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It is easy to forget sometimes that social media is still a relatively young industry. Facebook is a little over 10 years old. MySpace (remember MySpace?) is only a little older. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that social media companies are now entering a phase where venture capital is no longer enough to sustain them. In 2015, social media brands are reaching a point where they need to make real profit, or else they face oblivion. This is why social media companies, even very profitable companies like Facebook, have begun making serious changes with an eye towards long-term profitability.

The Organic Social Past…

Once upon a time (like, a few months ago) a really savvy brand or agency could utilize free, organic services on social to make a huge presence for itself. With a little pluck and skill, many brands built their names on very little budget in what we’ll one day think of as the early days of social media. The times when a brand could build a serious name and presence for itself organically via Facebook or Twitter are rapidly coming to a close.

…And the Paid Social Future

For this reason, paid social and the practitioners of paid social are going to become a more essential part of any brand’s marketing strategy than ever. Going forward, if you want your posts to be seen by your fans, you are going to need to pay for it. In the future, the near future, successful social media marketing will feature paid social as its centerpiece.

There is however, still the possibility of building a huge presence for free (or for less) if you are willing to take a chance on a newer social platform. Early adopters on social media often set themselves up for long-term success if a platform really takes off. However, this is a potentially risky strategy as the internet is littered with the corpses of social networks that never really took off.

Is your brand ready for the paid social media future?