The words I’m writing will be published only as pixels. They will never know paper. We’re communicating in an entirely digital world.
Perhaps no other single company brings the digital world into people’s lives like Meta, the parent corporation of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and several smaller, niche platforms. More than 10 percent of the Earth’s population – 845 million people – regularly use some Meta product every month – a fact which is even more shocking when you consider that 13 percent of the Earth’s population has no electricity, much less a wireless network.
META COULD ONLY EXIST IN THE DIGITAL AGE. WE THINK OF IT AS ENTIRELY MODERN.
But here’s something that may surprise you: Meta is more like network television in the 80s than it is like Bitcoin. It is a complex technology, requiring constant upkeep, delivered virtually for free into the personal lives of its users – and paid for almost exclusively by advertising. The more time Meta gets in front of your eyeballs, the more ads it can deliver to you. That’s how it works.
So, your friend’s dog-being-adorable-under-a-blanket pictures, baby-rolling over videos, me-and-my-sisters-doing-this-15-second-synchronized-dance reel? That’s basically the “Murder She Wrote” of Meta. It’s the stuff you go there for so Meta can do what it needs to pay for the fact that you can go there at all.
And we all know that at some level, but here’s why that matters for a small business: The social posts you make about yourself can do a lot of things. They can communicate; they can help define your brand; they can make your name something that people have heard before. But what they almost never do is perform better than a paid ad on the same platform. That means that what you say about yourself for free on Instagram or Facebook – even when it really sings! – will almost never reach as many people as you’d reach if you placed that same message as a paid ad on Instagram or Facebook. Read here how social trends help businesses stay agile.
And that makes sense. There was never so much “Murder She Wrote” that the networks ran out of space for commercials. They built the shows around the ads and wrote the commercial breaks into the entertainment. That’s exactly how Meta works.
A Meta paid ad is the fastest, easiest, and often cheapest way to connect to your customers – and help find new ones. Meta is literally designed to ensure this happens. There is some peace in this: You can stop chasing “the algorithm.” Stay on social media. Keep telling your story. Keep doing your best practices but remember that the dominant algorithm in Meta is the one powered by the dollar. When it’s important, spend money on it.
And, you know what? That’s totally okay. “Murder She Wrote” was great television.