Unless you have been living under a stone, you will have been persuaded to set up a Facebook account so you can connect with friends and family (actually about the only person I know who does not have an account is my husband but being on Exercise with the British Army a lot he probably has been living under a stone, or bush, or tent!)
Facebook for Small Businesses
Facebook has grown substantially over the years and most businesses now have a Facebook Account, typically a fan page.
If you are a small businesses or blog writer Facebook is an incredible way to promote yourself for free or is it?
Have you noticed that despite working hard to build your fan numbers, and engage with them on your page, your posts are being seen by disappointing few of them? Me too, in fact I am lucky if more than 100 fans see my posts, which is less than 10% of my fan base.
This decline has occurred as Facebook has recently released a new way to promote your business which has caused quite a stir in the social media community.
If I pay for a Promoted Post the number of viewers rises substantially to over 8,000 for a $5 post, up to 18,000 people for a $10 post, some difference!
A ”Promoted Post” is quite simple to use. When you are creating, or even after you have created, a post on your page you will notice that there is a new option to select a “Promote” button. You will only see this button if you have more than 400 followers, but less than 100,000 followers. When you click this new button, a drop down menu will appear and give a list of prices. These prices will gradually increase by five dollars and the more you are willing to pay, the more estimated people your post will reach.
Promoted Posts – a Facebook improvement or has it caused its own destruction?
Typically, your normal posts do not reach all of your followers because of Facebook’s design. If a particular follower does not regularly interact with your page, he/she will begin seeing less and less of your material. Facebook has released this new feature as a way to combat this issue, but is it essentially making you pay to fix a problem that it purposely created?
Essentially, you are now paying Facebook to ensure that your post is being seen by the majority of your followers. Is it only a matter of time before Facebook makes it useless to post something for free and that paying for a promoted post is your only way of reaching your followers?
Google, the largest and most successful search engine, does not make websites pay to show up in their organic search results. This means that Google will pick up your website for free. If you wish to advertise your website with Google, you can pay them a fee and they will promote your site on the user’s search results page. Now, Google’s equivalent of Facebook’s new Promoted Post feature would be to force websites to pay a fee if they want to show up in their search results list at all. It is safe to say Google’s popularity and search engine dominance would plummet if they introduced such a feature.
Facebook’s shares have dropped and it does need to find a way to monetize it but I am not sure this is the answer. Some industry experts suggest that we, as small businesses, have been lucky to have a free resource like this for so long. However, we are an important part of Facebook and whilst we might not have spent a lot of money on marketing we have, instead spent a lot of time on Facebook which has been key to its current position as the top social media site.
It can also be argued that $5 is a small price to pay for the potential to reach so many people but as small businesses we certainly cannot afford to promote every post. In fact, this very feature could end Facebook’s effectiveness for small businesses all together.
At this point, it is best to begin looking for some other way to promote your business or blog and keep a watchful eye on the new fees that Facebook is adding. My current favorite is Pinterest and for more information on using this for your business.