Social Media Tools, Facebook

14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business

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badge jay says 14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small BusinessI get it. The IPO is coming, and even though Facebook is the largest seller of online advertising, it has massively under-monetized its inventory due to the relative paucity of big-brand spend. Most of Convince & Convert’s clients are larger corporations (or the agencies that serve them), but we’re a small business and work with a few as well, and I never thought I’d yearn for the cozy embrace of Google and it’s methodologies and mechanisms that were – and are – small biz friendly.

In word and in deed, the new design and rules accompanying the new Timeline version of Facebook pages is a boon to big business, and a blow to small business.

1. Cover Image

Sure it’s visceral to have a 850-pixel signature image dominate your Facebook page. But for small businesses that lack existing photography and/or personnel with the creativity and time to get something created for the Facebook Cover, it’s a burden not an advance.

2. Prohibition on Cover Promotion

Facebook wants businesses to act and interact like people, and banning promotional language on the Cover image is one way to enforce this “engagement trumps calls-to-action” philosophy.  About the new Cover photos, and in particular Facebook’s ban against promotional messaging in them, Facebook design lead Sam Lessin said:

“The key with cover photos is storytelling and expression. We want to create a good experience for everyone, and we think these guidelines really help brands… They’re encouraging people to create engaging content that people want to come back to and create and emotional connection with.” (quote from VentureBeat)

Creating emotional connections is a luxury that is out of reach for small businesses where the Facebook page manager is doing so on her lunchbreak.

3. Death of the Landing Tab

One area where small businesses could excel in “old” Facebook was with the default landing tab. This became a de-facto landing page/microsite for many companies, and made it relatively easy to drive fan behavior – especially when using inexpensive software. Of course, Facebook killed it in Timeline.

For big businesses that can and have embraced other ways to drive “likes” however, the death of the landing tab is less troublesome. Said Roland Smart, Director of Product Marketing at enterprise social media management software company Involver (whom I interviewed about Facebook’s changes)

“I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. Facebook users aren’t spending a lot of time browsing around. They are getting to the Nike Facebook page via a link on the Nike website, through an ad, or through a link on the Facebook Wall.”

4. Pinning and Starring

9 Convince Convert 300x98 14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business

“Pinned” post – indicated by small bookmark graphic in top right corner.

The new ability to highlight posts to make them double-width, combined with the option to “pin” a post to the top of the page for up to 7 days (but not both on the same post) is being touted as a big advance. For larger companies, I agree. But for small business, having to now not only figure out what to post to Facebook but also what to star and pin creates additional editorial calendar pressure and complexity that many are unprepared or under resourced to tackle.

5. Direct Messages

Presumably to keep the Wall chatter more positive and to stop Twitter’s march toward becoming the default place for social media customer service, Facebook is offering an (optional) feature whereby people can send direct messages to businesses. Note that people must initiate this interaction, brands cannot direct message people unilaterally. This seems commendable, but for small business it’s now one more “inbox” that must be monitored and responded to in as close to real-time as possible.

new facebook pages timeline lack of recent activity e1330892316161 14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business

Screen shot of recent activity from @kikolani. Click image to see her excellent Pros/Cons post.

6. Activity Stream

On each Page, the new Timeline version prominently displays the interactions that your friends have had with the brand, as well as all activity on the page. Thus, if a small business is not willing or able to update the Page on a regular basis (at least daily) the design of Timeline will make that lack of activity glaring and garish. Perhaps that’s a good thing, and companies that can’t update their Page shouldn’t be on Facebook at all, but it’s still a change that doesn’t favor the small guy.

7. Penalty on 3rd Party Apps

New Facebook Pages with Timeline Design – 12 Pros Cons 14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business

From @kikolani. Click for more.

Despite the fact that it continues to proclaim its disinterest in entering the social media management business, Facebook embraces its ecosystem partners with one hand, while slapping them with the other. Posting to a Facebook page using some third party tools often results in status updates that are displayed with less visual prominence than content entered directly at Facebook.com.

For small business that rely on third party tools to save time and boost social media efficiency, this is a problem.

8. New Tab Width

To provide additional real estate for apps, Facebook has changed (again) the maximum width from 520 to 810 pixels. This isn’t a catastrophe, as legacy, narrower apps will float in the center of the newly wide page. But eventually, apps will need to be widened or overhauled entirely, creating another issue that small business needs to address.

(Fortunately, several low or no cost software options are already available to assist in this process, including Lujure, North Social, Short Stack, Tabsite, and Agorapulse).

9. Premium Ads

Says Involver’s Roland Smart, “Facebook is sending a clear message about experimenting with new ad units that Madison Avenue will enjoy.” Indeed they will, and at the expense of small business. The targeting potential of Facebook ads is unprecedented and extraordinarily powerful. But, this opportunity to hyper-target your message is primarily of interest to smaller business looking for clicks and leads and sales, rather than big business looking for branding and engagement. The new Premium Ads (larger, more dynamic) will be sold to large companies on high-dollar, cost-per-impression deals, reducing the inventory available for the (mostly) cost-per-click Marketplace ads favored by small companies.

From Facebook’s perspective, this of course makes sense, as every seller of advertising would prefer to do so on an impression rather than clicks basis. But for small business, it might hurt.

10. Reach Generator

facebook reach generator 14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small BusinessFacebook will now allow large companies (only, for now) to purchase additional “reach” for their status updates via a new Reach Generator option. Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook’s COO – acknowledged that on average the reach of status updates is only 16% – meaning that only 16 out of every 100 of your “fans” actually see your status updates. Compare this to the average open rate for an email newsletter (~25%), and note that Facebook gives companies one third less visibility than does email. But magically, Facebook has found a way to fix this “problem” – by purchasing more ads from them.

Given that Facebook itself dictates the 16% ratio (which is actually higher than the 7.5% – 10% figure researched and cited by Facebook experts like Pagelever.com’s Jeff Widman), based on its EdgeRank algorithm, it’s maddening that they have now essentially admitted that they have been artificially reducing the reach of status updates as a precursor to the rollout of Reach Generator ads (which can put your status updates in front of the eyeballs of ~75% of your fans).

Essentially, Facebook has said that companies need to spend time and money (on apps and such) to acquire “likes” but that the vast majority of those fans won’t typically see updates from the brand, unless the brand pays for it. This is the end of Facebook as a “free” option for brands, and demonstrates such gall and guile it makes me want to scream at my laptop.

11. Real-Time Insights

Facebook’s built-in Insights statistics platform has been positively Gingrich-like in its frequent changes of direction, and now it’s unveiling real-time stats. The notion is that businesses will be able to instantly know when posts are gaining disproportionate traction, so that they can be immediately turned into paid ads to build reach. This is a nifty opportunity to be sure, but of course will be beyond the reach of small business due to budget and lack of staff to sit around and stare at real-time data streams.

12. Milestones

9 Starbucks 1 300x223 14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business

Starbucks’ Timeline with Milestones

The biggest indicator of Facebook’s new scrapbook mythology is the Milestones function. Brands can now create posts from any time in their history (including long before Facebook existed) and note them as Milestones. This notation shows them in the scrolling milestones timeline on the right hand side of the Page. For legacy brands, it’s a very nice option. For small businesses that may not have the photos to post, the time to post, or the inclination to figure out a backwards-looking historical record, it’s probably a bridge too far.

13. Auto-play Content

According to Involver’s Smart, an underreported feature of Timeline is that Facebook apps can now auto-play content – without requiring a user click or other action. This has serious implications for rich media apps and video-oriented Facebook content. A newfound playground for big brands, but probably not something most small businesses will have the dollars or desire to embrace.

14. Rollout Schedule

My favorite quote coming from Facebook in the announcement of Timeline for brands and the other changes, was this beauty from Facebook’s Lessin:

“We’ve been focused on giving tons of notice. It really helps in terms of people understanding what’s coming.” (quoted by VentureBeat)

Compared to small businesses, Facebook and large companies with staffed social media departments (or consultants like Convince & Convert) have a different sense of “tons of notice.” Thirty days to find a Cover image; replace the landing tab; change about copy; decide what and when to pin and star; figure out how to handle direct messages; reconfigure legacy apps and pick which two will be shown as a default; and potentially add milestones, is actually a frighteningly short period of time for small business – who do not sit around and ponder their Facebook best practices every day.

And one of those four weeks that Facebook graciously offered before Timeline becomes mandatory will be occupied by Spring Break, when many small business owners are on vacation with their families – ostensibly making the memories and images that Facebook craves above all. Oh, the irony.

What do you think?

Please participate in the Quipol below, and then sound off in the comments. How has Timeline been for you?

Related
  • jaybaer

    @ThePodcastGuy Other than with Reach Generator, I don’t think FB is nefarious, just overestimating time available to mess with their stuff.

    • ThePodcastGuy

      @jaybaer couldn’t agree more. Think the maj of orgs obsessing over FB perversely do it for ego rather than community.

  • http://www.mikestenger.com/ mikestenger

    Hey Jay,
     
    You make some good points here. With these quirks aside, I think Timeline will push more brands and businesses to focus more on the quality of content that they post to their page, which overall, is a good thing.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @mikestenger I think you may be right about that Mike, but can small biz afford the time required for “quality” and is “quality” in the eyes of the business, or in the eyes of Facebook? I’m not sure they are the same.

      • KrisColvin

         @JayBaer Good question about quality. Is quality a chronological “story” of the business, or is that just ONE aspect of a customer/user/prospect/client’s interest in a company? I think it’s but one point of interest.

      • jewelfry

         @JayBaer  @mikestenger Quality for Facebook equals the number of spaces before the decimal point and or ‘likes’ on a page. I see some big pages with a lot of money behind them not doing anything valuable with it.

  • sarasmith808

    @unmarketing @jaybaer I completely agree. I work for a nonprofit and am dreading the time investment Facebook is demanding more and more of

    • jaybaer

      @sarasmith808 That’s exactly it Sara. It’s definitely cool. Maybe even better. But it’s a time suck that small biz can’t afford.

  • adamwhite

    @unmarketing @jaybaer not sure if I’ve ever encountered a small biz landing tab that’s provided me with ANY value. Rather have engagement…

    • jaybaer

      @adamwhite Fair enough. But there’s a lot more to this than landing tabs.

      • adamwhite

        @jaybaer I’ll give you that. It’ll be interesting to see how people shift their approach. I’m feeling good about it though…

  • myCHILDish

    @unmarketing @jaybaer so true! The day the new pages launched I was happy my background is in graphic design and felt bad for small biz.

    • PamulaLustberg6

      @myCHILDish Create broadcast quality 3D content, with the simple Aspect & Click interface http://t.co/BuRv8IWa

  • SocialGamePlan

    I think time will tell, but I’m not particularly happy about it right now.  I think Facebook is taking a pretty big risk to be honest.

