Will Facebook Lose Small Business?

SueCockburn
Sue Cockburn Entrepreneur, Growing Social Biz

Posted on November 20th 2012

Will Facebook Lose Small Business?

My frustration with Facebook seems to be growing almost daily of late. I'm beginning to question the amount of time and energy needed to stay on top of my Facebook business Page and the Pages of clients. With the time and effort invested to reach a small percentage of fans on Facebook, the value of the platform is becoming questionable.

Granted one can pay to advertise or promote posts to ensure a higher percentage of fans see Page posts, but the recent changes to the Facebook algorithm mean that this would need to be an ongoing occurrence if one was to 'be seen' on a regular basis. And even then, there are no guarantees.

Of course, Facebook is entitled to charge for their service - they are a business after all. But I wonder if they aren't 'shooting themselves in the foot' with their recent changes. If small businesses, that are unwilling or unable to pay to show up in the newsfeed of their fans, decide the time and energy involved in having a Facebook presence isn't justified by the results they are seeing, what will the impact be on Facebook?

Will the loss of advertising dollars that may have been spent by Pages wanting to build fan numbers, but not willing to pay on an ongoing basis for the privilege of appearing in fans' newsfeed, have an impact on Facebook? Or is all of this a a sign of things to come from not only Facebook but other social networks too?

Facebook may be the big kid on the block today but, like David and Goliath, things can change dramatically in a short space of time.

Many small businesses pay to advertise on Facebook, but not so they appear in their fans' newsfeed, but to grow the number of 'likes' and fans on their Page, and with the expected result that they'll show up in their fans' newsfeed. Not so now.

Facebook has now become a tool that for most businesses will require an ongoing investment of cash into advertising to see results. It's no longer a matter of advertising to get launched with a healthy number of fans. Now, one needs to pay ... and pay and pay.

Today, whether you have 100 fans or 10,000 fans only a small percentage are likely to ever see your posts show up in their newsfeed after they like your Page - unless you pay. And for many small businesses, where resources of time and money are often a bit tighter, this may mean Facebook is no longer a viable option.

SueCockburn

Sue Cockburn

Entrepreneur, Growing Social Biz

Sue is first and foremost a solution provider delivering website and social media services to micro and smaller businesses, anywhere in North America. Visit her website at GrowingSocialBiz.com for more information.

Visit her website and blog at GrowingSocialBiz.com.  Connect wtih her on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/SueCockburn, on Twitter at twitter.com/SueCockburn, on Google+ at plus.google.com/+SueCockburn, on Pinterest at pinterest.com/SueCockburn and on Facebook at facebook.com/GrowingSocialBiz.

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Comments

I feel your pain, I really do. But the other argument is, if all your fans interacted with your page they would see your posts in their news feeds so it's a question of content vs engagement. Also Facebook has always never shown all your posts to everyone, now they are giving you more opportunities to reach more by offering promoted posts feature. Tricky subject just now but we have to be creative and do things different to win. I loved reading your post and will be sharing tomorrow.

Interesting point ... thanks for sharing. 

At this time even great content is not assured of space in your fans' Facebook newsfeed. Promoted posts are definitely an option ... but you'll want to pay for these on an ongoing basis and especially for your best posts if you're hoping to have fan engagement.

Unless fans have a reason to come back to your Facebook Page on a regular basis, assuming you're not paying for promoted posts, it won't matter how good your content is most will never see it - unless you have a way of getting your posts into their newsfeed or back to your Page. In the current climate, that means paying.

Actually, you're incorrect. What you consider "great content" is actually the content that Facebook is refining the news feed for. Great content should encourage interaction,or the PTAT number to increase, as a percentage of those who see the post. This will cause more people to see the post (because of high interaction rates).

I have stats that prove small (and local-focused) business' Facebook presences perform substantially better than large corporations. Small and local businesses should not be forced into paying for promoted posts (and won't be).

The update has very little to do with page fans actually coming to your Facebook Page on a regular basis, the update has to do with you creating better content that people actually care about.

Sorry to say, you're misunderstood in what the algorithm change actually does and how it will affect Pages.

Actually, you're incorrect. What you consider "great content" is actually the content that Facebook is refining the news feed for. Great content should encourage interaction,or the PTAT number to increase, as a percentage of those who see the post. This will cause more people to see the post (because of high interaction rates).

I have stats that prove small (and local-focused) business' Facebook presences perform substantially better than large corporations. Small and local businesses should not be forced into paying for promoted posts (and won't be).

The update has very little to do with page fans actually coming to your Facebook Page on a regular basis, the update has to do with you creating better content that people actually care about.

Sorry to say, you're misunderstood in what the algorithm change actually does and how it will affect Pages.

Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts on this Joseph. 

Facebook is making things difficult on small business. Recently i filled out a survey for Facebook that detailed some new paid service that could help small businesses. 

Interesting Greg. Do you know what the paid service was?

 

I think this is a big marketing mistake from Facebook

Instead of forcing companies to pay to promoto post ( wich is very annoying for Fans and non-fans as well )

The should make an annual fee, something like 100$/year to have the right of having a facebook bussiness page.

Since having a Facebook bussiness page is a must for high porcentage of bussinesses, i'm sure they wouldn't mind paying that.

And it would be a win-win situation for Facebook as well, since they would get more $$

Thanks

** Sorry for my english, hope you get my point **

 

Thanks for sharing your ideas on how Facebook might make this work with Pages. I appreciate your input.

I don't agree that promoted post are an option

Actually, the main problem ( Here in Montreal at least ) is that companies don't know how to use their Facebook pages...

They use it like adverstising you would see in news paper, instead of communicate, give some ideas about their products, or give explaination...

The results of this of course is that most of them are blocked to start with.

There is a lot of explanation and education to give to small bussinesses about Facebook. Some even use it as their own web site, since its « free »  big mistake again

I understand Facebook wanting to generate money of course, but the way I see it now, they don't really know how to do it and they juste try stuff, untill the hit the jackpot :o)

Thanks for your thoughts on this Marc. As you point out, when businesses treat Facebook as a vehicle for pushing out ads they won't see results, even if their posts do show up in their fans' newsfeed.

And, as you note, Facebook isn't a replacement for a business' website! A website should be the hub of their online presence with a good portion of the posts made on social media linking back to content followers will like/want to know about, content that is helpful, interesting and valuable to them.

 I think for businesses that have a strong marketing mix that doesn't solely rely on free medias and online marketing, FB can still be a viable option. They just need to re-compensate and realize it's weighted less in the recipe for their market reach.

I agree Kate! Well said.

Hi Sue,

Personally, i feel that social networking sites like Facebook can be a great tool for marketing. Most of the entrepreneurs use this site for promoting products or services which help in informing customers and it also helps the entrereneurs to respond well with the customers.

Thanks for your thoughts David. 

Hi Sue,

 

I would agree that Facebook can be a real challenge at times for Small Businesses. The hours you put in can result in very little if any return. From the research I did on small business and social media it was a case of trial and error however the key is to find a core group of customers or a page that can maximise your efforts.The experience with Twitter was the same. Overall the best thing to do is connect with as many relevant people and from this a core develops that can be used to expand further. That was my own experience anyway.

Thanks for the input Dan.