Small business warning: Facebook could seriously damage your company’s health

FB-ThumbsUp_512If you’re a fledgling business, chances are the biggest hurdle you will face is how to get noticed without spending a fortune.

For many new businesses, the obvious answer appears to lay in Facebook.

Create a page for your business, it’s free, post on your profile, persuade friends and family to ‘like’ and before you know it, you’ve amassed a few hundred fans and you have an audience just waiting to hear about your news, products and services and to engage with you on a regular basis.

The fact is if you’re relying on Facebook as the shop window for your business you’re on a hiding to nothing.

Yes, sorry, folks, your content is highly unlikely to be seen even by the people who have liked your page.

You see, Facebook is a massive business in itself and it isn’t keen on other businesses, no matter how small, having something for nothing.

On average Facebook can choose to show an estimated 1,500 posts to any one person at any one time*, so it is constantly ‘deciding’ which posts we as Facebook users should see and inevitably, business pages are pushed to the bottom of the heap, no matter how engaging your content or how many or how few likes you have on your page.

This is what we in the trade call a decline in organic reach. Why is this happening? In their

Picture: The Telegraph

Picture: The Telegraph

article highlighting the issue, Facebook argue it’s inevitable simply because of the vast amount of content being pumped through its platform. Of course, the other explanation is simpler and arguably more truthful: they want your money.

It is estimated that your organic reach will drop to a paltry 1-2%, in cold hard figures that equates to 10-20 people who will see your posts if your business has 1,000 likes, if your business has around 100, that’s only one or two people who will be seeing your carefully crafted status updates. The prediction is that very soon it will be zero; if you don’t pay, no one will see your posts irrespective of whether they have liked your page.

The drop has already been noticeable, it was estimated businesses could reach around 16% of their fan base in 2012 but that has literally fallen off a cliff, in October last year the average went down to 12.05% but in February reach decreased again by almost half to 6.15%**.

You must have noticed the increase in sponsored links appearing in your own newsfeed. That’s how businesses can guarantee their posts are seen: they pay. It also explains the proliferation of unexpected posts in your newsfeed, a quick discussion around the fire at my son’s sailing camp last week quickly established how Facebook viewed some of us: one woman receives the latest in soft furnishings; another is the happy recipient of singles dating posts, even though she’s married; and for some reason Facebook thinks I need a constant stream of dieting tips and quick weight loss solutions.

Facebook is quick to point out that your fans do matter, in fact, they should matter so much to you that you are prepared to spend money to reach them.

Read Social Media Today’s full account and, if you’re a small business and you’re angry, you will find comments from some likeminded companies, who to put it mildly, are furious.

*source: Facebook
**Source: Social Media Today


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