This is a subscriber-only article.

Save 25% on Entrepreneur+ during our Flash Sale
Use code LOVE25 at checkout

Subscribe Now

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Marketing? It's a valuable tool, but don't forget about these other (sometimes free!) ways to reach your clients.

By Adam Bornstein

This story appears in the July 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Federico Gastaldi

Q: When it comes to customer acquisition, how important is paid social media compared with other digital channels? -- John L., Houston

Social media has created a beautiful opportunity for entrepreneurs: It's never been easier to get your message in front of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. But if you want to reach all those people, it's going to cost a lot.

It's a simple case of supply and demand, and social media platforms are limiting the supply. Organic reach -- that is, your ability to speak directly to the audience that chooses to follow and interact with your business -- has dwindled to almost nothing. On Facebook, for example, organic reach touches less than 5 percent of your audience on average. Facebook simply doesn't show your posts to most of your followers … unless you pay for the privilege. That's one of the reasons why advertising inside social media has become increasingly expensive, as brands outbid each other in a competition for users' attention.