Facebook Tells Small Business Owners to Pay Up

Facebook marketing blog

Power of the Boost

Recent changes to Facebook’s privacy policy and overall rule system are certainly making life difficult for entrepreneurs. The company’s policies around advertising one’s business on the social network has (once again) changed. If businesses don’t pay Facebook to boost their status, business pages will not be getting their message out. Previously, a business owner would boost a status to spread the word to more people. But, beginning in mid-January, the social network will intensify its efforts to filter out unpaid promotional material in user news feeds. Because of this new rule, even if the page has thousands of fans, a status may never be seen unless it has been boosted. Basically, any business who relies on free status marketing will suffer.

Revamp Your Marketing Budget

Facebook warned of this in early November 2014 when they explained that the practice of businesses posting free marketing pitches or reusing content from existing ads will suffer “a significant decrease in distribution” once the new policy rolled out. The average small business owner can not afford to pay thousands of dollars to promote their content each month, or, at the very least, will need to reevaluate their marketing budget to account for these changes. Considering that more than 80% of small companies who use social media to promote their businesses list Facebook as their top marketing tool, this new policy means a major shift in many social media marketing plans.

The Truth About Online Marketing Campaigns

Many business owners are going to need to look elsewhere for effective and affordable options. Facebook stands to lose a lot of small business entrepreneurs as doing business on the social network becomes more expensive. So why are they doing it? Facebook’s vice president of small business, Dan Levy, explained the reasoning behind this move. He claims Facebook’s paid-advertising options have become more effective over time. He suggests companies view Facebook as a tool to “help them grow their businesses, not a niche social solution to getting more reach or to make a post go viral.” Organic reach, Levy says, is only one of several reasons companies benefit from having a presence on Facebook. The network has over 1 billion hits per month. Just by being on the network, the likelihood that your business will be found increases. This makes sense, and many small-business owners say they accept that they will have to pay to market their businesses on Facebook. Any good marketing campaign costs money. When looking at an online marketing strategy, the use of free online marketing campaigns has not always resulted in positive responses. Todd Bairstow, partner at the online-marketing firm Keyword Connects, explains that the strategy of attracting fans and “likes” on Facebook using unpaid posts “ultimately failed for almost everyone we know.” Facebook may help “spread the word”, but using the network to market your business is not going to necessarily result in sales or new business.

What Are My Options?

This leaves small business owners with a decision to make. Do you restructure your marketing budget to include paid promotions on the network where you’ve built your brand and have a strong following? Or do you search for other options? Many are focusing their efforts and online marketing budgets now on boosting their Google rankings. This is a more complicated process, as well as more time consuming, but the overall results may be better for small business owners. For more information on how to best utilize search engine optimization, visit Google’s page dedicated to this topic by clicking How a Google Search Works.  Some business owners may choose to leave Facebook altogether and focus their time and energy on other outlets. Google Plus is option. Not only has G+ grown to over 540 million active members, it has the power of the Google search engines behind it, resulting in posts showing up in a Google search. Also, it’s known to generate as much brand engagement as Facebook.

Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s something that you can afford and can commit to. There are many options out there. Now’s the time to make informed decisions for both yourself and your business. Good luck!