Today I want to talk about the question: Does it pay to join the online pay-to-play game? It may – but it’s a gamble.

Connect & Pitch Makes Me Cranky

Let me ask you this: Have you ever just woken up cranky? Today I woke up in a cranky mood. Maybe it’s lack of sleep. Our dog is not sleeping the way he used to and decides to get up three, four, or five times a night. Guess who gets the dog duty? Yep. Being tired doesn’t necessarily make me cranky. Sometimes it’s just people, two in particular, today.

One was on Facebook. It’s a coach out of New York who I connected with. He immediately started sending me videos on how to be a good coach. I said, “Dude, stop sending me videos and if you have to pitch people this hard, chances are you’re not going to teach anybody how to be a good coach – especially on social media.”

The second guy hit me up on LinkedIn and he said, “Hey, I’m gifting you some of my time. If you send me a link to your website, I’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right in order to make more money. And maybe we can work together.” I messaged him back, “Dude, did you even look at my profile?” which he messaged back, “Oh, you’re going to make me work for it. I’m going to have to raise my rates.” No, you’re going to have to stop pitching and connecting with people.

Why do people do that? I think part of it is because the other way isn’t working the way it used to. Think about it. Years back when we got on Facebook, they said, “Join Facebook pages. Create pages. Get your pages out there. Let everybody know you exist.”

Social Platforms Bury Business Posts

Now, I work with one particular client who has 500 Facebook followers. Every time we post something, we do it up to three times a week. It maybe gets 5 or 10 people to see it. We post to Facebook, to LinkedIn, to Twitter every single month, 12 times a month, and we’re amplifying it through numerous people in their business and their business pages. The average traffic we’re getting back to the website is about 100 hits a month. It’s not that big comparatively speaking to the amount of traffic they get. What I’m finding is that it’s getting harder, and harder to organically get traffic from social media. Have you found that?

I Don’t Like This

My wife and I were binge watching Jack Ryan. I don’t know if you’ve seen that or not. It’s on Amazon Prime. In the first season there’s a scene. Jack Ryan is a CIA operative and he’s in Turkey with his boss. They’re trying to rescue the wife of a terrorist who escaped. In order for them to get the information, they need to find her. To find her, they had to go into a brothel and pay a pimp for the information. Now, Jack Ryan was pissed. He did not like this, but his boss understood that this was the only way they were going to find the information they needed. It worked, but they had to pay-to-play, and it was pretty expensive.

The same thing happens with social media. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and pay-to-play, but you have to be able to trust that what you’re doing is worth it.

Organic Vs. Ad Traffic

You can keep going down the road of trying the organic stuff, but the more you post does not necessarily mean more people are going to see it because the thing we have against us is the algorithms. One of the things I discovered is that in LinkedIn it used to be okay to post links. Now, when you include the link in the body of the post, it doesn’t get nearly as much traffic as when you post just text and then post the link in the comments. Now, the chances of that post being seen go up but the chances of the link getting clicked go down.

You can kind of cheat the system, but the end result is are you getting what you want? What you want is link clicks to your website, traffic that you can measure, something that is going to help you make money. Is it worth it? Well, it depends.

Let me tell you a little bit about what you need to do in order to get into the pay-to-play game. The first thing is Facebook constantly encourages you to boost posts. I strongly, strongly recommend you don’t do that because by boosting a post, it will get seen by more people, but the chances of them going outside of Facebook are very slim.

Facebook boosting gets more people to like your page. I call that the black hole, meaning that those people end up liking your page but never get to anything other than the content once they’ve liked it. In order for them to see the new post, you have to continually boost it to get your audience to see it. Remember what I said? 500 followers and 5 to 10 people see it. That’s 1% to 2%, pretty small.

Here are five things that you need to think about if you’re going to get into the pay-to-play game.

Plan The Results

You have to have a clear plan of what you want. Do you want to try to build followers? Are you trying to get people to purchase something or come to an event? All of those things need a plan associated with any boosting or paid advertising that you’re doing. You have to have that funnel created, and you have to know what the outcome you want is in order to measure it.

Know Your Audience

You have a very clear identification of your ideal audience. Who are you talking to? Many people hope to go fishing with a net when looking for customers. But social media advertising gives you access to very detailed data on audience demographics. When you know who your perfect avatar is, it’s more like spear fishing.

Friends Or Finance

Is your goal to make friends or to make money? An example of making friends is the many things I do that get people on my email list. That’s great, but the problem becomes, when I email them, it goes into their spam filter. Yes, I can add names to my list, but am I building a good solid audience or can I convince those people to take the next step and open the email and actually do what I want them to do?

Measure Results

You have to think about is how to measure the results. Now, clicks back to your website and Google Analytics are pretty straightforward. As I said, I can see with the amount of posting that I’m doing for my clients and for myself how much traffic is being sent back to my website. Understanding not only the analytics inside of social media but the analytics outside of social media are incredibly important in order to measure success.

Strategy

You have to think about how you can keep massaging and optimizing this strategy. In other words – spend a little, test it, modify, and do it again. This means it may take you time to get the desired results. Most people will try spending some money on advertising, and boom, they stop because they’re not getting the results. It can take time.

Final Thoughts

Not everything ends in a happy ending like it did for Jack Ryan. They actually found the person and she lived happily ever after. You have to be aware of the fact that sometimes it makes sense to try it and just stop. But if you want results from social media, you might have to get into the pay-to-play game.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your ideas or questions about the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?