For years I’ve been telling clients, “You’ve got to have a Facebook presence!” Even in my hypocrisy (I just got my own together a few months ago) I knew there was a fundamental truth to it. You need to keep your business looking current, available, ready to serve — and like it or not, social media is the game that’s played.
You may have noticed that Facebook has a new tool to help you do just that. Now when you add a post to your page, both personal or professional, you can “promote” it for a fee. For just a few dollars, you can be sure that your friends see that cute picture of your puppy. (They base the fees on your number of friends and followers – my latest post would run $7.00 as shown below.) Odd, but not so bad.
The trouble starts to add up if you use Facebook as a key promotional tool for your organization. If you’re a web-traffic dependent business — say a blog or online shop — with a reasonable following on Facebook, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars a day to ensure that you’re getting the same eyeballs that you once did for free. (Recommended reading and analysis here.)
Just how long and well a Promoted Post is promoted is rather opaque. As is the flip-side: How much worse is it for those poor posts that don’t get propped up by payments? Is there a post purgatory, some limbo-land for the unloved who haven’t been blessed enough to purchase the proper indulgence?
Sure, I understand the math, the need to make some money. There’s fear that comes with a business model lashed to a fickle future. America’s hottest companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc — are peddling promises that they can keep up in a field born of endless revolution. Today is ok, but tomorrow is just vaporware and possibilities. Stressful stuff to present to the shareholders.
So what do do? For now, I’m going to wait it out. Promoted Posts are a new thing, and like all new things that Facebook tries, there will be a backlash and a revamp and eventually some sensible common ground will be reached. Remember Timeline? I hated it, but now it seems perfectly natural. This is just another thing to keep an eye on; I have a hunch it will change.
I must admit, part of me can’t wait to see what pops up in the “sponsored” section of my news feed. Facebook bragging and self-promotion can be tawdry enough. But paying for it? We may be about to discover a brave new level of vanity.
(Image courtesy of Dangerous Minds, who have a few things to say on this issue.)