Is Facebook Dead for Small Businesses?

Is Facebook Dead for Small Businesses?

Have you noticed your company Facebook engagement declining? Did your number of likes come to a halt? Have your shares and comments disappeared? There might be an explanation for that. Recently, Facebook implemented new changes that affect the way small businesses use the platform. While some people are embracing the changes, others are turning to different mediums to promote their businesses. Could Facebook be dying for small businesses?


Using Facebook for business used to be a cinch. You post a fun photo, get shares, get likes and get noticed. Piece of cake. Well, unless you are promoting your page using Facebook ads, that strategy is no longer effective. Facebook has updated its algorithms to make your business posts nearly invisible unless you use their paid ads. Your posts that used to get high visibility now take a back seat to posts that are promoted and paid for. Is it fair? Well, the answer is yes and no.


Facebook is a business and every business is out there for one thing: To make money. Since paid ads are their primary way of generating income, who can blame them for charging to use their platform? Besides, Facebook provides us with a service that connects us to others in ways that, a decade ago, were not possible. Some say that Facebook has also amped up economic growth because of the jobs it has created. That’s not just the 6,800 computer geeks who work at their headquarters in Silicon Valley. The number of digital marketers, app developers, security hackers, bloggers, and web designers has likely reached hundreds of thousands, if not millions, since Facebook’s inception.


On the other hand, many businesses have been with Facebook for a long time. They have built a strong following and customer base using the social network without paid ads. These are the same companies that have helped the social juggernaut get to where they are today. Many small businesses have seen their engagement plummet on Facebook because they are not paying, while it has been the opposite for companies who have started a paid ad campaign. As for new start-ups getting on Facebook, they’re nearly invisible.


There is another factor that plays into all of this: teenagers. Many teenagers have hopped off the Facebook train and started using other social platforms like Snapchat, KiK, Vine and Instagram. According to a study by GlobalWebIndex, Facebook use by teenagers dropped a whopping 56% in Q3 of 2013. The main reason that many teens have ceased using Facebook is because their parents started using it. The good news for small business owners is that the parents are the consumers. If there are more consumers on Facebook, it means that businesses need to be there and, more importantly, be visible to them.


If you’re thinking of jumping into the Facebook ad arena, it’s relatively simple. To advertise on Facebook, you create an ad campaign that has a daily budget that can be as little as $5.00. You enter the dates and times that you want your ad visible on news feeds, along with keywords that determine which timelines the ad shows up on. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you are charged the “going rate” for a click until your daily budget is used up.


Is Facebook dead to the small business? Probably not. If you’re paying for ads, there is a definitely a much greater possibility of being seen by your target audience. If you’re not paying for ads, it will likely be more difficult to get your company noticed. According to Facebook, there are 1.01 billion active users and there are 25 million small business accounts on the platform. Numbers like that tell us Facebook is alive and well, and your small business needs to be there, whether you pay for it or not.


For more information about using Facebook and other social platforms, join us for June’s Industry Insider webinar, Social is a Science: Learn How To Use Social Media. Click here for more information.