Boost Post Image“This post was served to 58 people.”

In Facebook’s continually evolving approach to commercial and organizational pages, that turn of phrase is among the latest twists.

Previously, the line seen only by page administrators indicated how many people had “seen” the post. The new phrasing is not some subtle semantic shift. Instead, it reflects Facebook’s increasing emphasis on a pay-to-play (or “pay to get seen,” really) system.

In essence, Facebook is stating with this new verbiage, “By enabling you to communicate your message to others, at no charge, you should realize that Facebook is providing a service to you.”

With Facebook, in many instances, even with hundreds or even thousands of Facebook fans of your organization, the number of people “served” is less than five percent of your fans.

Time to Read Between the (Facebook) Lines

With a marketing funnel squeezed this significantly, it’s really not hard to read between the lines. And that point is the same one that Facebook has been making explicitly for some time: if you want to attract significantly larger numbers of people to your company or organization’s Facebook posts, then you will need to pull out your wallet.

If you want to “boost” the post, as Facebook terms it, then clicking on the “Boost this Post” tab in the lower-right corner of your post unveils a drop-down menu with pre-set budget amounts from which you can choose. For as little as $1 to get started, and depending on the zeal with which you want to spread your message, the sky is the limit on the price tag you can attach to communicating with your Facebook audience.

At each price point, Facebook attaches an estimate of how many people will see (or “be served by”) the post. Make no mistake, there’s no going back to the (quite literally) free-for-all era of Facebook’s first years. That honeymoon has been over for awhile.

At this point, with the new terms that Facebook has laid out, the question becomes: How are you going to respond to this new reality? In my next post, I lay out the four options available to you.

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