Facebook made changes within the last few months (as they often do). One change noticed by many small businesses was an update to the EdgeRank algorithm. Facebook tended to give businesses a way to sort of automate their marketing by just sharing links and instantly having them seen all over the world. EdgeRank, which is not new, changed this. It forced businesses to interact with its fans in order to keep them seeing the posts. Now with the algorithm even more finely tuned, businesses have to dig deep again to put more work in or pay to promote their posts. Many users were outraged, often calling Facebook greedy. Unfortunately though, these users probably aren’t thinking too clearly about the impact this actually means. Here are both sides:
Personal Users: Opponents of EdgeRank (which for a personal user is most easily described as the “News Feed”) started a petition asking Facebook creators to give them back the original Facebook. In summary, they demand things like being able to see every post from their friends rather than just a selection from the ones they interact with the most, posts in chronological order, every post from pages they like, and posts referring to comments or likes a friend left on a page. At first glance these demands don’t seem completely unreasonable. Upon closer examination though, the average user would have to spend HOURS of each and every day scanning Facebook just to keep up.
What if each person had just 100 friends and liked 100 pages? If each friend posted twice a day and each page posted four times a day, it would be 600 stories to read through each day. Even if a personal user spends no more than 30 seconds reading or interacting with each post, it equates to FIVE HOURS of Facebook reading. That doesn’t even count notifications, messages, or groups. So yes, Facebook uses an algorithm to cut this down for users. They use mathematics and technology to try to push the most important stories to your feed for easy and convenient viewing. Can we start thanking them for this time saved rather than wasting our energy on complaining?
Business Users: Facebook was not created for businesses. By definition it was in fact a social network. It was designed to help college students keep in touch with their long distance friends from back home or even in the dorm room down the hall. It was created in an era before every 14-year-old had a cell phone and knew how to text. Facebook has evolved. It is an incredible powerhouse now. It continues to do what it was first created for but it has so many more capabilities. But still, Facebook was NOT created for businesses.
With all that being said, it is crucial for businesses to use Facebook. That is what society demands now. Businesses help keep Facebook alive. Small businesses often talk about how money hungry Facebook owners are now. It is as if they feel Facebook is an entity trying to take them down. It’s not. It’s there to help. Social media is a key player in so many marketing campaigns. It can give each business a giant window of opportunity. The businesses have to accept that opportunity is not synonymous with free though. There is nothing more distasteful than a business page user calling Facebook greedy for giving News Feed priority to pages that pay to advertise there. It’s not about paying for an advertisement; it’s about paying so more people see their page posts. Think about it, the small business wants to market in order to turn a profit right? Why should that come for free? Now who is being greedy?
Long story short, the system Facebook has in place works. It gives businesses a cheap way to reach millions of people. It gives individuals a free way to connect and communicate. And it gives both parties a middle ground to interact with each other.
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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.