Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why Facebook will have to start charging for Pages.

As a Social Media Manager, I have access to dozens of Facebook pages and I am also listed as a Facebook Developer.  This usually means that I find out about interesting things going on with Facebook before most normal users.

Today, as I was perusing one of my client's Page Insights, I noticed a pop-up message that was asking me if I would like to do a survey. A survey for Facebook? How can I resist? I have LOTS of feedback for Facebook!

So the survey started innocently enough. It asked what I liked about Facebook Pages. For me, the things I love most about the Facebook Pages are the customizable options with the Timeline covers and the applications with custom tabs.  Things like that really make me happy, but I am kind of geeky that way.

The next question from Facebook asked me what I DIDN'T like about the pages... even daring me to "BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE".  Oh boy, they asked for it.  Here is what I said:

1.  I don't like that Facebook applications (the custom tabs) cannot be accessed with your mobile device.  I have been reading so many studies that indicate more and more people are accessing Facebook with their mobile devices rather than a computer so it didn't make sense to me WHY we can't see the custom tabs on Facebook Mobile apps.

2. I don't like that the Facebook mobile app didn't allow for SHARING of posts.  Sharing is the most important form of engagement that your page could possibly receive. It pretty much guarantees you new likes to your page with high amounts of sharing.  Why can't we share posts and pictures from pages with our Mobile Apps?  Now, I have seen that there can be ways to do it, but it is very limited.

3. Finally, there needs to be a better solution for advertising on Facebook.  I have the ability to drive ad traffic to custom tabs which, if done correctly, can be used like a landing page. But what I want is for it to be a legitimate "choice" under Facebook advertising to drive traffic to your custom tab or better yet, give us the ability to drive all new incoming traffic to a landing page like in the olden days.

Facebook then said that they were considering offering Businesses a special "Package" for their Page with a long list of great things that they said would be included, which I am putting here for your review (along with my personal reactions to each):

1.  Mobile apps that will show custom tabs (Hooray!)
2. Availability of Email and Chat to report problems with your page (What's this going to cost?)
3. 5 Free Promoted Posts each month (Nothing's free on Facebook anymore...)
4. Access to PHONE SUPPORT for your Pages (now I KNOW this is going to cost us...)
5. Removal of all ads from the right-hand side of your page (Really? This seems lame...)
6. Option to respond to comments and wall-posts through private message (Taking things off the mat... I like that)
7. Option to post to page as an employee personality and not the page (we sort of already have this option)
8. Prominent Business listing in Facebook search (as opposed to what?)
9. Access to yearly discussions with Business Page owners who are "successful" (I already do this as a professional, year round, it's what I DO)
10. A listing of other Pages in your general field and how their success compares to yours (this could be good or bad, depending on what your line of work is)

I'm sure there were a couple of more options there, but unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to write all of them down.  Once I was finished giving them feedback as to how "valuable" I found all of the special options, they asked me if I would consider paying $50 a month for this Package.

Many of these options really won't affect my client's visibility but it could affect a lot of others in a positive way. For example, one could easily spend more than $50 on promoted posts each month, which to me really is worth the funds as it greatly increases your Page's visibility more than the traditional Facebook ad.

The truth is, now that Facebook is trading on the market, they have to look into all possible revenue streams. Advertising is pulling in a lot right now, and they have changed their Newsfeed Edgerank Algorithm so that Pages feel the need to promote their posts in order to stay in front of their followers' top stories.  Finding ways to "sweeten the pot" for Pages both offers businesses a way to have more advanced Pages than other businesses as well as adds an extra revenue stream for Facebook.

Businesses should prepare their budgets for 2013 to allow for extra Facebook spending if they want to stay on the cutting edge.

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