For the last few months, law firms relying on Facebook pages to promote their businesses have been encountering a great deal of difficulty. As they tried to reach end users with unpaid, organic promotion, it became apparent that only a small portion of their posts were actually seen in the news feeds they expected. As such, businesses suspected that Facebook was pushing them toward “sponsored posts” (in which only those who have already “liked” a brand see a post).
At first, Facebook denied the accusations. The site was, the company stated, simply cleaning the system to prevent spam and low-quality content. The reach for businesses should not have been affected.
But in reality, firms had more success with organic marketing before the changes. Readers could see content targeted just for them, not material from marketing pages that they had liked. Businesses suspected that Facebook did not intend to clean up anything. The company could allow business posts to reach newsfeeds as before — if they wanted them to.
Now, those suspicions have been confirmed. Facebook recently announced that businesses can get their posts and other information into a user’s news feed, but that they must pay a fee to do so. As Facebook’s current sales information clearly states, “We expect organic distribution of an individual page's posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site." Translation: pay up, because there are no more free rides.
To increase the reach of a “seen rate”, firms and businesses that rely on Facebook for promotion will need to pay. The content no longer matters, even if the quality is stellar. The value of a like will decline, because the system no longer delivers organic, liked pages to a user’s news feed. It also means that attracting fans will turn a like into a very expensive investment for limited brand exposure.
This new wrinkle may raise promotion costs for firms that continue to rely on Facebook to increase brand exposure. Facebook is changing the way that law firms do business on the site. With more changes soon to come, these alterations should prompt any firm or business to reassess its marketing costs and to explore alternatives.