by | Oct 31, 2022 | Business Building Musts, Everything Social Media

This blog is going to be discussing paid marketing strategies today, specifically paying to be found on social media – eg/ Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads etc.

I recently did a workshop, and in the free Q&A time, the question put to me was, “how do I bet the algorithm on Facebook and Instagram?”

My answer was rather short and a little blunter than I think the questioner thought the answer would be.

My answer? You can’t.  You simply can’t.

And frankly, if you are posting and producing content on social media with the intention of trying to beat the algorithm, you will fail over and over again. Well, the vast majority of us will anyway – as we all know, every now and then, something or somebody will go viral – but that’s the exception, not the rule!

As a small business owner, you should forget the freaking algorithm exists.  Stop thinking about it.

Let’s look at this completely logically with our business and marketing hats on.

You are using someone’s business FOR FREE and expecting to earn money.

You don’t want to spend money, but you want to earn money from someone else’s business – a business they spend millions, maybe billions on each year, and you want it for. FREE.

Logically it just doesn’t make sense, does it?

If it were a newspaper or radio or tv station, you can’t get that for free, and yet we believe or have been taught or conditioned to think we can get it for free with social media.

And let’s face it, many of us do get this free traction.  Many of my leads come from social media, and many of my clients come from social media.  My business has included a mixture of free and paid over the years – many touch points for sure!

But my point is that the odds are stacked against you.

Meta (Facebook & Instagram’s parent company) is a business that earns money from their product.

And their product is YOU.

You are the product that Facebook and Instagram are trying to sell.

The more “yous” they have, the more ad space they can sell to people and perhaps people like you!

So not only does Meta sell you as the product, but it also expects you as the buyer too.

It’s freaking crazy when you start thinking about it too much….

And to flip the thinking here again – I want you to look at your business model – REALLY look at it.

If you could, let’s just say, beat the algorithm, could you handle the business?

I often laugh at emails and DMs I get that say “Let me help you get over 300 leads a day into your business” – because 300 leads a day would turn me insane.  My business model couldn’t handle it, I would be rocking in the corner after day 1!

So, if you look at your business, ask yourself this question:

  • How much more business can I handle?

Or, if you’re a new business you are probably thinking 99% more – so ask yourself a set of different questions

  • How much do I want to earn this year?
  • How many hours do I want to work each week?

Once you know the answers to those questions, you will have an idea of how much marketing you need to do.

AND – you will know if going viral is really the thing you are aiming for or whether that’s just a good vainity metric you’d like to have in your arsenal!

And my big pro-tip with this is to use your platform insights and analytics to make good marketing decisions:

  • When to post
  • What to post
  • Where to post

So many business owners I work with have a “thing” for Instagram and use that platform the most, but the reality is that Instagram brings them very few sales and very few leads or traffic to their website – so in essence, they are marketing in the wrong place to get sales.  We know this to be a fact because we look at the data, and Instagram just doesn’t stack up.

So back, probably, to the original intent of this blog, if you are trying to use social media for free and are getting frustrated with your lack of traction, sales, or leads, my advice is

  • Look at your data, like I just mentioned above and get some clarity around what’s working, what’s not and marketing goals
  • Set aside a marketing budget – yep, some cold hard cashola and get yourself a paid marketing strategy.

For some more information on Facebook/Instagram ads – go and have and listen to my podcast episodes 32 and 42.

So, to summarise:

  • You can’t beat the algorithm
  • You shouldn’t be trying to beat the algorithm
  • You need to make decisions based on marketing facts (using digital data)
  • You need to have a paid marketing strategy and invest money into your business

Social Media is in reality a pay to play place so rather than ignoring this fact, embrace it and invest some money into your business for your marketing.

They say your marketing budget should be around 10% of your turnover. How does your marketing budget stack up again?  (And yes, I said turnover, not profit!!)

The whole algorithm is a complex topic because we see people or think we see people beating the algorithm, and we want a slice of that pie – but do we REALLY want it?

Personally, and no offence to those who do this, but dancing and singing and pointing on Instagram to go viral just isn’t my thing.  I’d rather have my core base of engaged followers than 50,000 likes on a Reel or 100000 random new followers just because I was unauthentically dancing and singing.

Work out what you really want, what your business really needs and then let’s chat.  Book a discovery call with me, and let’s get your marketing humming today – why wait any longer?

If you would like to chat more about commencing a paid social media marketing strategy, then I would love it if you came and joined in my community on Facebook called Like Minded Business Owners Group

Or, let’s hang out and get social on social – you’ll find me on Instagram, Facebook and my fave LinkedIn.


Don’t forget, if you want to get some clarity in your social media strategy or marketing strategy, then I’m here to help you! Simply book a discovery call with me here!

And come along and join in on my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group. It is a great place to learn more! It’s such a wonderful community of people in business.

Or you can DM me on Instagram or send me an email

I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.

About the Author:

Jenn Donovan of Social Media & Marketing Australia.  Jenn’s an expert marketing coach and mentor from rural NSW. She is all about empowering business owners to earn what they’re worth so they can make a bigger difference in the world.  The Founder of Buy From a Bush Business, Co-Founder of Spend With Us – Buy From a Bush Business Marketplace and host of the very popular podcasts Small Business Made Simple and Stories from the Bush. Jenn is all about community and humans interacting with humans!  H2H Marketing – human to human marketing. Jenn talks the talk but importantly walks the walk! Jenn’s online community is over 320,000 with her famous Facebook Group currently at almost 365,000 members and still growing every day.  She’s the mayor of her own little online city!

Get in touch –

On Instagram – @jenndonovan_

On Facebook – Jenn Donovan

Or on LinkedIn as Jenn Donovan


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Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!

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