If you're building your business's marketing and customer relations strategy atop Facebook, take note -- and remember that if you have a real website, all your readers see your posts, even if you don't pay Facebook!
This glosses over a few key points.
1) If you operate a website, you have to pay hosting fees.
2) If people are looking at Facebook, they aren't looking at your website. The entire point of trying to reach your readerbase through Facebook is that you are entering your content into a high traffic, high volume "space" that you would otherwise be competing with for the attention of your readers.
Facebook apparantly realizes just how much other companies use their services as a form of cost-free advertising, and it seems their execs have decided to capitalize on the situation. Normally if you want to advertise somewhere you don't directly control, you do so by paying for access to whatever medium you want to advertise in. If you have to pay for a roadside billboard or for a website ad banner, why shouldn't you have to pay for the ability to advertise via Facebook updates?
The real issue I have with this is from the "consumer" standpoint. If I follow a business, that means that I have invited them into my Facebook world. I /want/ to see their updates. Every. Single. One. If there comes a time when I think a company is posting too frequently or the posts are no longer relevant to my interests, then I'll simply unfollow them. If I miss snagging a rare record from my favorite record store or a sale announcement from the local aquarium store because they didn't pay the Facebook toll, I'm going to be pretty pissed, and it won't be with the business, it will be with Facebook...
Well, if I want to advertise on television or in any traditional media I play for every single potential customer, not one single freebie.
I don't actually mind paying facebook for coverage in my business, when I think it's worth it. So far it has proven cost-effective compared to Google ads (pay for every one) and any other advertising model.
Right now, every single ad on radio and TV seems to end with, "Like us on Facebook!" Next year, maybe not so much.
What I find most frustrating is that there isn't a cheap option to just make sure that all the people who "like" your page can see your post. I would be fine paying $2-5 to do that regularly.
Tell your customers to click "Get Notifications," which is under the liked button.
“Like many mediums, if businesses want to make sure that people see their content, the best strategy is, and always has been, paid advertising.”
Hi, Facebook. I'd like to introduce you to this new thing. It's called the Internet. It relies upon the free and easy transfer of information. It's quite effective. Some might say, more effective than paid advertising.
I'd be one of them. Facebook is just the old Prodigy/Compuserve/AOL in a crappy blue disguise.
Yes, it's for our band actually, and I have tried to get people add us to their interests but with not much success. Adding that one extra step seems to make things SO difficult. Either that or we haven't yet inspired enough abject devotion in our tiny fanbase.
Facebook always has had paid ads on the side, and they've never been free, and businesses could purchase them to reach potential customers. Facebook made money off of displaying those ads to views generated by traffic from individuals and company pages. Meaning they made money off of traffic that other people and businesses were generating for them.
Now that they are trying to monetize feeds as well, which greatly undermines the integrity of their service. You don't see things you should because people aren't paying, and you see things you don't want to because people are paying. The feed has become something of diminished value and in many cases off-putting. Remember when search engines "mixed in" ads. That is a crap strategy. The search engines that stuck to separate ad areas prospered, while the ones that mixed in the ads went under because of it.
Facebook didn't learn from this huge internet mistake and they have alienated a large portion of the younger market segment and seen a huge drop off, and now they are also alienating the business market segment and will see a drop off there as well. Sometimes being a greedy bastard ends up being like shooting yourself in the foot.
Exactly this. The integrity of your feed is the only value to using facebook. Not showing you things you want to see unless they pay, or seeing things you don't want to see because other people pay for it, in your feed, undermines the entire value of the feed. Paid advertising should have stuck to the paid advertising section.
I remember when facebook used to be a relevant way for small businesses to market their businesses and for customers to connect with those businesses.
The person viewing the feed is not the customer. The person viewing the feed is the product. The advertisers who pay for their messages to get out are the customers.
yes but the product may move on if they do not have the things they follow displayed to them.
You don't pay for FB as a user, you should expect to get whatever FB decides to give you. Well, that's not entirely true, you pay with your information. Only you aren't getting your data's worth. There is a way out - leave.
As a business, falling for the FB trap is a mistake. I have no problem interacting with companies that interest me through email. I am 100% uninterested in being marketed to on FB, and if companies want me to enter your contest, I'll go to their website and put my details into a form.