  • Chris Wandel

    I’m with you on that Jay, small businesses don’t have time to do these things. They can’t be that active on facebook and this is going to add quite a bit of friction into the mix. I think facebook have shot themselves in the foot here. I am encouraging small business to come out of the woodwork and get onto facebook sometimes, but to add these hurdles is an extra annoyance. The bottom line is, if you are a small business and you only have small amount of time to invest in one social platform then it would be Google+. It’s simpler, easier and with it’s implications on SEO I’d say it’s the winner. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Chris Wandel I’m starting to see the small biz wisdom on Google + too Chris. Just way easier to deal with. However, you have a major audience difference (for now). 

      • Chris Wandel

         @JayBaer Understood Jay, clearly the main hive are on facebook and I appreciate the fact that it’s not the obvious thing to do.   @mikestenger , SocialGameplan, It’s has been a huge gamble to invest time into Google+, but twitter has not taken off in the mainstream in the UK and I had a hunch about G+ so it becoma the core of me strategy and it has so far not let me down. I have seen some incredible engagement that has since made me feel quite comfortable about the sheer power of the SEO side of Google+ which is only going to get better.  

    • SocialGamePlan

       @Chris Wandel For those of us who are in the business of consulting and social media management for small companies, I wonder if this will be a good thing.  Granted, explaining Facebook to non-social media savvy clients was hard to begin with…this won’t make things easier.
       
      Google+…I still can’t be sure about it.  It’s definitely simpler now and easy to pick up for anyone familiar with the “old Facebook.”  I just don’t know if it’s picking up enough steam for small businesses to spend time on it…are they really going to hit much of their target audience?  I read earlier today that G+ users spend barely over 3 minutes per month on the site on average.  Granted, maybe if more businesses start pushing their way onto it, there will be more content and that number could quickly change.

    • http://www.mikestenger.com/ mikestenger

       @Chris Wandel It’s way too early to go all in on Google+. However, the search implications are huge and something to definitely keep an eye out for and/or invest at least some time into.

  • JenKaneCo

    Ironically, I just saw this post while taking a break from updating my company’s Timeline. Totally not what I want to be doing with my Sunday afternoon. But you’re right, with the 30 day countdown, what I want do seems to be entirely irrelevant to Facebook. I see it as both a boon (I’ve been in business for 10 years, which many people don’t know and Timeline will show…if a person bothers to visit the page and click on the start date) and a bust (Finding a compelling cover image for a B2B consultancy when you have no designer on staff is an exercise in futility.) Ultimately the deck is stacked so far against many businesses, that I find it’s best to just not put too many eggs in this basket.

  • agiefer

    Short term, it’s a huge headache. Long term, I like the emphasis on storytelling over self-promotion. But I do worry that small businesses will get frustrated with the changes and abandon their pages. I’m sure many won’t even have a cover image for months or longer.

  • CoyDavidsonCRE

    I don’t think its difficult to get comfortable with Timeline. Took me all of a couple hours. I don’ t buy the don’t have time argument. Don’t watch Dancing with Stars or American Idol this week. As far as Timeline. I think the changes are awesome compared to the old pages format.

  • buildandbalance

    I’m a small business coach who spends time in the trenches with local businesses like chiropractors, mattress stores, janitorial companies and the like. I can tell you from my perspective this is a huge game-changer that will dissuade more small biz owners from adopting Facebook Pages. They already thought the old Facebook was complicated. I could spend hours training a group of owners on the old network.
     
    How am I supposed to now ease them in to all these new tasks to make the most out of their Page while explaining to them the 7.5% reach? As a small business owner who actually understands most of what Jay posted above I can tell you that I’m not looking forward to the time investment for the potentially small payoff and probably will have a hard time recommending it to my clients and prospects. 
     
    LinkedIn is looking much more attractive now if only more than 6% of the users would log in daily. Hmm, email marketing? Sounding better by the day.

  • Katie T

    I disagree that any of these points are detrimental to small businesses. The only exceptions are #9 and #10, but that’s no surprise and not much of a change. Bigger companies have always had bigger ad budgets (more ads) and, usually, more engaged fans (better News Feed placement) anyway.This post makes a lot of assumptions that business owners aren’t at all tech-savvy and can’t spare a few hours to tweak the Timeline or find a friend to help. Especially since there’s a window of over a month to play with the Timeline, I don’t foresee any extra difficulties for small businesses that embrace social. Business owners understand that they may need to be prepared for changes, wherever they may come – including Facebook. Getting used to the Timeline is a little bit of a pain for everybody, sure, but small businesses shouldn’t be any worse off.

  • NathanRKing

    I believe the majority of these changes are great. I get landing tabs – it is a great branding tool and can generate more Likes. It’ll more challenging moving forward for brands. Better content = more Likes. It’s simple. Brands and small businesses need to focus on stories.

  • sprogsca

    @myCHILDish thanks :). Aren’t you on your jolly hollys?

  • http://www.heavier-than-air.com/ Steve Birkett

    With you on some of these points, Jay, such as the restricted reach and premium ads, but I think come of your arguments contradict others. 1 & 5 versus 3, for example….small businesses had time or budget to mess with time-consuming custom landing tabs, yet won’t be able to find same for a half decent cover photo or to organize some posts? It might be as infuriating to have the extra work as ever, but Facebook has done this before and will do it again. If small biz owners have found the time in the past, they can find the time now.  Perhaps the salient point is whether or not it’s a valuable investment for a business to be on Facebook or not in the first place. If there’s no time or inclination to manage another route to customer communication and make best use of the features – as often seems to be the case with some of the bigger players as well –  surely the more overriding question is why they’re on there in the first place? 

  • http://www.heavier-than-air.com/ Steve Birkett

    With you on some of these points, Jay, such as the restricted reach and premium ads, but I think come of your arguments contradict others.
     
    1 & 5 versus 3, for example….small businesses had time or budget to mess with time-consuming custom landing tabs, yet won’t be able to find same for a half decent cover photo or to organize some posts? It might be as infuriating to have the extra work as ever, but Facebook has done this before and will do it again. If small biz owners have found the time in the past, they can find the time now.  
     
    Perhaps the salient point is whether or not it’s a valuable investment for a business to be on Facebook or not in the first place. If there’s no time or inclination to manage another route to customer communication and make best use of the features – as often seems to be the case with some of the bigger players as well –  surely the more overriding question is why they’re on there in the first place? 

  • http://www.heavier-than-air.com/ Steve Birkett

    With you on some of these points, Jay, such as the restricted reach and premium ads, but I think come of your arguments contradict others.
     
    1 & 5 versus 3, for example….small businesses had time or budget to mess with time-consuming custom landing tabs, yet won’t be able to find same for a half decent cover photo or to organize some posts? It might be as infuriating to have the extra work as ever, but Facebook has done this before and will do it again. If small biz owners have found the time in the past, they can find the time now.  
     
    Perhaps the salient point is whether or not it’s a valuable investment for a business to be on Facebook or not. If there’s no time or inclination to manage another route to customer communication and make best use of the features – as often seems to be the case with some of the bigger players as well –  surely the more overriding question is why they’re on there in the first place?
     

  • http://www.heavier-than-air.com/ Steve Birkett

    With you on some of these points, Jay, such as the restricted reach and premium ads, but I think some of your arguments contradict others.
     
    1 & 5 versus 3, for example….small businesses had time or budget to mess with time-consuming custom landing tabs, yet won’t be able to find same for a half decent cover photo or to organize some posts? It might be as infuriating to have the extra work as ever, but Facebook has done this before and will do it again. If small biz owners have found the time in the past, they can find the time now.  
     
    Perhaps the salient point is whether or not it’s a valuable investment for a business to be on Facebook at all. If there’s no time or inclination to manage another route to customer communication and make best use of the features – as often seems to be the case with some of the bigger players as well –  surely the more overriding question is why they’re on there in the first place?
     

  • sholtutm

    I agree with most of this. I don’t have that many customers that rely on me for Facebook consulting, but I do have some.  And they are scambling, which means I am scambling.  Something else that bugs me is the “Highlights” button at the top of the timeline.  They don’t offer a ‘show everything’ option like in the old design, which to me is just dumb. Am I am alone in that??

  • fionakiwi

    @unmarketing @jaybaer 14 ways to whine about needing to learn & find time to use a FREE service that may help your small business, for FREE

    • unmarketing

      @fionakiwi @jaybaer Miscommunication. Apparently you thought I asked for your opinion on his post. My apologies.

    • jaybaer

      @fionakiwi I know you’re a student, but someday you’ll realize time is NOT free.

      • fionakiwi

        @jaybaer I’m a student, a filmmaker & a single mother. I know all about the value of time & of money & which startups often have the most of

  • learnit2earnit

    You put a lot of work into this article Jay.  Really appreciate you taking the time and sorting this all out.  I have clients that were confused before with their Fan Pages and spending lots of training time and  money to learn how to incorporate into their small business.  Now the game plan has changed with Facebook’s new fan page changes – so we will see how small business will really react to it, especially after March 30th. 
     

  • KrisColvin

    I agree with everything, Jay. I understand we’ll always be subject to the whims and fancies of third party channels where we hang our marketing shingles, but one of your last paragraphs depicts my frustration with yet another UI display change for Pages. “Thirty days to find a Cover image; replace the landing tab; change about copy; decide what and when to pin and star; figure out how to handle direct messages; reconfigure legacy apps and pick which two will be shown as a default; and potentially add milestones, is actually a frighteningly short period of time for small business – who do not sit around and ponder their Facebook best practices every day.” 
     
    We are a micro business (7 staff, 3 part time and nothing to do with social media/design) and we have dozens of active (mostly) small business clients who we support on social networks. So multiple everything you said by about 10+ pages to be converted, without interns sitting at the ready to research and add milestones and highlights to make the brilliant pages we’ve seen from Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola and other large brands. I’m not impressed with the change at all. Short-term, it’s a giant pain and thankless task to change. Longterm, we have to alter our approach to marketing on this particular channel, and I’m not sure in many cases it’s completely worth it. We’ll be assessing and making new recommendations in the future possibly.

  • PerryNoiaClown

    @unmarketing @jaybaer – I have to disagree with this overall”.. As an art centred small biz, I LOVE cover photos and most of the new stuff

    • jaybaer

      @PerryNoiaClown @unmarketing I can see arts-oriented enjoying it. Still a lot of time to tweak and manage though.

  • amoyal

    @Chris_Eh_Young @jaybaer Not that Facebook having no respect for it’s users is new

    • Chris_Eh_Young

      @amoyal They like to remind us who wields the power.

      • amoyal

        @Chris_Eh_Young umm we do? #efffb

  • powermommy

    @CollinKromke have I told you lately that you always share great content?

    • CollinKromke

      @powermommy You haven’t, so THANK YOU! Not many take the time to share their appreciation.

      • powermommy

        @CollinKromke I usually click on the links you tweet. That last one re: Facebook was good. Thanks for educating us! Goodnight.

  • TheJackieStyle

    @sdalefashion @jaybaer Great article! Thanks for sharing. I haven’t been paying attention now I am.

