A huge chunk of businesses both online and offline are relying more and more on Facebook to provide a little bit of free marketing to their business. The Facebook marketing systems people use are for good reason – with over a billion members, Facebook is a great place to reach out to new fans, and the social nature of it means customers are likely to share with their social circles who will then share with theirs. Say goodbye to free traffic in Facebook.
However, the days of doing this for free with the Social Media giant are probably over. Like television and other traditional media, Facebook is moving in the direction of “no free marketing” to its clients, and if you want to expand your reach you’re probably going to have to do it via their paid marketing system.
This is going to be a major problem for small companies, who do not always have the necessary funds to match the big companies that can spend thousands per day on Facebook marketing.
Unfortunately, retailers and other small companies are unlikely to find much support amongst the wider user base of Facebook; like television and magazines, the general user sees Facebook advertising as intrusive, and because it’s ‘unwelcome’ advertising to simply post your ads up and hope they appear organically, most people are not going to be very supportive of a boycott or the like.
Facebook is at a disadvantage in this area: other online giants, such as Google and YouTube, work on the basis of invited advertisement; sure, you get ads displayed to you when you use Google, but only when you’re specifically searching the term. The same is true of Amazon; it displays results according to a certain algorithm, but it only tries to sell you something that it reasonably believes you’ll want.
Facebook is a different system altogether; people aren’t looking to buy things when they go onto Facebook, they are looking to socialize. They want to talk to their friends as opposed to buy premium items or check out a celebrity news story. This is the major hurdle with monetization that Facebook has. Their answer is to scrap content relevant searches and organic page reach in favor of moving to a paid model, which is due to start this month.
The questions that marketers and business owners should be asking themselves regarding Facebook’s latest move are: Should I be advertising on Facebook? The answer to this is “Probably.” However, should you be spending as much time on advertising on Facebook? If you are using free marketing, then your time will probably be better spent diversifying your social media marketing. If you’re looking to expand your reach with paid Facebook advertising, then you’ll need to really research how PPC and paid marketing works, especially with regard to Facebook. Facebook allows you to market to a broad range of users, or a very specific range. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the different options available, so be careful before stepping into this brave new world.