Everywhere you look these days, there’s that navy blue square with an “F” in it that denotes one thing: Facebook. Bloggers have Facebook icons on their pages, and businesses too seem to have that ubiquitous symbol everywhere. For years, social media experts recommended that all businesses have an active Facebook page. It seemed there were many positives and few drawbacks to having a thriving Facebook business page.
That is, there were few drawbacks until the company changed the way visitors view business posts (and personal posts from an individual page too, but that’s another story for another day.)
Reaching Only 5% of Your Followers – What?
One of the biggest drawbacks for businesses is the small amount of people reached with every post on your business pages. At first glance, you may think you have a thriving, healthy page with thousands of followers. Business page posts, however don’t reach every single follower. Instead, Facebook calculates who should see your post, and unless you pay to play, they share it with 5 to 10% of your followers. You can’t control who those followers are, so on any given day, you have no idea exactly who you are reaching and when you reach them.
Some companies have gotten around this low number by using a combination of email marketing and Facebook pages. Jen Clothing, for example, a trendy online fashion retailer of women’s clothing, combined an email outreach with a Facebook contest to boost both awareness of its fall dress collection and visits to its Facebook page. Boosting visits is thought to correlate with better visibility for a company’s Facebook page. Interaction with the contest through likes or shares is also thought to help the Facebook proprietary algorithm determine that your content is worthier of wider distribution, perhaps reaching 10% of your followers instead of 5%. Companies like Jen Clothing are experimenting with multi-channel marketing to reach as many customers as possible.
Pay to Play
Facebook, like any business, needs to make money to fund its activities and please its shareholders. The company offers “sponsored posts” which, like an advertisement, you have to pay to promote. You set a budget the way you do for online advertising and the company then shows your sponsored post to as many potential users as it deems relevant.
Many small business owners question whether the return on investment for Facebook sponsored posts is worth it. The site’s users often complain about the ads, finding many intrusive or poorly targeted. If you have a robust budget for online marketing and your core audience seems to use Facebook often, it might be worth a test.
Should You Give Up on a Facebook Business Page?
Given these drawbacks for businesses using Facebook, should you give up on your Facebook business page? No, but diversify your social media resources instead. Don’t focus solely on Facebook, but test various social media platforms to find the one that seems to work best for your business needs.
Social media is here to stay, and Facebook is a platform that many people, your customers among them, may enjoy. Although it has many drawbacks, offering customers a choice of how to interact on social media with your business still remains the best option.
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