    • sdalefashion

      @TheJackieStyle. I know what you mean; it’s hard to keep up ! :)

  • jaybaer

    @CollinKromke Thank you Collin. Very kind of you to say.

  • Angelique

    I gotta say, as a fan, I hated those damn landing pages, and I’m glad they’re gone. I never looked at them, anyway; all that interested me when I wanted to check out a business was their wall, and the landing page slowed me up and usually gave me a bad impression of the business. As for the rest, Facebook has been hiding page posts from fans for quite a long time. Bad: yes. New: no. Same with the penalties for posting via third parties. Frustrating: Yes. New: No. (Tip: Use HootSuite. Facebook may still ding you for it, but at least your links retain their images.)

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Angelique Good point on Hootsuite A. Thanks for the smart comment. 

  • brandsteve

    What many small businesses need is an easy to use invite system to promote local events.  It’s okay if it costs a small amount, just make it easy and make it affordable. 
     
    Awareness (cost per impression) advertising makes little sense for the average small business.  If Facebook isn’t willing to court small businesses they are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

  • meganjfreer

    I think that it is true that its a disadvantage that small businesses don’t have the history as bigger corporations but small businesses also have a lot more that they can put on Facebook. Corporations usually have  guidelines that they have to follow when it comes to social media so I feel that it isn’t that big of an inconvenience. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @meganjfreer Very good point Megan. Small businesses are often not bogged down in approvals and process. 

  • deliciousday

    @redslice @jaybaer Great article. Thanks for sharing!

  • abladias

    @ainhoatorres ese post es importamte, deberías meterlo en SC!

    • ainhoatorres

      @abladias ¡Hecho ;)!

  • BillatGrist

    @AimiablePaul Doesn’t help his case with terrible problem of SME getting a banner photo – big problem in Victorian times, now not so much

    • AimiablePaul

      @billatgrist You’re right – most SMEs can take a photo. But for some framing & cropping are unheard-of skills?!

  • MikeWise07

    Pinterest, google +, LinkedIn, others Tbs. There will come a day when Facebook will be a ghost town. But it’s serving as a great beta! Esp like #10.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @MikeWise07 I’m not sure about a ghost town, but you never know. MySpace looked pretty unbeatable at one point too. Yahoo as well, in the search business. Netscape on browsers. Even AOL. 

  • betsykent

    Thank you very much for actually writing and posting the blog I was writing in my head. Updating, maintaining and monitoring a Facebook page is requiring a bigger investment all the time, and there may be quickly coming a time when many small businesses decide that the ROI is too low for all the trouble.
     
    And:
    1. Most users don’t visit a brand’s FB Page unless they are driven there by a message. Once I “like” a brand, I expect to see their messaging in my newsfeed. I’m not visiting their Page every day to see what has changed. 
    2. If I “liked” my local bakery because I want to know when it is serving red velvet cupcakes, I expect to see that appear in my newsfeed. If I never see those messages because the local bakery can’t compete successfully in Edgerank, and only see big brand messaging in the newsfeed and on the right hand side of my screen, the value of “liking” businesses is low.
     
    Users just may go looking for the intimate, community-based experience they used to have on Facebook, elsewhere. This is a great opportunity for a new network to come in and cater to small businesses and their customers.
     

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @betsykent It’s an excellent point Betsy about the relative lack of visits to the page after the first time. The VAST majority of interactions post “like” are in the news feed. 

    • jewelfry

       @betsykent Yes, yes, yes!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/InklingMedia KenMueller

    Hey, Jay, first off, thanks for putting my ugly mug on your poll, which is how I was alerted to come here in the first place!
     
    I have mixed feelings. I work almost exclusively with small businesses and I happen to really like the timeline. And my clients are the type that will NOT spend any sort of money on any extras. They will, for the most part, use what is offered for free, so larger enterprise solutions just won’t cut it for them.
     
    One thing I try to tell my clients is that a Facebook page, like any other social media, is not a done deal. It’s never “finished”, but is always a work in progress. It is possible to activate the timeline and work thru things and add material to flesh it out more over time.
     
    The main thing here is that businesses DO need to up there game. It’s not a matter of spending more money, or even more time, but making better use of their time and understanding how social works. I’m hopeful that this move will help them complete the mindset change that is required to work well in social. 
     
    You mention that “Essentially, Facebook has said that companies need to spend time and money (on apps and such) to acquire “likes” but that the vast majority of those fans won’t typically see updates from the brand, unless the brand pays for it. This is the end of Facebook as a “free” option for brands”. I still believe that on the small business hyper-local level, this will not be the case. If businesses really know what they’re doing, they’ll be able to get those “likes”, and if they are active and engaged, they will show up in the newsfeed. Does it take time? Yes, but I’ve got quite a few clients who are being very proactive and successful, and these are small, family owned and operated businesses with incredibly small staffs. I’ve found that the businesses that are most successful at increasing the fanbase of their pages are those that understand how to leverage their current customers in the offline world to connect with them in the online world. 
     
    Thanks for this post, a lot of great info in here, and it’s good to know others are thinking about the small businesses, and not just the larger corporations with money and larger staffs.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @KenMueller I agree Ken that good content practices yields better engagement on Facebook. But by their own admission, that ratio tops out around 16%, without advertising. That pisses me off. 

  • MonicaMcPherrin

    Great article. I hadn’t thought of some of the points you mentioned in terms of small business Vs large corporations. I appreciate you laying it all out. It definately gives me more to think about when dealing with my small business clients, especially in terms of advertising.

  • Jason Stambaugh

    I’ve got a hunch that small business who were crushing it with Facebook before Timeline, are going to crush it after Timeline. Those who weren’t, well, still won’t do very well. 
     
     

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Jason Stambaugh That’s probably true. Partially due to aptitude, and partially due to resource allocation. 

  • Kristen McIntyre

    I set up my business in Facebook about a month ago and was hit with this upgrade right away. It took me much less time to reconfigure for the upgrade than it did for the original page and now I have more photos to choose from in the future. Anyone who is putting an effort into Facebook will find a way to make the changes work for them……Just like Jason said. 

  • http://www.jaydesigns.net JayDesignsTN

    Thank Jay, very informative. As a small business owner trying to assist other small business owner you have given me some great insight and saved me tton of investigative time.  I hadn’t thought of some of the points you mentioned so I appreciate you laying it out so clearly. I already knew I had a lot to think about when dealing with my small business clients, you’ve laid out a path for me to walk.  Thanks again – J.

  • IsaacAWardell

    Jay I could not agree with you more! You have hit the nail on the head with this post. It was difficult enough for small business to get started before, now it’s even more daunting. It’s getting to the point where it’s almost as if they have to build their own website, except that there are a ton of rules around it. Limiting the cover image is the worst part in my opinion. Getting rid of the ability to add call to actions and promotional content on the best part of your page stinks. Period. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @IsaacAWardell Exactly Isaac. Several commenters here are in the “what’s the big deal?” camp, and that’s fine. But, in most cases they are social media professionals, or adept at technology. People need to recognize that if you are reading this post you ARE NOT NORMAL. There is a whole world out there that is paralyzed when you say “find a great photo of your business that’s 850 pixels wide, and upload it so that you have a new Cover image.”
       
      Some commenters may say “look, if you can’t do that one simple thing, you don’t deserve to be on Facebook.” Fair enough. But the reality is that Facebook’s success has been built on the notion that ANYONE can do it. And with these new moves, they are clearly making it more complex and time-intensive. Will that make it a better experience? Maybe. Will it make it a more difficult experience for small biz? Definitely. 
       
      My original career was politics, where the #1 lesson is to NEVER overestimate the aptitude or interest of the general public. And that’s the mistake the Facebook (and some commenters) are making, in my estimation.

      • 29THFLR

         @JayBaer So Facebook and every other company there should operate on the assumption that all of their users are idiots? They should avoid any new features that might confuse average joe user? That’s not how things move forward. How many people didn’t even know how to use a computer 20 years ago or an ipod 10 years ago?

  • notstilettoshy

    Thank you @TheCouponCutie for this article. I know we are all scrambling!

  • leslieposton

    You nailed it. Saving me writing my own version of this post, too – re-sharing.

  • jaybaer

    @JasonFalls Thanks pal. See you Friday!

  • martin_aside

    Jay, I appreciate the sentiment of your article, but I think most of it is reaching.  I agree that getting rid of landing pages has upset pretty much everyone. Also, the short time frame before forced adoption and the new ads and  reach generator that are only available to premium users definitely disproportionately effects small businesses. For the most part, things like page messaging, real time insights etc. are optional benefits and not a betrayal in my book.
     
    At the end of the day there are two things we should take from this, 1) Know that Facebook controls your Facebook presence and no matter how big of a business you are, it’s liable to be pulled out from under you at any time, and 2) We have a lot more control over the appearance of our Facebook walls/timelines appearance, how can we use that in our favor?

    • SusieQTpies

       @martin_aside THANK YOU, Martin for your rebuttal. After reading all the comments from Jay, I found myself short on time to respond to each point. You summed up my thoughts quickly.
       
      Embrace what you have and move with it. I”m the social media manger for a lot of small businesses- from blogs to authors to city pages. It doesn’t take anymore time now then it did before to run the Facebook page. Find the most out of it and use it. Educate yourself on the changes and run with it! susieqtpies  

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @SusieQTpies  @martin_aside  susieqtpies I don’t want to quibble Susie, and I don’t do small biz consulting myself, but it does indeed take more time now to run a Facebook page, for the reasons I’ve articulated. Realize that many small businesses do not have a social media manager (like you) to help them. Those folks are the ones that are going to be impacted the most. 

        • 29THFLR

           @JayBaer “many small businesses do not have a social media manager (like you) to help them”
           
          Facebook is creating jobs.

        • SusieQTpies

           @JayBaer I get that but even not paying someone to do this, it can be done with just spending 10 minutes a day on your page. Any business can do it. I do it on my own personal blog Facebook page- only spend 10 minutes if that. Just saying, it can be done. I see it being done. So I’m not trying to quibble, either :) just trying to point out that it can done.
           
          UPdate your cover photo to reflect what is going on with your business. If you are into food, post a current photo of a recipe. If you fix computers, put a picture of someone fixing a computer, etc. Really it is easy and it looks nice.
           
          EVERY TIME you post something, make it an important post. So pin that post. It will always be at the top. If your business has something important going on and it has a nice photo, highlight it. Keep it easy.
           
          Use the Questions to engage your customers. Find out who they are and what they are interested in. Make your content that you post for them. 
           
          These are all easy steps. I love the new Admin Command center. It is up front ready for you to see so no searching for it. It is easy to see what people are making comments on or liking, then all you have to do is click and go right to it instead of searching your page.
           
          The Message box is great, too. Several of my pages have already received messages. It really works.
           
          Have a great day, susie

        • SusieQTpies

           @29THFLR  @JayBaer  Exactly! One place pays me $25 for a week of work! That is just for a few min. on their page a day to keep up updated and answer questions. $25 isn’t a lot for them to spend. $25 for me isn’t going to make me rich but it has led to a lot  of other $25 plus jobs and gives me work! 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @martin_aside Good summary, and I agree with your two main takeaways. 

