Is Facebook Dead for Businesses Who Don’t Pay?

There are a lot of changes on Facebook these days.

A few months back, Facebook tweaked the NewsFeed for Business pages posts.  If your page hasn’t been visited by your fans in awhile, your posts won’t show up as prominent in the NewsFeeds of your fans anymore.  A nice fix for this was encouraging people to share your information.  Which can be hard to achieve.

Capture1Another tweak was that text posts don’t show up as prominently either for Business pages.  Text only posts for personal pages were left untouched.    A nice fix for that was to be more visual.  Adding eye catching photos will ensure more shares and likes.    And in addition to that the NewsFeed made pictures a little larger.  In the NewsFeed now, several pictures can show up as a mini album.  Also enticing more likes and shares.

Currently my clients and I are experimenting with the idea that a post with more pictures gets more likes and shares, than a post with just one picture.

Still, with both of these counter measures, it’s going to be a struggle to raise your page to new fans, more likes and great shares.  Unless, as Facebook suggests, you start advertising your page.

Advertising on Facebook, as compared to other media, is actually  fantastic for marketers.  You can pinpoint and target so finely, or you can reach en masse.  You pay either by impressions (how many people see your add) or more effectively by clicks (how many times people click through your ad).  You can have that ad lead to either your Facebook page or to your website.  It’s effective and cost efficient – a marketers dream.  And it’s some of the least expensive advertising you can buy, if you are a small business.

As a consolation prize some of the tweaking that Facebook has done has actually HELPED Business pages.   What Facebook has taken away in the NewsFeed, they have given in the admin area of the Business page.

You can now see which of your admins have made the post on your page.  Admins and manager can see which person made the post, while the fans on the page do not.  This information can help with workflow and also with assigning  marketing strategy.

CaptureYou can now also follow some pages through your admin area.   This allows you to “snoop” on competition or to follow the pages that inspire you.  Different from following or liking a page on your personal profile, this information is delivered in a synopsis form.  You can see how many new likes they have, total likes and even their engagement.  It can be used as a litmus test for your page to see if you are keeping up with the competition.

There are more places to get to your admin features, so that you have access to that information from any area on your page.

And there is a new design rollout coming.   Your page will have in the left column information about your business.  This means the information is easily accessed by your fans, they no longer have to hit the “about ” button.  For new visitors, it’s a nice feature as well.

So.  Is Facebook dead for businesses that don’t pay to play?   In my opinion, no.  Is it harder?  A little.  But compared to radio and television, it’s still easier to be seen and heard.

1054709_65064512Here are just a few examples of  how some businesses have become newsworthy.

1.  They have been the victim of a crime.   Definitely something you don’t want to happen to you.

2.  They have been the victim of some sort of disaster.  Fire,  a vehicle driving through them, etc.  Again, not the type of news you want.

3.  They have been incredibly charitable.  This is a great way to make news, but can be just as expensive as advertising.

4.  They have made unpopular choices.  Outrageously poor customer service.  Taking unpopular political stances – anti gay is one example.  Other examples include not willing to pay for healthcare so they put everyone on part time status, or refusing to pay minimum wage.  Again, not something you want to do.

I’m sure we can think of some more ways local businesses have made the news.  The point is that Facebook and other social media is still the best way to get in front of customers for free.

Yes.  It’s harder.  I imagine it will continue to get harder as the medium grows and matures.  Someday, it will be as hard as Television and Radio.  But now, it just takes a little more effort, and effort that I believe, is still worth it.

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