Sorry to burst your bubble all you Social Media Ninjas and Gurus. But this is a fact. You can't scale without Paid Advertising. Facebook with 800+ million users? Is one giant Paid Advertising Property no different than Yahoo.
I discussed this in 2010:
Why Social Media is not in the C-Suite for Major Brands (still isn't)
Can Social Media be Scaled for Big Brands (Not without massive hiring of people)
If I own a small business working Social Media to acquire 50 or even 1000 new customers can make my year. But imagine a company that has to reach millions or tens of millions of people every day. A McDonald's or Kraft or Nestle. You can not reach that many people guaranteed using Social Media. Or a Fan page. Not even close. Not ever.
You can't even converse with all your fans if you wanted to. How many people can I respond to if they called my Brand out in an 8 hour day. Granted each contact is not like a phone call. But you are looking at hiring thousands of people if you have tens of millions of fans and followers. You just can't talk with 10 million people each day even if they want to. You can't reach out and touch 100 million customers.
And it has been proven that while people might Like your page or Follow you on Twitter you come last in their life as this Ad Age article explains.
Unless you are a Power Passion Brand like Chobani where people LOVE the product so much they come begging to be your friend, you are at the bottom of our 'care to interact' list. Right below using a toothpick on our teeth. And even Chobani probably is only engaging with 0.01% of their daily customers. One thing we forget when we think of Facebook. So what if McDonald's has 17 million fans WORLDWIDE. They serve 26 million meals per day. So I bet they have 400mil to 500mil or more unique customers per year worldwide. So 5% are Fans. You are going to blow off 95% of your customers because 'Social is the way to go'?
What is Social to you then? One big Paid Advertising play. You can reach the 15 million daily active Tweeters in the US* with a Sponsored Tweet. You can reach the 25-35 million daily active US** Facebook users with Facebook ads. But you can't engage with them on the network for free. They will not see your post or your tweet. Chances are only 1% due to sheer volume of competing posts and tweets in our networks will see a post/tweet if you are lucky. Never mind react to one.
*based on number of tweets per day and the fact 70% of users are not in the US this is the number of active tweeters (people who don't log in and just send one tweet not to be seen til the next day).
**based on the actual activity levels for Facebook (Status Updates, Log Ins, Comments, Likes) about 15% of the 150mil monthly users who visit the site in the US account for 85% of all daily activity.