      • martin_aside

         @JayBaer Thanks Jay! Also, as you said in your article the 16% is an average of how many of a page’s “fans” see the content in their timeline, so it doesn’t top out at 16%.
         
        If you post decent content, or at least know to throw in very simple yet engaging questions from time to time like, “What’s your favorite color?” that percentage can go way up.
         
        Another great tip is setting an ad budget of $1 or $2 per day with pay per click advertising that only shows to your own fans to bring them back to your page. I think you’ve inspired me to write an article on the “Poor mans Reach Generator”. Nobody take that before I have a chance to write it. lol Congrats on such lively discussion!

    • jewelfry

       @martin_aside If no one is ever going to see what you postiagain after they like it then what does it matter. People interact with you in the news feed not your page. If you are posting great content and beautiful photos and sitting by your message box what does it matter if Facebook stops pushing your post onto the newsfeed and people don’t see you and forgot they ‘liked’ you in the first place. They will have no choice but to know what Walmart and Macy’s is selling though.

  • http://thecontentcocktail.com/ C_Pappas

    The sad part is, I dont think it’s just Facebook. In 2 of the last 3 companies I have worked for, we started out with a tiered approach to our products which enabled both small and large businesses to take advantage of our offerings. But, the company realized that while we were spending the same time, money and resources on building low-priced products, we could simply just focus our efforts on ‘the big guys’ and stop supporting SMBs. Scary notion here that brands like Facebook are simply chasing bank accounts. Our economy thrives on the small business owner and we should be supporting them and providing solutions, not forcing them out.

    • brandsteve

       @C_Pappas I am willing to wager that Facebook can make more money from small business than they can from large.   It’s easy to focus on large because there aren’t that many, whereas there are millions and millions of small businesses.  

  • b2bbaker

    @Social_Madi Weeee! We love @jaybaer!

    • jaybaer

      @b2bbaker @Social_Madi Thanks guys!

  • natevegas

    Its clear that his is a jab at Facebook, but I think only about half of these are legit. The other half are assuming – and reaching, as some have mentioned before me. The new timeline features shouldn’t be the indication that a small business (finally?) needs decent content (pinning), decent photography (cover) or to pay attention to its customers (direct messages). Many small businesses (the good ones) are more nimble and more creative than large corp’s. Let’s not pretend the poor, helpless main street company can’t figure out how to leverage change and trust to turn profits.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @natevegas Some will succeed, others won’t. And that’s okay. But what I object to is that the totality of these changes favor large business, and I think Facebook will regret that eventually. The small businesses are the ones that are the fabric of the site, not Coke and Starbucks. 

      • natevegas

         @JayBaer Dude, no argument there. I’m sure they’re fishing for big fish. Personally, I really like the appearance of the new timeline, as well as the new back end features for page admins. To be brutally honest for a minute: doesn’t the new Facebook Page offer a much better solution for small business than their own high-maintenance, out of date, overpriced website? Perhaps this is a break-even for small business: by shedding the costs of the dinosaur website, and other antiquated tech like yellow pages ads, or the guesswork of other traditional advertising? While on the topic, aren’t the paid enhancements from Facebook akin to prime time ads on TV or drive time radio vs. a 3am infomercial? The medium is evolving, and that’s something we can all agree on, I think. Thanks for the thought provoking piece. 

    • jewelfry

       @natevegas Why assume that small business isn’t already posting decent content and quality photographs or paying attention to their customers. I post for a few small local business and that is exactly what i do and I do it much better than big brands. Most small business owners are to busy working long hours and trying to keep their doors open and make payroll. They are lucky to find someone like me who will take the time to post engaging content,  comment and actually listen and respond to their followers when they can’t, unlike on many pages of big brands that i watch. I also do it at a price they can afford.  It’s not that they are poor and helpless its that they are already over worked and strapped and now Facebook is turning its back on them in favor of the big buck. This new plan means even if your content sucks it will be seen because you have the money to pay us to show it.

  • myjaylor

    @jaybaer gets it right in this article @farmnwife, we’re working hard to make changes, thank goodness FB gave us all that notice ;) #agchat

  • http://www.slopefillers.com/ GreggBlanchard

    Jay, great post. I find it hardly a coincidence that while research is indicating Facebook ad growth has stagnated, Facebook has turned on Timelines for pages.  In my opinion, Timeline is not so much about pages being able to tell their story but rather Facebook’s excuse to do away with page features that allow self promotion.  While there are certainly still other options, Facebook is trying to herd all of it’s page admins toward one thing: paid ads.  
     
    This makes of sense, though, and is completely justified. Pages milk huge amounts of value from a site that is free but costs piles of cash to run.  They have to start making ends meet and ads is where that will likely come from.   It’s easy to forget, but this is Facebook’s turf and we play by their rules.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Gregg Blanchard Bingo! It’s a back door revenue grab all the way. 

      • http://wallstreetbranding.com/ RmSorg

         @JayBaer @Gregg Blanchard This is exactly what they are doing by eliminating our landing tabs!  Will Google+ step up for the smaller businesses?!  

        • brandsteve

           @RmSorg  @JayBaer  @Gregg Blanchard G+ is a failure so far when thought of as a potential replacement for FB as a social engagement site.  However, as a social recommendation engine it could easily surpass FB.  

    • brandsteve

       @Gregg Blanchard It is their turf, but we are the customer.   So far I see a company that is focusing on their wallet with their impending IPO and not focusing on the customer, particularly small local businesses.  At least they finally came clean with the reality that page posts are shown to about 16% of fans.   This change occurred last September and dramatically reduced engagement on small business pages. Is Reach Generator an appropriate tool for small business to restore broad visibility of your page posts?

      • zwenthe

         @brandsteve But the fact is we are not the customer as much as we are the product. It is up to Facebook to get the product in front of the buyers of advertising.

        • brandsteve

           @zwenthe When I said we are the customer, I was referring to the audience here – we’re marketers either working directly for a business or indirectly as a service provider.   When we use facebook through our personal identity then we are the product.

        • jewelfry

           @brandsteve  @zwenthe As a marketer we have to remember to think like a customer. The customer in me does not like what Facebook is asking the marketer in me to do and I don’t believe the other customers will like ti either.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @brandsteve  @Gregg Blanchard Reach Generator is not even available for small biz, so the answer for now is no. 

      • jewelfry

         @brandsteve  @Gregg Blanchard We are not he customer we are the product. Facebook is selling us to big business. What we want and like does not matter. If it did they would show us updates from pages and friends that we have taken the time to like. Instead it is limiting that and selling us to the highest bidder.

    • jewelfry

       @GreggBlanchard Make ends meet? Facebook does not have to worry about making ends meet. It’s fine to try to push more ad revenue towards their own platform but at least be fair about it.  Also why should now profits and the like have to put so much money out just to be heard. By the time Walmart and Coca Cola are through there will be no more real estate left.

  • dS_marty

    @faitici Thanks for pullin’ my head out of the sand. My timeline action plan was to try and ignore timeline.

    • FAITICI

      @ds_marty ha :) I think as of march 30 they r simply switching brands over

  • http://www.blastmedia.com/ Julie Perry

    Laughed out loud at the use of “Gingrich-like.” Nice one!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Julie Perry I do what I can!

  • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

    Awesome post Jay!  I didn’t think of the flip-side of some of the new features, like people using Messages to write good things the business would want on their wall instead.  I wonder if that will mean some businesses will need to ask permission when someone messages them to add their comment to the wall too.  
     
    Ps. Thanks for including my images and linking it to my post!  :)

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Kristi Hines Thank YOU for the terrific coverage you’ve put out there of this whole issue. You are amazing. Everyone should be reading http://kikolani.com 
       
      Really interesting question about whether people will need to ask permission to put positive comments on the wall. Hmmmm. 

      • jewelfry

         @JayBaer Facebook doesn’t ask permission to use your post as a sponsered story. I wonder.

  • YoungWebBuilder

    Theres more things that back up my thoughts here then i’d realized.  

  • http://flybluekite.com/ lauraclick

    Wow. I had no idea Facebook had decreased the reach ratio to help promote paid ads. You’re right – that’s not cool. I understand why they’re doing it, but Facebook ads are certainly outside of the budget for many SMBs.
     
    I work with a number of small businesses and you’re right – a number of these changes will be difficult for businesses that don’t have a social media manager or consultant to help. Day-to-day management may not change all that much, but setting up and optimizing their page for the new look may be challenging for some small businesses. I actually like the opportunity the cover image presents. It’s just too bad Facebook is limiting what you can do with it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @lauraclick I don’t believe they have decreased reach ratio, they just never allowed it to go above 16%. Perhaps an insignificant difference, but I wanted to be clear on that.

      • jewelfry

         @JayBaer Is that a good thing. To me that is worse!

      • brandsteve

         @JayBaer  @lauraclick They did decrease the reach ratio last September.   In preparation for charging people to get it back as the are doing now.

    • brandsteve

       @lauraclick We should create a contest for the best cover image.  My favorite so far is Brewdog in the UK:  https://www.facebook.com/BrewDogOfficial

  • tourre

    Great read!We were excited about the new timeline at first until we started seeing so many of the new limitations it came with. The most crippling (non necessary) seem to be their rules regarding what you put in your cover photo and the removal of the landing tabs. We’re not real thrilled with the ads or the fact they can’t seem to decide on a page width (costing us extra development time for not only our own brand page, but ALLLL of the ones we manage for our clients as well). The layout of the admin controls also seems very clunky.We have high hopes that this will kick Google into high gear to provide more appealing business page solutions on their google+ platform (which seems rather limited right now).

    • MattBeaty

       @tourre The clunky-ness of the admin layout is what really kills be about the switch. How am I supposed to get anything done if I spend so much of my brainpower navigating the darn admin page? Rawr!

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @MattBeaty  @tourre Yeah, that layout is brutal for now. I suspect it will get better. 

  • RyanSides225

    @argylesocial @jaybaer “Betrays” is harsh.It’s THEIR playground.We have to play by their rules, which can change without notice.

    • PepitaBos

      @RyanSides225 What if people decide they do not want to play anymore?

  • jburno

    Half of these reasons you give simply assume that if a small business is not using or updating their Facebook page then they’re not going to be able to use it to it’s fullest potential. This has always been the case. If you don’t take a bit of time to engage and use this medium then of course you’re not going to see anything come out of it. Some of the reasons you give are legit, but some are just common sense. Do you really think it takes a ton of extra time to think about what post you’re going to pin? Maybe an extra 2 minutes. 
     
    You’re right, it is going to take some time to optimize your current page for Timeline, but I think we just need to come to grips with the fact that Facebook is going to continue to change and evolve. You can’t expect anymore to just be able to setup a page and never have to do any work with it again. 
     
    If we choose to use Facebook as a business tool then we choose to be on their terms. 
     
