Is Facebook still the best social marketing tool for SME’s?

Facebook IS indeed still the world’s most famous social network – not just for its everyday users, but marketers and business owners too.

Social media marketing is one of the biggest buzz words in the corporate world these days, largely thanks to some incredible Facebook campaigns.
Mr Zuckerberg’s social platform has changed a lot in the last ten years, though. And now it’s effectiveness as a marketing tool for SMEs is a serious question of debate. The days of free advertising on Facebook are rapidly coming to an end – so what does this mean for SMEs on a smaller budget?

Facebook Closes In On Zero Organic Reach

The biggest factor in Facebook’s potential demise as a marketing tool for SMEs is something called zero organic reach. Once upon a time, firms could reach fans by posting content on their business page and watch the best of it get shared across people’s friends list. Back in 2012 you could expect 12% of your fans to see your content, but this number has already fallen to just 2%; while Facebook openly admits this number will soon hit zero.

Promotional Posts Are A No-No

Last year Facebook threw another hurdle in the face of business owners and marketers when it announced ‘promotional’ content will no longer make it onto news feeds. So the few people that see your content organically won’t see anything at all if you push them to buy a product, download an app or enter competitions without good reason.
It puts Facebook a further step away from SMEs who use the platform to freely promote their services across social media. But does this mean Facebook is dead for SMEs? No, but it does mean a new a approach to Facebook marketing is needed.

Time To Engage, Not Promote

Facebook openly admits it doesn’t want to be a free advertising platform, while its users don’t sign up to be bombarded with promos. Instead, Facebook wants brands to pay for advertising on its network, while users want to consume and share content.
There’s still room on Facebook for non-promotional content that engages with a brand’s audience and gives them a reason to interact or share with their friends. And it will be interesting to see what happens to the minority of content that is both promotional and engaging. That said, to get the most out of Facebook as a marketing tool you will have to pay up for advertising sooner or later.

The Cost Of Facebook Marketing

So it’s time for businesses to treat Facebook as a serious marketing platform – one you have to pay for – and set aside a budget. It’s worth remembering, while Facebook ads aren’t free, they’re faster and more effective at reaching your audience than organic reach. Social marketing is a time consuming process and anything that makes it quicker is an investment worth looking at.
In a way you get what you pay for, but the major concern for smaller businesses will be the cost of Facebook ads as the competition for space on the network heats up. However, Facebook is well aware that businesses may jump ship and abandon the network – so much so it has reiterated the importance of Facebook pages and promised new features to come.