I've just read PandoDaily's article 'Enough with the entitled whining - Facebook isn't running an advertising charity', forwarded to me and many others, on Facebook, by Tara Gentile.
It's an interesting read, especially in the 'comments' section. It's about Fb reducing the amount of fans who see posts from business pages, and then charging businesses to promote their posts so that a higher percentage of their fans will be reached.
I can understand the concept that Fb is a business and needs to generate revenue, and the obvious thing to do is to charge people who have business pages for what is essentially advertising. As a late starter to Fb, I was surprised that it had business pages and that they were FREE. I thought Fb was just about catching up with friends, but heck, if it's going to offer me a free business page then I'm going to take it! But now the other shoe drops. Many of the larger companies are ticked off because they gained fans through paid adverts in the first place and are now having to pay to ensure that MOST of those fans are kept updated. The smaller businesses are feeling disappointed and shoved out into the cold because they simply can't afford to pay to reach more than the 15% of fans that Fb is allowing them to reach at the moment.
I am one of those smaller businesses. As micro-businesses and self start-ups, I think my fellow tiny businesspeople and I felt we were a part of the community that Fb strived so hard to create. It seemed to want us to be there, we were a welcome part of it's philosophy and there was no notion of it turning out to be a false friend. It nurtured us. It grew and we grew with it.
And then it turned out to be a drug dealer, standing on the same corner every night, saying hello and offering you a pick-me-up because you're it's good friend, and then one day... you're hooked and it's charging you. There's a menacing smirk where once there was a warm smile. It wants it's money or else.
In this case the 'or else' is that you lose your ability to reach your page fans with your posts. And your colleagues, contacts, suppliers, mentors, moral support system, fellow artists, the list goes on. It's not pure sales that we small businesses are after. It's much more than that; it's community.
So, is there an upside to paying for your posts to be promoted? Maybe. As far as I can work out it's not just your own fans the posts will be promoted to, so there's the possibility of picking up some more attention. If your content is good the people who see your posts will share them with their friends - oh, wait, that was already happening. Um...
Okay, so what do we do? Not only has this set our heads spinning, our business page news feeds are totally screwed up as well. Posts sent weeks ago clog up today's feed, updates from mentors and suppliers reach us way too late to respond, we're missing information that we needed to know two weeks ago, for goodness sake! Heaven forbid someone try to tell us something important.
We could let our feet do the talking. Walk away. Leave the comforts of Fb, now that they're not really so comfortable after all. Google+ has a similar set-up, for free, and if there are any charges to be made they're outlined up front. Perhaps one day they'll have an afterthought too, and start charging for something they've always given away for free. Oh, and by 'free' I mean in exchange for us promoting them on our business cards, e-mail signatures, websites, word-of-mouth... anywhere you see the Fb link button or tell people your Fb address.
So I'm keeping Fb for the moment. I'd like to see what happens. But I've started up a G+ account as well, to cover my bets. I like the way it displays pictures. Come on over and say hi.
The article: http://pandodaily.com/2012/10/30/enough-with-the-entitled-whining-facebook-isnt-running-an-advertising-charity/
My new G+ page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/107309199732822890663/107309199732822890663/posts