    I’m really not as mad as this comment is probably coming off as. I like that you’re looking out for small businesses, because someone has to, but I think some of your points are legitimate, while others are just obvious. Thanks for posting.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @jburno Thanks for the comment, and you’re perfectly entitled to be mad. I’m not anti-Facebook – far from it. I’m not even a small business consultant. I just feel like they are not paying attention to the needs of the little guy, and there are a LOT more of them then there are big guys. 

  • http://karenruntz.wordpress.com/ runtzka

    One big minus for me is how Facebook has interpreted and structured “friend” postings, downsizing them in a separate activity stream. The problem is that Facebook has collapsed admin postings into that stream, limiting the expanded view that includes photos etc. to the “page” postings.
    An example: As an admin and communicator for a brand, I help provide a human face to a brand, a practice that has until now been recommended. But everything I’ve posted (and the same for everything the president has posted) has now been relegated to the limited “friends” stream. What has remained in the expanded view is what I’ve posted as the brand, with the logo instead of a human contributor.  Doesn’t this bother anyone else?

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @runtzka Yes. Really good point. I almost made that #15 on my list, but it got a little bit complicated, and was going to require 2 screen shots to illustrate. It’s ironic that they want humanization on one hand, but then make a move like that, diminishing it on the other hand. 

  • SusanHand

    Jay, I think you fairly summed up this for the little guy. I’ve been playing around with the new timeline all weekend and helping my own fans learn their way around. It’s not a pretty picture. For the first time in months I went back to G+ and it started to look like a nicer place to put down some roots. 
     
    The question is will any of this change, and I don’t think so. MZ has a commitment to big business with his IPO. Strange, but I think it was small business that actually helped him build this empire. 
     
    Thank you for a well written piece. 
     
    Susan @www.thesavvyfolopreneur.com

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @SusanHand My pleasure Susan. Thanks for the comment, and for talking the time to help people sort it all out. 

  • jaybaer

    @erkramer Thanks for that. Much appreciated!

    • erkramer

      @jaybaer I think we’re on the same page…here was my $0.02 from the other day http://t.co/KsjVW2Si

  • http://prosocialtools.com/ Tim Piazza

    This is the first coherent article I have seen that takes a hard look at the downside for small businesses who need to deal with the changes on Facebook, and I cannot help wonder just how many will decide that it’s just not worth the effort to connect with their FB community. There’s already far more failure than success, and these changes are making it that much harder.I still think FB is the #1 place for local B2C, especially for in mid-size cities and smaller communities where Twitter and social review sites don’t offer a large audience. But it’s becoming clear that small businesses need to either commit or outsource if they want their social media done right.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @Tim Piazza I think that’s exactly it Tim. Seems like small biz are going to have a harder and harder time DIY with Facebook. Maybe that’s ultimately a good thing. I’m not sure yet. 

    • tdhurst

       @Tim Piazza I’m having a hard time finding good reasons for my small, mostly B2B clients with some B2C sales, clients to continue to invest any time in Facebook without spending a ton of money.
       
      No matter how great our content is, I can’t help but worry that without enough of an ad spend, no one will see it anyway.

      • http://prosocialtools.com/ Tim Piazza

         @tdhurst It really emphasizes the need for building passion around your brand in the offline world and leveraging that to extend social reach in the online world. Big brands can do that because they have a variety of ways they can connect with fans, from sponsoring sports to playing a role in a variety of social outreach campaigns.I think the key for small, local brands is to emulate that same activity, but at a local scale, like sponsoring the local little league team and local Habitat for Humanity builds, then use those activities to promote on social media. It’s still a spend, but it’s a spend that fans prefer over advertisements. 

  • daver819

    @cowgirljesse Facebook. BAH humbug!!

  • http://www.onedesk.com/ Luke Winter

    The ‘Penalty on 3rd Party Apps’ is really a biggie. The smaller your company the more liekly you’ll need to have a program to sync out updates across the social networks. Hopefulyl with ernough insightful and convincing posts like this pointing out the problem the slim blue will get round to sorting out the issue!
     
    Luke W
    Community Manager
    http://www.onedesk.com

  • davevandewalle

    Jay, great stuff and thanks for sharing.
     
    I fear that the big boys will continue to win – and there needs to be some hook for small businesses. The person or group or company that figures that out will win big. But small businesses will suffer in the interim.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @davevandewalle Thank you Dave. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Google has always been very small biz friendly, and it’s certainly worked well for them. Time will tell whether Facebook eventually swings the pendulum back the other way. 

  • Geraldinebcl

    @iagdotme It’s a new page for a new website, and I find it hard to make it look like there’s a lot going on because it’s in 2 columns.

    • iagdotme

      @Geraldinebcl yes, that sounds like an issue. There’s also the new rules re banning calls to actions etc

  • DennisJSmith

    I like Timeline for Pages and think that in the long run it will be better for small business. Social Media doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. There are lots of free tools out there and Mari Smith always has great free information. I had my page converted in less than 30 minutes. I do however miss the ability to have a landing page and think Facebook should reconsider.

  • lutrov

    @textcentric That number exactly matches the number of “likes” I have on mine.

  • BrianBraker

    The fact is these changes are going to seriously damage our clients that are small businesses.They do not have the resources,time or money to deal with these upcoming changes. We will not pursue other avenues for them to reach their market. Brian http://www.twitter.com/SEONOW

  • mattjham

    I’m not as worried about it as I was at first. I agree with most of your points, especially small businesses not having the time or resources to generate a quality cover image. Not having a default landing tab is definitely a disadvantage but I’m glad they’ve allowed the custom tab buttons and they are pretty large.

  • mzayfert

    For me the biggest problem is that small businesses have such little faith in Social Media.  It is the large brands that are embracing it.  It now means that there will be “other” ways for Small Businesses to get noticed on the social web.  It will probably require small businesses to really rethink their marketing strategies and spend some money on education or consultation.

    • BrianHamlett

       @mzayfert I’d say this is true and false. In my experience working with small business clients, I’ve been given 2 perspectives of social media in small business.
       
      1) I see the opportunity and even though I’m not really sure how to capitalize it, I’m going to try it anyway and learn as much as I can.
       
      2) Show me small businesses that have successfully used Social Media to move the needle and how it applies to my business, and I’ll consider it.
       
      What’s funny is that it just matches the two drastic differences in entrepreneurial mentality: risk-tolerant and risk-averse.  Go figure. ;)
       
      For the risk-averse, you can tell them and tell them and tell them what social media can do for their business, but if I can’t show the “proof” that closely matches their situation and you can forget it.
       
      I will say that I TOTALLY agree with you that I hope these businesses will start dedicating some budget to education and consultation.  Social media isn’t going away and while I fully believe that your business can succeed without social media, I also believe it could be much more successful with the right social media strategies implemented in your business!

  • Socialologist

    @etawiah thanks for your RT – glad you’re paying attention! :)

  • Socialologist

    @brik_dm thanks for your RT today!

  • http://www.cellzapp.com/ amit_nanda

    Great article. I was watching the FMC livestream and just could not understand why there was no attempt to discuss these changes specifically for local SMBs. All the messaging seemed to be for the big brands (and ofcourse large FB ad budgets). I have been looking at the Facebook fan reach and engagement problem for a while now and wondering if we could come up with solutions for local SMBs. I think this as an opportunity in the Facebook ecosystem and a lot of folks will jump in to try and fill this gap. We’ve dipped our toe in the water with http://mofans.co/

  • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

    Give small businesses a little credit, plenty of them are already doing great things with ads, branding, and will rock timelines. Facebook is not singling out small businesses, they are just providing better tools for those that choose to invest in the platform. 

    • jewelfry

       @jasonkeath Not if they aren’t letting small business use some of these tools. How much real estate is left after big business buys it all up?

      • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

         @jewelfry They do not have anything against small businesses. The only thing most businesses cannot access are premium ad products like reach generator. This is the case because people have to set up this product manually and Facebook does it for anyone with enough of a significant budget ($10k is a common number thrown out). I personally cannot use that product because of the money needed, but I understand that it is not possible to role out for everyone. This is like ALL online advertising. Yahoo doesn’t say a small business can’t buy the front page add on yahoo.com, it just does not make since for the wallet of most businesses or for Yahoo’s time.Facebook opened up more tools for all businesses last week than they ever have before. 

        • brandsteve

           @jasonkeath  @jewelfry So if a small biz is willing to pay to reach all of their fans and not 16% ???    Why isn’t there a version of reach generator for them?

        • jewelfry

           @brandsteve  @jasonkeath That is what I would like to know. That is just one of the reasons I think that Facebook is neglecting small business. Why limit it to 16% at all. If, as an individual you can limit how much you subscribe to, some updates, most updates, etc, then why not let people do that with brands. Let the user decide who and what they want to see.

        • jewelfry

           @jasonkeath They gave big business big tools and made it harder for small business to keep in the running. You are not taking into account that the average small business has neither the budget, the time or the technical know how to keep up with the constant changes. I think the base of the problem is illustrated in this thread that is mostly marketers and social media people talking about numbers and tools. That is not the average user. 

    • brandsteve

       @jasonkeath Don’t entirely agree.   If you run an event focused business FB sucks.   They need to fix this.

      • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

         @brandsteve I do run an event focused business. What do they need to fix for events? The platform is definitely not a perfect one, but would be curious about where you have issues with it.

        • brandsteve

           @jasonkeath I don’t think you use Facebook’s event feature to drive social marketers to your events.   Put yourself into a small biz owner in Portland and you’ve built up a few hundred followers.   Now create a Facebook event and try to invite your fans.   Oh damn… not an option.   Now what?   What a lot small biz owners here do is friend all of their fans because the system allows that.   You can put them on a list and then manually go thru each person on that list and invite them. That totally sucks too.

        • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

           @brandsteve You can run ads to drive people to your facebook event (or other event website). 

        • brandsteve

           @jasonkeath Sure you can, but you can’t invite your fans?   This is the most obvious extension FB can make.   Even if it’s for a fee, but they don’t care about small business.  That’s the whole point of this thread.  

        • jewelfry

           @brandsteve  @jasonkeath Also don’t forget that marketers love the idea running events and inviting people but most users ignore events. They get frustrated by them and don’t really follow. 

    • BrianHamlett

       @jasonkeath While I agree with this – to a point – the difficulty that I see is that most small business owners I have worked with are on a bit of a learning curve that just got drastically longer.
       
      They’re not tech savvy and they do not exactly have a ton of time to learn all the intricacies and strategies of the Facebook platform… especially when it changes often with the previous version and then changes drastically with Timeline.  For many of them, I’ve seen them toss their hands in the air because they just got through learning the strategies that worked for the old layout that have essentially been killed with Timeline and they have to essentially start over. Do they have to toss everything they learned out? No, of course not. They’ve learned that relationships, engagement, and authenticity matter… but they miss the “system” they were able to create that made it easier for them to manage it with less time required actually being in the platform each day.
       
