Lately, on Facebook, it’s been a pay to play environment for businesses. Want people to see your update? It’s going to cost you. It won’t cost you much, but it will cost you. This raises the question, do you need to boost and sponsor every update for it to be seen? The short answer is no. There’s a lot to be said about organic traffic and nurturing the social interaction with the people that want to have a conversation with you.  But paid social media advertising helps extend your reach.

It can be confusing because Facebook keeps changing the game, and lingo, of their advertising. So, this week I did some digging and I’m ready to lay all of Facebook’s advertising cards on the table. It can be confusing to figure out the data and what all of the metrics mean when you go to analyze how well your ads are doing.

There are a couple of different ways to advertise on Facebook as outlined here.  There are three different reach metrics on Facebook: organic, paid and viral. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Facebook post reach exampleOrganic Reach

Organic is simply the amount of people a post reaches by posting it on your business page. This reach counts people that like your page and see your update in their timeline. Organic reach also counts the people that find your Facebook page and see your timeline of updates and content. Organic reach is free and a great way to keep your fans and followers updated on what you have going on. Not every post is going to be relevant to a huge group of people, and if you can appeal to the people that already care, you have a better chance of converting viewers into likes, comments and shares.

Paid Reach

Paid reach is just what it sounds like. It’s the reach you pay for. Boosted posts and ad campaigns can be targeted to reach people based on a number of identifiers like age, location and interests to name a few. Paid reach is great for getting in front of people that might not already like your page or know much about your product or service. Paid reach goes much farther than organic reach, as it should, you’re paying for it. Paid reach also has the tendency to increase organic reach. The more people that see your post and interact with it, the more visible the post is to fans and nonfans alike. Unfortunately, your posts, paid and organic, do not reach every single one of your fans or targeted audience members, but the more the post is interacted with and shared, the more it will do for you.

Viral Reach

This type of reach is pretty hard to come by, but I did think it was important to point out. Viral reach counts the amount of people who were exposed to your content because someone else wrote a story about it. This type of reach somewhat overlaps with paid reach, because this counts the people that saw ads because one of their friends shared your content to someone who isn’t already a fan. These people are not necessarily targeted by advertising goals, but end up seeing the content because it was shared by a friend.

Getting in front of people is the first step, but interaction is where conversions live. It is one thing for people to see your post, and ignore it, and quite another for them to find it interesting enough to like it, share it, comment on it or navigate to your website. In the case of small business, most interaction is going to come from fans and people who know the business and have an interest in the content. Maintaining a healthy organic reach and interaction is important to keeping people interested in your content.

Extend Your Social Media Reach

When you get down to it the goal of marketing on social media is to encourage people to visit your website. Exposure is great, it isn’t bringing home the bacon, the real value comes from people taking action and giving you a call or buying what you’re selling.

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