Fact: Social media platforms are large, money making corporations.
Fact: Social media platforms, like Facebook, make money selling advertising space.
Fact: With Facebook having over 2 Billion active monthly users and 50 Million business pages, they get to set the rules.
Unfortunately, this means they become law maker, judge, jury and executioner. In fact, common complaints online echo that Facebook has no easy or direct way to reach them for support. In light of all the changes, policies and guidelines, this can be confusing and intemidating at best to small business owners trying to leverage the massive platform for their marketing. To make matters worse, a quickly growing number of business page admins are having their ad accounts shut down under Facebook's new and unnaturally long list of Advertising Terms of Service.
So let's tackle the question many digital marketers are trying to answer: Is it time to abandon Facebook in your social media marketing mix?
If you're in small business, I am not telling you to leave Facebook right now, but put Facebook's changing role in context and be prepared to abandon it in the near future.
I premise this opinion on a few different tenets:
1a. Facebook does not consider the needs of small business, only big business. By definition, a small business is independently owned and operated and limited in size and revenue, relevant to industry. At the heart of this definition is someone who is busy doing what they do best, and may not have expertise outside their business.
2. It is crucial to change how you approach Facebook, as the new algorithm changes mean less of your content is being pushed in front of your audience. Quite simply, this change means less content goes from business pages to personal profiles (unless it is emotionally engaging and community focused, at which time your post may be seen by a few more people).
3. Based on #2, I recommend you approach your Facebook page like a new website. With SEO being a tricky field to navigate, you're more likely to be found by your Facebook page, which has a versatile set up and includes a lot of information. Be sure that your Facebook page then is user centric and makes it easy for customers to make a purchase or contact you.
4. Facebook claims it is becoming user centric, which as an every day consumer I think is amazing. However, based on the facts listed at the beginning of the article, we know that users don't suppport corporations like Facebook: advertisers do. Quite simply, advertisers will (and have begun to)begin to slow down, small businesses will leave and this will be the begining of the end for Facebook (remember MySpace? Exactly.).
I must confess, to this point this article has been pretty doom and gloom: and to some degree it should be. With Facebook's recent changes, it hurts small businesses and means they must adapt quickly (with money behind their efforts) or change tactics. Some immediate steps you can take to continue maximizing your Facebook efforts without heavily relying on it:
-make sure your About section is well filled out, with all details consumers could ever want
-make it easy for consumers to give you their money: there should be ample links to products and services
-ensure that it is easy for folks to contact you directly (and that they know they're talking to a human)
-consider other ways you can use Facebook to market your business (Ex. reviews, groups, endorsements, etc.)
-don't focus on constantly pushing out new content; rather, post 2-3x / week and work towards bringing users to your Facebook page.