      They don’t have the time or the budgets to keep hiring social media specialists to help retool and retrain them.  So this sort of change is like learning how to use a calculator and then being handed a Windows 7 PC for the first time in your life. Sure, there’s a calculator in there, but there’s all this new complexity around it that you have to learn to truly benefit from it where you were happy with your 10-key interface that accomplished efficiently what you needed it to.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @BrianHamlett  @jasonkeath Exactly Brian. I love Jason Keath, he’s a friend and has been very kind to me. But the fact that Jason – like many commenters here – is a professional social media operative, makes him atypical in terms of his understanding of these changes, and ability to harness them. Go to Google and search for plumbers in your town. Find one that has a Facebook page. Call them and ask them about these changes. 

        • BrianHamlett

           @JayBaer @jasonkeath I’m a fan of Jason’s too… but that’s because I’m a Charlotte, NC fella (where I originally met Jason and he originally founded SocialFresh.) And he is most definitely up on his social media game, but you’re right, it wasn’t a plumber, but a local small retailer who was REALLY floored by the changes.  He didn’t grow up with computers, but he owns 2 locations and deals completely with B2C so he knew Facebook was something to look into.

        • jewelfry

           @JayBaer  @BrianHamlett  @jasonkeath So true. The average user does not live and breath social media like we do. It is unfair to expect most small business owners and users to understand and embrace this. As marketers that should not leave our minds.

        • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

           @JayBaer  @BrianHamlett Can’t we just send this plumber a Facebook message through his page? 

        • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

           @jewelfry  I think it is plenty fair. Facebook has built great tools for businesses of all sizes. But not all of them are going to be able to keep up or know what to do on day one. Facebook is not broken for anyone, it just has more features that they will learn about over time. Facebook does not need to have the perfect system for every business. They need to provide tools for the businesses that are investing in the platform. That is how the overall usefulness of the platform moves forward (for everyone). 

        • jewelfry

           @jasonkeath The main new feature for small business is the cover image. Also this is all about Facebook catering to business and not the user. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @jasonkeath The fact that some small businesses are doing it well DOES NOT mean that it will be easy for small businesses on the whole. That is the very definition of a straw man argument. 

      • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

         @JayBaer I guess my feeling here is that the Facebook toolset for a small business is pretty robust. It is more user friendly than Google adwords for instance, and has more options. They provide free training resources, even a small business marketing page with plenty of demos and case studies. I think Facebook is investing plenty in small business opportunities. They are also going to invest in opportunities where they will make the most money, which are companies that can invest real time and money into the platform. I think this rollout is the closest they have come to providing better options for both. 

  • David Marciniak

    So obviously as a small business owner, I was incredibly frustrated to see FB change the algo to where even my wife no longer sees my biz in her News Feed. What I found interesting was that when I told her about this, she got really mad as a consumer. As she put it, she goes on FB and “likes” local businesses because she was led to believe that this allows her to keep up with what they’re doing. She’s pretty irritated that FB isn’t letting her do that – as more people figure this out, they may have to change. Again.

    • brandsteve

       @David Marciniak    There is a painful workaround.   I’ve created lists for different types of businesses I want to follow – like local restaurants.  Whenever I want to see everything they’ve posted, I simply click on my list and catch up.
       
      i doubt many people will do this, but it does work like a charm.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @brandsteve  @David Marciniak  There is a rumor that they will be rolling out an “interest lists” feature to fix this. 

        • brandsteve

           @JayBaer  @David Marciniak I would love to be able to share my lists with others.

        • David Marciniak

           @brandsteve  @JayBaer I found a post that explained a similar workaround, and another one that explained all the steps a “civilian” user of FB could take to try and make stuff pop in their feed. I told my wife the steps and she just gave me THAT look and said “ok, so how are you going to get your followers to do all this?”

    • http://www.americanrecordablemedia.com/ martzhobert

       @David Marciniak I think FB did this for security of the users in expense to the startup business owners.  Hope that soon FB will update it’s algo and make a quick fix on this changes.

      • David Marciniak

         @martzhobert when you say security, do you mean that FB is attempting to protect users from overzealous marketers? Maybe, but liking a page is a user opting in to having us in their feed. They then have just as easy a way to opt out. If that really was the intent, it wasn’t needed – was it?

    • BrianHamlett

       @David Marciniak That’s always been my concern. How are THEY determining for me what I really want to see? Don’t I know that better than them? And if so, why can’t I decide that for myself?
       
      I run a new FB page that provides video tutorials for people learning how to use web technologies within their business (ex. WordPress, SugarCRM, Google Services, Facebook plugins, Social Media Mngmt Apps, etc.)
       
      So if my followers are telling me, “Hey, I want to know how to do X” and I produce a tutorial that teaches them “X”, how helpful to both them and I is it for Facebook to essentially say, “You know… I don’t THINK you really need this” and not show it to them?
       
      HUH?! They just ASKED me for it!  Really a big let down from a place that is supposed to be so innovative and in-tune with what its community wants.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @BrianHamlett  @David Marciniak  Essentially, the EdgeRank formula is based on how likely you were to interact (not just see, but click) updates from that person or company in the past. That’s way it’s so critical to drive engagement with each post to Facebook. 

        • brandsteve

           @JayBaer  @BrianHamlett  @David Marciniak For those of who know how it works we can manipulate it.  For everyone else you’re just left bamboozled why you don’t see what you want.

        • David Marciniak

           @brandsteve  @JayBaer  @BrianHamlett not to keep talking about my wife, but I think she’s a classic case: she likes a page because she wants the messages from the business or organization. She doesn’t want to have to randomly click to engage with something to keep seeing it like she was a rat hitting a lever for a pellet. I’m the same way with most brands.

        • jewelfry

           @David Marciniak   @brandsteve  @JayBaer  @BrianHamlett I agree. Most users not only don’t know that they have to keep eating the cheese to see the page but they don’t want to. Many people are more comfortable reading and checking out post but not ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’. 

    • http://marismith.com/ MariSmith

       @David Marciniak  A sneak peek showed up under the ‘gear’ icon on new Timeline Pages last week… “Interest Lists.” I’m not seeing it now. But it’s clear to me it’s coming…. I’m optimistic this is something cool for users to organize their favorite fan pages for the news feed… a tad like G+’s circles for brand pages, methinks!

  • JohnWedderburn

    Sorry, I’ve not had time to read all the comments – so someone has probably lifted the same issue. I think the new timeline is a disaster for engaging with page friends – posts by friends are now demoted to a small box which totally reduces their relative importance on their page. The success of one of the pages I administrate (www.facebook.com/malmouniversity) is largely based on the fact that visitors see that student questions are answered quickly and expertly – this high level of service will now be hidden.

    • http://socialfreshconference.com/ jasonkeath

       @JohnWedderburn This type of use is diminished. I think the main reason is they want the space to be more brandable and less of a potential PR disaster for larger brands. There is however the option to highlight (make full width) user comments to stand out more. Make sure to check and use the activity log. Responding to comments and highlighting them will be great in the new timeline. Wondering if this could help you get there part of the way. Facebook would tell you to build an app specifically for this activity (and pay them for ads to send people there).

      • JohnWedderburn

         @jasonkeath Thanks for taking the time to answer. I just think that reducing the opportunity for engagement is a step backwards – being able to engage with your friends can be a vital part of your brand. How do you make the user comments fill width? I can see that you can do this (‘highlight’) with a post, but cannot see this on comments (though I am viewing the page still in preview mode).

  • http://brandoncoppernoll.com/ bkcoppernoll

    Jay, great article. It’s very well written and you make your arguments well. Maybe I’m not educated enough in some areas, but  I only find myself agreeing with about 50% of the article. 
     
    Many of the arguments could have been made when Facebook changed its pages before. Businesses had to learn new ways to create landing pages and proper methods to get the most traction and engagement from its users. Much of this is no different in my opinion.
     
    While bigger businesses may be able to take advantages of some of the features like premium ads and reach generator, that’s no different than other ad systems. Reach is important, but isn’t the primary goal for Facebook and other social media to target your audiences and engage them specifically? 
     
    My takeaway from this post is the difficulty for a single person or small business (without dedicated staff) to keep up-to-date with the changes Facebook is making and adjust strategies accordingly. It’s not that small businesses can’t make the best use of it, but it forces someone to come to terms with the question of whether or not they are truly dedicated to Facebook as a tool for their business and willing to invest. Big or small businesses alike that don’t properly use the tools at their disposal make poor brands on any network. That’s where the real problem exists.
     
    That being said, I do agree 30 days really isn’t that great of a timeline, and I would have much rather seen 60-90 days. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @bkcoppernoll I was originally a political consultant. As long as you agree with 51% of what I write, I’ll claim victory! Thanks for great comment. Much appreciated. 

      • http://brandoncoppernoll.com/ bkcoppernoll

         @JayBaer You just won me over with that comment. Thanks!

  • KellySpell

    @theresaoverby Did you get that from BRSocMe’s FB page? At least give us a like! ;)

  • jaybaer

    @jasonkeath Thanks pal.

    • jasonkeath

      @jaybaer To sum up my response “The New Facebook is bad for businesses that do not invest in Facebook”

  • http://zombieresponseteam.net/ MorganBarnhart

    I agree with a lot of what you said. I feel more turned off with the new pages and rather apathetic to even using Facebook anymore.
     
    At first I thought the look was pretty cool, but the more I looked at it and used it, the more I realized that it was flawed in so many ways. I was SO excited about the message system, but the fact that we can only get incoming messages and we can’t initiate contact through the system…then why would I want to use it? If people want to say something, they’ll do what they’ve done up until now: post it on the Facebook wall. 
     
    I agree that I didn’t really care about landing pages. To be honest, the landing page did not coerce me into liking a page or shun me, it was just an obstacle to get through in order to reach the wall.
     
    What is so disturbing about this whole thing is that Facebook is catering to big businesses, when it’s the small business that has driven their success.
     
    Facebook has always been changing their pages, but this is probably the most drastic change that I’ve seen in a very long time. Guess we’ll just have to adjust and hope for the best.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @MorganBarnhart Morgan I think the prohibition on proactive messages is probably a good thing. Lots of spam potential otherwise!

  • TournantInc

    @KevKLau Thanks for the mention! Have and awesome day, Talented one!

  • LoudVoiceMktg

    @jasonkeath @jaybaer Jay’s post points out that Facebook isn’t much of a Social Business itself. I find it ironic – they don’t walk the walk

  • brandsteve

    I just saw an invite to a new page in my stream from a local small business owner who created the page just to promote a monthly event in her shop.   I don’t think this is what FB intended to happen.   Will be interesting to see if others pick up on this idea.   The event has its own branding thanks to the large timeline cover image and looks pretty sharp.  Certainly much nicer than a facebook event page.

    • http://marismith.com/ MariSmith

       @brandsteve Excellent idea, love it!!!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @brandsteve I love it. Super good idea. 

  • GetGravitas

    @designchickee Thanks for the retweet Olga!