From Facebook's point of view, maybe. But this should only apply to the paid ads that are presented to me (I assume based on some metric of my interests). Of course, this model exists all over the internet. If I buy something through Ebay, I'm not Ebay's customer. The person I purchased it from is Ebay's customer, and they pay Ebay's tolls.
It's all about perspective I guess. From the standpoint of businesses that I have an existing relationship with, I still consider myself the customer, not the business.
The trade off of cataloging one's preferences and relationships in order to stay up to date seems to be losing quite a lot of its value. If Facebook isn't careful, all of that precious data is going to wither away- even if people stick with the service, the number of valuable unprompted interactions is going to plummet.
Maybe the income from advertisers willing to pay for a broad, uninterested audience will make up for the drop in value from user engagement. Assuming that Facebook can maintain its user base in the face of increasingly crappy service, its business model seems destined to converge with that of commercial television and eventually spiral into the same dustbin.
Well, I expect lots of companies will start asking users on Facebook to "Get our Notifications," which should acclimate users more.
Keep on rockin!
"Now that they are trying to monetize feeds as well, which greatly undermines the integrity of their service... Sometimes being a greedy bastard ends up being like shooting yourself in the foot."
Excellent comments. They've killed the golden goose, haven't they?
You're right. Facebook is under no obligation to show some business' feeds to users. Users are not paying customers, nor are owners of free pages. In that way, Facebook is doing nothing wrong here.
I other news, I closed my own account there and I do hope that Facebook will die this year.
But most companies start out unknown. You can't and won't go to my company website because you likely have never heard of it. If you aren't actively looking for our product, and if you don't actively look beyond the major player in the market my business operates in, then you will never hear of me.
Oblivion is the worst fate for a business. Sure, I hate when a major hotel chain pops up in my feed with some awkward attempt at 'cool'. But from a strict cost/audience basis, I am finding some kinds of FB promotion to be very effective (not the blatant ads, but some of their 'boosting' stuff that gets some good content we create in front of more people.
As a tiny business owner I find myself torn between disliking the obvious privacy issues linked to interest/demographic based advertising, and really liking the fact that without that ability to target my microscopic advertising budget so accurately, my business would not exist and I would have to rely on my not-great day job to pay the mortgage. The same concerns apply to search advertising.
At the large corporation level I can see the annoyance and issue - I already know about Chrysler and really don't need another ad in my face when I check to see what my neice and nephew are up to. At the startup/nano business level I see a lot of small scale business models that are made possible by advertising models like Google and Facebook are using.
The small publishing company I run was freshly minted, with just over 1,200 Facebook followers, when Facebook announced the first version of these changes - we'd spent some effort gathering our followers, and then one day were told that we couldn't talk to them unless we paid. I still remember the conversation I had with my partners in a hotel room at a writer's conference the day we realized what it'd done. We were...displeased.
Unfortunately for Facebook, it had yet to demonstrate its value to us before trying to convince us we should pay it money. So it had its work cut out for it - and the couple of times we paid to "boost" a post or two didn't demonstrate it's value, either. It's unlikely we'll be giving it money ever again.
Not only is it ineffective as a marketing tool, it proved impossible for us to get over the lingering sense of "bait and switch." Regardless of whatever valid arguments there are for the "no free lunch" marketing thing, the company's long-standing problem is that, as an online personality, it's kind of an asshole. Long before the IPO, the company felt skeevy, underhanded, and corrupt. After the IPO, it feels the same, only now it's basically about making money for these folks.
Facebook exists to hoover up user data and sell it off, while convincing other users (namely businesses) that having a presence on Facebook has intrinsic value. It doesn't. The platform is worthless to any company that isn't actually in the customer data business or to anyone who doesn't own stock. I suspect it'll soon be worthless for that latter group, as well.
The thing about Facebook is that it's a typical short-term-profit-driven company these days, yet it also wants to be the social commons. That makes it different from the typical one-way mass media that advertisers are familiar with. It also makes it harder for the folks who want to use it as their advertising medium, since they are driven to pretend that they're being sociable.
I have a business that has a Facebook page, but I don't post regularly to it for marketing purposes. I don't like receiving marketing disguised as chat, so I don't partake of that form of publicity.
I'd make a lousy businessman if I didn't have my unpaid celebrity salesman.