Ever since facebook allowed businesses to create their own pages companies have been using them for branding purposes and as a great promotional tool to market themselves to the huge community of facebook users. Businesses can post to their facebook page and fans of the page would see it their News Feed. And it is free. Until now!
Facebook has announced that businesses are going to have to pay to reach their fans. While some marketers have been noticing that less and less people have been seeing their page posts facebook has now confirmed that you will have to pay to play. If you choose not to pay to reach your fans your pages will not completely drop out of your fan’s News Feeds but only about 1-2% of your fans may see your post. If you only have a few hundred fans though that is essentially nobody.
So what can you do? Well first you can pay to promote you business page to ensure that your posts are seen by your fans. It is not a good as free but facebook is a business and a publicly traded company. If you do not want to pay here are some free options.
Post to your personal profile. The pay to play is only going to effect business pages so if you post items to your personal status update your friends have a better chance of seeing it. The downside is that if you have fans of your business page that are not part of your facebook friends you could be missing out on a large audience.
Encourage people to get on your e-mail list. Facebook has already started to implement their new rules but they have not turned to dial to full yet so you can take this opportunity to ask your fans to sign-up to your e-mail list in order for them to continue to receive the information you post to your business page. If your website does not have the ability to send out mail to large lists of people you can use a service like MailChimp which is free up to 2,000 subscribers.
Start using Google+. Setup yourself up with a Google+ business page, if you do not already have one, and ask people to follow you on Google+. Anyone who subscribes to any Google service like Gmail, Analytics, Google Docs etc. will automatically also have a Google+ accoount. This will allow you to post information, news, promotions etc. for free that your Google+ followers can keep up-to-date with.
Optimize your facebook business page for the search engines. Paying to reach your facebook fans will only apply within facebook. However if your business page is public, which it should be, you can build links to your page so that it shows up in the search results for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. This will not make it easier for your facebook fans to see your posts but it can allow you to get in front of people who may not know you yet. With social media SEO you can also drive traffic to your website as visitors are directed from your facebook page to your site.
Obviously loosing the ability to reach your fans for free is going to be tough for many businesses but by exploring alternative marketing methods you will be less reliant on one channel and protect your access to potential clients and customers in the future.