  • jewelfry

    The demographic of this conversation illustrates to me what Facebook has done wrong. They said that the marketers spoke and they listened. Their goal is to satisfy big business and the social media marketers that work for them so that we can get more ads seen by the user and more money in the pockets of Facebook, and a certain few. What we are all forgetting or ignoring is that we are not the average Facebook user. Our goal should be to satisfy the customer not the CEO. Small business owners do not have the time and resources to be social media rock starts and more importantly the average user is not very fond of MORE ads. That is not why they use Facebook. Business owners should not have to learn how to re-size tabs every few months and users should not be forced to ‘like’ and ‘comment’ in order to continue to see the content they prefer. I ask average users about their usage of Facebook often and the majority of users troll Facebook and never like or comment and are frustrated because they feel like they are not seeing the stuff they like anymore and they don’t understand why. They don’t study Facebook and keep up by reading blogs about engagement, they go there to see what friends are saying and doing and getting information from their favorite business and celebrities. Let us know forget that. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @jewelfry I agree. Part of the problem here is the typical hubris of technology. Those that create it eventually have a hard time identifying with those who use it casually. I worked for a big startup in the late 90s, and our CTO once said to me (the guy in charge of customer experience), “if the users aren’t smart enough to figure out the interface, we don’t want them as users.” Riiiiiiight. 

      • jewelfry

         @JayBaer I really need to take a moment to tell you just how much I appreciate you putting this out there. There are a lot of small business owners who are feeling frustrated by this as well as social media managers like myself who understand their frustration. I’ve been anxiously awaiting Timelines for pages for sometime and I feel let down by the nod to big business and the snub to small.
        I too get excited by changes and I see the potential but when I know that the little guy is now going to have to pay more and work harder just to get noticed in a system that is working against them, I’m pointing at the 16% scam especially, it makes me mad. You are one of the only ones willing to bite the hand that feeds you to speak up. There is nothing wrong with embracing what is great about something new and acknowledging what is not so great at the same time. You are now at the top of my list of credible bloggers along with Erika Napoletano. Thanks for having some balls and speaking up for the little guy instead of just considering your own bottom line. This business could use more of that.  Kudos!!!!
         Kelly Westhoven Lieberman @RedheadWriting

        • http://www.erikanapoletano.com/ RedheadWriting

           @jewelfry Well, @JayBaer  always one step ahead of me on most things, so I’ll chime in with my two cents here.
           
          Jay’s 100% in right that not only isn’t Facebook free, the changes for small business owners have a hefty cost attached. I get it — “we” (small business owners) aren’t they’re customers. We’re data. Fine. But the changes — for a site that supposed to be a leading social media platform — do absolutely nothing to promote community. In fact, they do a pretty damn good job at wrecking it.
           
          I’ve seen multiple comments disappear from my fan pages and I’m completely lost trying to figure out where they’ve gone. New mailboxes, branding limitations…here’s the thing: What Facebook has dome supremely well is make obsolete the third-party app providers who were doing incredible work (like NorthSocial and SocialAppsHQ) and put the behemoths (the Wildfires) as the only solution.
           
          They’ve cost me even more money as every time Facebook changes a pixel, I have to pay a graphic designer.
           
          It also means that the landing page that works incredibly well for conversions to new fans? Well, that’s out.
           
          I also can’t easily see what my fans are writing on the brand page walls. A super bummer as a business owner pressed for time.
           
          Facebook’s been incredibly instrumental in the development of my brand. The community I’ve cultivated on my pages? It’s no long er *my* community. It’s ours. And these changes don’t just affect ME as a business owner. They affect the most precious asset I have as a brand — my audience.
           
          So I get it. I’m supposed to sit over here and shut up because I have what some would consider a no monetary cost platform that I can use to pimp my whatever-flavored ride, but here’s the thing: Even if I become a shareholder in Facebook when it finally goes public, I’ll never own enough to have a say.
           
          It’s extremely disheartening to see that during their quiet period, they’re pulling a Netflix and forgetting the reason that they are allowed to do business every day — because gazillions of users like me and you ALLOW IT. But what should I expect from a pre-IPO social media powerhouse devoid of a customer service department? Oh, that’s right. I’m not a customer. Just a little ol’ user.
           
          Cheers, Jay — and thanks for putting this out there.

        • jewelfry

           @RedheadWriting  @JayBaer Slap! Thank  you!

        • ADramaticMommy

           @RedheadWriting You have said much more eloquently the things that have been on my mind. I help a small biz with their social media. I tried to prepare them for the changes by sending links to posts with what the new configurations might be, but they still felt blindsided. And now? They’re freaking out.
           
          It took me weeks to convince them to change the pictures in the (former) photo strip and even longer for them to see the benefit and need for a custom landing tab. They finally installed that tab about a month ago and now *poof* it’s obsolete. We haven’t been online very long (less than a year) and I know they feel the growth has been too slow.Now they face an uphill battle of getting their updates and such seen amidst even more ‘noise.’
           
          The fact that they don’t fully “get” social media coupled with them having to outsource a graphic designer, photographer, web developer and PR department makes every decision take forever to be put into motion.
           
          I agree that not every platform is right for every type of business, but for this company, Facebook is where their customers are.
           
          The changes are frustrating to say the least. I look at them as an opportunity, but I don’t control the purse strings. They see all of this as a stumbling block.

      • jewelfry

         @JayBaer BTW, I hope that CTO is working for a business that sells to other geeks. Otherwise he should find another job. :)

  • 29THFLR

    Facebook provides probably the best and most robust (and FREE) set of tools for promoting your small business that has ever existed and then you complain when they make it more robust because you don’t have time to learn how to use the new features.
     
    The amount of time that everyone is wasting complaining about this could have been used to put together some guides to help these small business owners get the most out of their FREE Facebook page.
     
    I agree on the issues around the Reach Generator and Premium Ads catering to bigger businesses, but everything else here is basically just complaining about new features that you don’t feel like learning how to use properly.

    • http://prosocialtools.com/ Tim Piazza

       @29THFLR Really? You consider intelligent discourse complaining? This is one of the most balanced and insightful discussions of how the Facebook changes are likely to impact small businesses that I have come across in these past few days.If I were to follow your rationale, I would point out that your post is a complaint about this discussion, but that might debase an otherwise interesting conversation. But I understand what you’re saying. I would just say it differently.The value in this discussion is that we all broaden our understanding of the issues by summarizing the different perspectives of the contributors and incorporating them into our presentation to client businesses. I think that putting together some guides is a great suggestion, but let’s all do it with a broader understanding gained through conversations like this instead of fluffing up our own first impressions and serving that up as valuable insights.

    • http://prosocialtools.com/ Tim Piazza

      @29THFLR
       29THFLR Really? You consider intelligent discourse complaining? This is one of the most balanced and insightful discussions of how the Facebook changes are likely to impact small businesses that I have come across in these past few days.
       
       
      If I were to follow your rationale, I would point out that your post is a complaint about this discussion, but that might debase an otherwise interesting conversation.
       
       
      I understand what you’re saying. I would just say it differently.The value in this discussion is that we all broaden our understanding of the issues by summarizing the different perspectives of the contributors and incorporating them into our presentation to client businesses.
       
       
      I think that putting together some guides is a great suggestion, but let’s all do it with a broader understanding gained through conversations like this instead of fluffing up our own first impressions and serving that up as valuable insights.
       

    • http://prosocialtools.com/ Tim Piazza

      @29THFLR
      Really? You consider intelligent discourse complaining? This is one of the most balanced and insightful discussions of how the Facebook changes are likely to impact small businesses that I have come across in these past few days.
       
      If I were to follow your rationale, I would point out that your post is a complaint about this discussion, but that might debase an otherwise interesting conversation.
       
      I understand what you’re saying. I would just say it differently.The value in this discussion is that we all broaden our understanding of the issues by summarizing the different perspectives of the contributors and incorporating them into our presentation to client businesses.
       
      I think that putting together some guides is a great suggestion, but let’s all do it with a broader understanding gained through conversations like this instead of fluffing up our own first impressions and serving that up as valuable insights.
       

    • http://marismith.com/ MariSmith

       @29THFLR I’m *MOST* stoked about Offers!!! Waiting with bated breath ’til they are available to more businesses… ahem, *FREE* to set up!! ;) heh

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @29THFLR To be clear, I am not complaining about the features, nor is it an issue of not wanting to learn them. We work with tons of big companies, and have been neck deep in this change from the beginning. What I am saying is that the totality of these changes favor big business and resource-intensiveness, at the expense of small business and the resource challenged. That’s a trend that does not bode well. 
       
      And if you think Facebook is free, you must have a lot more time on your hands than the average small businessperson. It is ALL about opportunity cost. 

  • VictorBestOne1

    @tcreativo @ainhoatorres si las perjudican…

  • davemhuffman

    @timpiazza You are doin’ werk in the comments. Repurpose those bad boys into articles :)

  • nsweeney

    Also; Stop acting as if “stories” are different from “ads”. Just because you call them “stories” does not make them any less of an annoyance, or any less of an “ad”. Does Mike Hoefflinger think we’re that stupid?

    • jewelfry

       @nsweeney Thank you, thank you, thank you!! The last person that told me a ‘story’ in order to sell me something was a used car salesmen.

    • avi.kaye

       @nsweeney They are a bit different in Facebook Ad land, from a feature/technical point of view :)

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @nsweeney Yes. Stories are to “armed conflict” as ads are to “war”. 

  • AshleyChura

    Some valid points with maybe a bit more haste than required. Large or small, unless you were in Facebook’s special circle (ahem Starbucks & Coca Cola), your business will receive the same hit financially. I’m in marketing and I manage four Facebook pages that range from small to large businesses. The large businesses were hit harder in financial terms than the smaller. The custom apps, landing page and images designed with a significant cost were only up for 4 months before this change came about and now those costs have to be eaten by the client. For the small businesses, the switch has been easy. 1 hour to update the timeline, a few hours to create a custom graphic (which by the way, on my personal account I use an image taken with a 4 mp camera and it’s not blurry) and the switch is done. My main concern with the Facebook switch is the news feed and ad platforms. Status Updates are now ranked in News Feeds in a formula similar to search engines and therefore the larger brands (with 100,000+ likes) will have a better chance of showing up (or at least that is my understanding from the fMC conference, which if you missed it you can watch re-caps of the sessions). But in my opinion, the thing that small businesses do not realize is it doesn’t take a full-time person to manage your social media accounts. I spend on average .5-1 hour a day for each client and I focus on the interaction, rather than the total likes. Just remember, this isn’t Facebook’s first major change. 

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @AshleyChura Good point Ashley about big biz having to redo apps. We’ve been working on that all week for clients. But proportionate to available budget and resources, I think the impact on an ONGOING basis, will be higher for small biz. 

  • shelholtz

    What started as a comment here turned into a full-blown blog post of my own. I just can’t agree with this one, Jay, and several small business Timelines that rock demonstrate that most of these issues just don’t matter. My post: http://bit.ly/yr12bv

    • http://marismith.com/ MariSmith

       @JayBaer  you know I love ya to bits man, and this is an uber thought-provoking post with one of those attention-getting headlines we love to hate. haha!
       
