Small Business Owners Struggle With New Facebook Pricing
Earlier this year Facebook began asking businesses to pay to promote posts to the newsfeeds of users who had liked a business’s page. Like most businesses who use Facebook, building an online presence and finding true followers has been more than a labor of love. Some businesses have spent years curating and collecting the right followers. Business owners feel duped that they were lured in with free Facebook services only to find out that they would have to pay a hefty sum to be able to market to all those followers effectively. Small business owners know that the amount of time and effort to build their brand online to collect followers is not easy task. Many hours have to be spent online to cater to those followers. The promise of a free site, a large market place and huge audience is what drew most businesses onto the network.
In the past Facebook stated that they way it maintained the integrity of its product was by carefully balancing the amount of promoted posts a user would see in their feed. This pricing announced in May states that if you pay you will reach more followers through a Promoted Post Program. The program promises to reach past the average 16%. Small business think that the paid program which is aimed to reach a larger percentage of their followers is devaluing their fans. Because only if you pay can you now reach all the followers that were so hard to collect. Not paying puts a limit on your marketing efforts and prices you out compared to larger competitors.
The average business puts out 35-40 post per week to their followers feeds. By most estimates a small business would then find it cost prohibitive to spend $10,000 a month to reach their follower base to a full capacity. So the new pricing is felt to be out of step with small businesses. Even a large company would raise some eyebrows at having a $10k a month Facebook budget alone-disregard the costs of other online digital promotions.
Many businesses may have to devise new strategies on how to spend their marketing dollars. Larger business may bite with the new pricing but smaller business may decide not to have a presence on Facebook at all if they can’t reach enough of their followers effectively.
Facebook believes that promoted posts are becoming more popular as usage of the program has gained more buy in over the past few months. They also have tried to calm their users nerves by educating them on perks of the program compared to other social media devices like sponsored search results and the service also comes with analytics. The social media giant more than ever has had to prove to its investors that they can in fact have money making abilities. This may be just the start of the trend for other social media companies trying to prove their worth on Wall street.
Julee Whalin writes for Consumer Priority Service, a company that provides extended warranty service plans to retailers.