But Facebook has one other big opportunity to make money—sponsored updates.
Businesses used to be able to post to their timelines and have those messages show up on the timelines of their Facebook fans—people who had liked their pages. Last year, Facebook started reducing the number of fans who saw updates. They claimed it was about 15%, but our experience at the time showed the number was much lower than that.
This month Facebook has gone all the way. The latest post on the Logomaker Facebook page was seen by .oo4% of the users who liked our page (just 34 of 8525 Facebook fans). These are people who have told Facebook that they want to see what we have to say. But Facebook still doesn’t show them.
That makes having a Facebook Page practically worthless to any small business.
But Facebook Marketing is here to help! For just $60, they’ll push our posts onto the timelines of at least 39,000 Facebook users—even people who aren’t our Facebook fans and have little interest in our updates. That way Facebook can deliver profits to their shareholders.
Um, no thanks.
So What Should Your Startup Do with Facebook?
Organic Facebook marketing is hard and it’s getting less effective. So other than having a Facebook page and posting great content to it from time to time (knowing most of your fans won’t see it), you may decide to do nothing. Or maybe you’ll focus your social efforts on other sites like Google Plus or Twitter. At the very least, make sure you have your own web presence where you can communicate with your customers outside of the walls of Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
If you still think Facebook marketing is an opportunity for your small business (and for some, it is), then make sure you do it right. Use a partner that can help you create custom tabs for giveaways, contests, and more. Someone like the guys at GroSocial, who can help you track engagement and analyze whether or not your Facebook marketing is really working. They’ll also give you templates, mobile links, and an editor to help you put it all together. If you’re going to do it, they’ll help you do it right.
More and more, we think small businesses will opt out of Facebook marketing. If they do, Facebook will only have itself to blame.
Note: We don’t blame Facebook for this move. They have to make money somehow. We’re simply pointing out that while Facebook might make money with sponsored content, your small business may not. So proceed with caution.