Facebook limits unpaid features for entrepreneurs

Facebook’s Timeline shows less and less ‘social’ posts: ones from friends, colleagues and/or companies that you are a ‘fan’ of. If you want your message to be shown on Facebook with no limitations, you’ll have to pay for it. Internet expert Danny Mekic’: “You’ll see more and more ads, more and more often, and on more and more social media platforms.”

By Lenneke Arts

Less impact via Facebook
But reaching your fans or friends via Facebook for free is becoming more difficult, because every post you share on your page will show up in less and less people’s Timeline. Multidisciplinary internet expert Danny Mekić: “That’s not because Facebook decided it should be that way, but because more and more companies are posting sponsored messages via Facebook. It used to be that the left hand side of the page was the navigation panel, the right hand side was for advertisements. And in between, that was were the real posts go. But recently it’s also become possible for companies to put ads on the middle of the page or to buy a sponsored message, which recommends your page to friends of your fans. That leaves less and less room for the actual posts. Facebook just can’t show all of the messages any more. And if you still want to be sure all your friends or fans see your message in the middle frame, then as of recently, you have to pay for it.”

‘Use new Facebook feature in moderation’
On the one hand, Mekić thinks it’s a good thing that entrepreneurs can now exert some influence on which messages all their friends and fans will definitely get to see. “If you want to share an important message with your customers or post an update that you really need them to read, for a fee you can now make sure everyone actually gets it.” The entrepreneur does advise to be careful with the number of messages you offer this way. “There’s a difference between sending a message this way once a day or three times a day. Do it too often, and you’ll risk annoying your fans or friends, or worse: making them unlike your page or unfriend you.” Mekić suggests keeping an eye on public opinions on this type of advertising for this reason. “It’s possible than a counter-movement might arise. That makes sense: Facebook has become great thanks to the social aspect of the platform. I don’t mind spam, but I do want to get to choose whether I see advertisements between my friends’ posts.”

What’s the price tag?
The cost of getting your post onto the Timeline of all your friends and fans depends on the number of people who like your page or on how many friends you have. “The exact math behind it isn’t clear, but it’s not all that expensive,” Mekić says. “It’s definitely cheaper than placing an advertisement. Which it should be, since you’re only reaching the people who are already in your network. An advertisement lets you reach people from your target demographic with whom you haven’t been in touch before.”

‘Paid social media use becoming more common’
Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that has entrepreneurs pay for business use. For a year now, Twitter has also been offering entrepreneurs the possibility to reach people for a fee. A sponsored account will appear more often than average as a search result or following suggestion, and a sponsored message will automatically show up on the timeline of people you aren’t friends with. “You’ll see more and more sponsored posts, more and more often, on more and more social media platforms. The reason why is that these social sites are looking for more income and don’t know any other way to get it,” says Mekić. The entrepreneur has an idea for a better way. “Facebook has so much information about so many people. Why doesn’t the platform play matchmaker, and help people find romantic relationships? And for a couple’s first date, suggest dining out at their Facebook friends’ favourite restaurant. Wouldn’t that be ideal? I think Facebook should make advertising much more personal. Offering the right advertisement, for the right person, at the right moment, and based on scientific knowledge. That way people will want to see adverts, and it’ll remain an interesting medium for entrepreneurs to advertise on.”

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