11th October 201211th Oct 12Jon Billingsley3 Minute Read

Goodbye to Free Facebook For Businesses

Recently, we saw the full roll-out of offer posts for business pages on Facebook. For the past year, the Facebook has been teasing its business users with the opportunity of creating a Facebook coupon. Retail giants like Top Shop, as well as countless local storefront businesses, have been able to post specials for their fan bases for several months.

Now, any business, whether brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, or a mix of both, can offer deals to their fans. There is a catch, though.  The option to post an offer for business fans is not free. In order to take advantage of the new tool, businesses will have to make a minimum advertising purchase and target their offer, rather than blasting it to any Facebook user who will pay attention.

In the wake of the disappointing offering, the shift from free and open tools for businesses on Facebook should come as no surprise. The only thing of real value that Facebook has to offer is the access to its enormous user base and all of the data it has collected about those users. With the launch of paid offers, Facebook is clearly communicating that better, and access will come at a premium from now on.

On top of paid offers, Facebook are now offering pages Promoted Posts.

Promoted Posts allow you to increase a page post’s visibility by giving it premium placement in a targeted user’s news feed. With a small budget, you can easily extend the life of a Facebook post, long past the initial publish time. It’s important to use these types of posts if you’re looking to post Lead-Generating content or your most popular content to make sure all of your page fans are reached. Standard posts to your page are no longer going to cut it.

The rules of the game have been incrementally changing for quite some time. It is no longer enough to build a presence and gather fans. Even companies that have invested the time and talent in fostering a truly engaged community of brand evangelists are finding it more difficult to maintain momentum and cut through the general noise of users’ news feeds.

There will continue to be value for brands in the increased level of visibility that participation in Facebook provides. However, gaining a real return on investment and boosting a company’s bottom line will require a commitment to real marketing skill that few companies have in house.

Effective social media managers will have to move beyond posting quality information on the company’s page and engaging users there.  To stay in the game for the long term, they are going to have to move into creative ads that are custom-tailored to each target segment. They are also going to have to learn how to move beyond communication in their own safe, niches.

Facebook are following suit inline with Googles SEO changes, free traffic and advertising is quickly becoming a thing of the past, more companies are pushing towards a “paid for” model whereby you cannot get something for nothing, and the days of DIY social media are giving way to the need for investment in both the platforms and the skilled professionals to make them pay off.

It’s not all doom and gloom for every network though. Pinterest is without a doubt the darling of the social media scene this year. They are reportedly, “growing faster than any independent site in history” and you can’t visit a website now without being asked to “Pin it”. This week Pinterest passed Tumblr in the number of unique visitors to the site, a big moment in the fledgling start-up. If you’re not pinning your products and services, it’s a good time to start, because it’s free and valuable engagement for your brand.

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