not received by the community, social media sites adjust the necessary money spent on them in order to promote quality. In other words, those who have true understanding of how to advertise properly on social media are more valuable today than they were when it was easy to promote without money.
The unfortunate thing is that Facebook has made it easy to try advertising. That might seem counter-intuitive to the argument, but one has to understand the pitfalls of advertising the wrong messages or doing it the wrong way in order to see the point. By make advertising on Facebook as easy as a couple of button clicks, they’ve in essence taken down the barrier to entry. Unfortunately, advertising using the easy methods that Facebook gives us is not as effective as taking it deeper and truly using all of the tools that Facebook applies. That requires a certain level of expertise – again, it’s a good thing for marketers and vendors.
Social media is now pay to play. That makes some upset. Don’t be. This is a good thing as long as you understand the rules and you’re willing to put some money behind it.