      But I gotta agree with @shelholtz (read your post too, Shel! good stuff) – as with pretty much any change on Facebook, some folks protest, some folks ignore, some folks hold out to the last second… ultimately, we all roll with it, we dive in, we figure out new Ninja tricks and eventually the choppy waves turn back to calm waters.
       
      Granted, like Shel, I too am not the ‘typical’ small biz owner. Far from it. But it is my passion to help folks reframe any possible negative aspect of Facebook, in particular, and get creative with whatever the Zuck man throws at us next. Lol. :) 

      • whizbangideas

         @MariSmith  @JayBaer  @shelholtz  Ditto Mari!

      • jewelfry

         @MariSmith  @JayBaer  @shelholtz There is no doubt that every time Zuck changes things up a bit it’s good for all of the bloggers and social media people. Job security! Hopefully the economy will get better and more small business owners can afford your services.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @MariSmith  @shelholtz I hear you. But the appetite of the average small businessperson to be constantly reconfiguring is not very high. What you see as an exciting challenge (and good for business, incidentally) is often perceived as a tedious and frustrating obstacle to the small biz social media amateur. 
         
        Maybe I’m wrong, but I sense a “goddamnit, not again” vibe from the small biz community, which is why I wrote the post to begin with (in addition to the obvious move toward cash and big brands that lies below the surface of many of these changes). 

        • jewelfry

           @JayBaer  @MariSmith  @shelholtz Amen!!

        • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

           @JayBaer You’re not wrong. I read your article above — and then I clicked over and read what @shelholtz wrote — and I agree with you more. I teach an assortment of social media marketing coursework and my typical student is a small business owner who does not have a Twitter account, has a LinkedIn account but hasn’t logged in there in months, and uses Facebook more for its social component than its social business one. When I showcase local companies with FB brand pages, their mouths drop. Not so much because of what it can give them, but because they lack that expertise.
           
          Will every small business owner now contact @MariSmith for help? Maybe. But do they have to? Can’t they keep doing what they have been doing, sharing an update here and there, getting a like here and there? Why are they being forced to adapt or die?
           

        • http://marismith.com/ MariSmith

           @JayBaer  Yes, very true, very true — that “goddamnit, not again” can often be heard coming from my *own* lips… many times a week, in fact!!! So, from that standpoint, I do agree with you, for sure.
           
          As passionate as I am about Facebook, there are days when I know that if I’m feeling up to my eyeballs and stressed out about yet another change on Facebook and, frankly, I’m feeling a tad ticked off at Zuck and team for not having a *reliable system* through which to properly inform and educate all of us Facebook educators (and social media agencies and the like), then God help the SMBs. So that’s when I dig deep and just do my best to figure everything out on the fly, in the trenches, staying a half step ahead of my students and clients.As for good for business – it’s all relative. These big Facebook changes to which you refer in your post here, all came smack in the midst of my biggest Facebook course with 1,300 students. Basically, rendering a chunk of my course content out of date in a matter of weeks. :( I was not amused. Bad timing on my part, maybe. Nonetheless, there’s no way I wasn’t going to support my students – I gave them extra bonus sessions, extended Q&A, updated materials… the works, all for free. 
           
          Anyway, kinda rambling on here… but bottom line, I do get where you’re coming from, my friend, really, I do!

    • avi.kaye

       @shelholtz I thought of writing a post based on your post based on this post, but decided against it :) 
      I tend to disagree with your points – Facebook, and I think we can all agree on this, is in it for the money. And being in it for the money, they didn’t change the rules (landing tab, cover image, etc.) because of some ethical or content consideration. They changed the rules, and have been changing page exposure over the past year or so, to force you to pay them money to advertise. Of COURSE you can set a default landing tab – if you are creating an ad. Of COURSE you can create a call to action – in an advert. And so on. 
      I’m not saying that the changes are all bad – in fact, I think having prominent app buttons is very cool and is an easy way to get people to visit your website, or see your products, or hear about your sale. But all the changes are focused on how to force businesses to pay for what once was somewhat possible for free. 
       
      (And just as by the way, you can’t pin AND highlight a post. that’d be too easy :))

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

         @avi.kaye  @shelholtz Avi, that is perhaps the best comment in this entire thread. You are dead on. It’s a cash grab, and that pisses me off. 

        • whizbangideas

           @JayBaer  Yeah it sucks that it isn’t free. But hey it’s a lot cheaper than what small businesses use to have to pay to build awareness.  I knew a local plumber who was paying $2000 a month just to be listed in several yellow page books. He had no money left over for any other kind of promotion. Now he runs a Google Adwords campaign and Facebook ads for $600 a month and gets just as much traffic. Plus, he gets the added word of mouth bonus of Facebook. Not too bad.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @shelholtz Great post Shel. But as with Jason Keath’s comment below, pointing out a few examples of small businesses doing it right is a straw man argument, and doesn’t address my actual point, which is that on the whole Facebook is changing its platform to favor big biz and big resources.

  • jaybaer

    @ZimblerMiller both

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ 3HatsComm

    Read this the other night.. back again catching up on comments. @AshleyChura just made a good point about larger brands – b/c they have the resources to invest in customizations, landing tabs – actually having more to loose with every round of changes. Which speaks to the biggest risk: putting too much investment into FB (or any other platform) in the first place, into something no business can control. If anyone chooses to use FB for marketing, then they have to read posts like @Kristi Hines  and stay on top of things (WIP like @KenMueller said) – or ‘hire’ the proverbial unpaid intern to do it for them.
     
    Yes there are challenges to small businesses; but I side w/ @Katie T @jasonkeath  and others: some of these are only a challenge/problem if you let them be. This could be an opportunity for a SMB to actually think about their FB strategy. For example, they see the ‘glaring’ lack of updates – and do something about it. Less reliance on 3rd party apps could mean fewer scheduled, ‘broadcast’ posts that get ignored and more productive engagement that connects with their ‘fans.’
     
    #12, boy what fun I’d have with the right brand on milestones. So what if you haven’t been around for years? A restaurant still in biz after 6 months, a year – that’s an achievement I’d pin with gold stars. Local mom-n-pop bakery or flower shop or anything, I’d use that as a scrapbook to track growth. If I were B2B, I’d highlight a customer’s (and hopefully ‘fan’) success last week, last year… make their ‘milestones’ using our products my brand’s achievements too.
     
    IDK but the kind of small businesses you’re talking about – where it’s an assistant office manager making the changes during lunch hour (I know more than a few) – they honestly haven’t thought this much about their FB/marketing anyway. They’re not reading posts like this, not following any sort of strategy, can’t afford any landing pages or ads or a consultant to given them some guidance. They started b/c it was ‘free’; b/c they felt they ‘had’ to have a FB page. They go on once in a blue moon, drop an ad/update in the guise of engagement, delete/ignore any negative comment, move on with their day… then wonder why it hasn’t ‘worked.’ FWIW.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @3HatsComm  @AshleyChura  @Kristi Hines  @KenMueller  @Katie T  @jasonkeath Indeed, the scenario you paint in the last paragraph is actually what I had in mind when I wrote this post: the small business that really hasn’t invested much in Facebook to date. My point is that with these changes, Facebook is making it harder for those folks to get their act together on the platform, not easier. Some may say (in these comments and elsewhere) that if you’re not “good enough” to invest real time on Facebook, your business doesn’t deserve to pick the ripe berries of the awesome, “free” service that is Facebook. Perhaps. But that type of exclusionary thinking is not a good business strategy for a company that seeks to be ubiquitous. 

      • jewelfry

         @JayBaer  @3HatsComm  @AshleyChura  @Kristi Hines  @KenMueller  @Katie T  @jasonkeath There are many small business owners who fit into the category mentioned in the last paragraph because they are putting their time and energy into the business and being really great at it.  It is not because they don’t see the value of Facebook and are not worthy of it. It just means that there are only so many hours in a day and they choose to focus more time on their craft and are smart enough to know that Facebook shouldn’t be such a pain in the butt!  

        • AshleyChura

           @jewelfry @JayBaer I miss the days when Facebook was exclusive and “interest groups” were more popular than “fan pages” (now known as just “pages”). The complexity of the “value of Facebook, worthiness and need to be on it” has to do with demographics. I disagree, Facebook isn’t “making it harder for folks to get their act together on the platform,” it’s the people themselves that are preventing it. I see this with my clients all the time, you can set up a great page and show them how to use it but they don’t. Why? Because the thought of writing something into their status update scares the crap out of them – and that, is a problem that Facebook cannot solve or make easier. 

        • jewelfry

           @AshleyChura  @JayBaer I am a big believer in the fact that not every business belongs on every platform. If that is how your client feels then you should advise them to do something else that they are more comfortable with or at the very least delegate to an employee that they trust who is.
           
          What about the person who ‘get’s’ Faceebook, is a great candidate, has a loyal following but needs to spend more time away from the computer and would prefer spending extra money on paying employee’s and keeping the doors open?
           
          Google+ is a pretty great place if you want to remain ‘exclusive’ and concentrate on ‘interest groups’. So is Linkedin and Quora.

        • AshleyChura

           @jewelfry  @JayBaer Google+, Linkedin and Quora has a different exclusivity than what Facebook did, my comment was more of a cheeky demographic reference, if anything. It’s true, not every business belongs on every platform, and largely thats due to demographics and psychographics. Then again, for some it has become the cost of doing business. As for the person who gets Facebook, the changes that Facebook made shouldn’t affect them all that much (with the exception of the news feed ranking system). And as for time, if their business needs to be on it, it is well the cost of doing business. Whether we like it or not, for the younger generations, traditional media is dying and Facebook is one of the easiest ways to reach the “Gen Y” and “Gen I” generations. 

        • jewelfry

           @AshleyChura  @JayBaer My response was cheeky too. The news feed ranking system is more than an exception, it is a game changer. Thank you for making me feel even better about choosing to be a light for a certain demographic.

  • local77

    It is always surprising to me to hear complaints about changes to facebook. Isn’t the single discrediting factor to such complaints is that it is ‘free to use’? If an individual or small business was paying for the service, of course they would have a right to complain about it. Businesses have had a free ride for years on a social media site originally intended for connecting friends with friends; many using it as yet another billboard to blast out their ads and promotions. Small businesses, especially, may do better to focus less on the intracies of their ‘social media strategy’ and the number of ‘likes’ they can collect on facebook, and more on building real relationships with the real people who are their clients & customers.

  • local77

    It is always surprising to me to hear complaints about changes to facebook. The single discrediting factor to such complaints being that it is ‘free to use’. If an individual or small business was paying for the service, of course they would have a right to complain about it. Businesses have had a free ride for years on a social media site originally intended for connecting friends with friends; many using it as yet another billboard to blast out their ads and promotions. Small businesses, especially, may do better to focus less on the intricacies of their ‘social media strategy’ and the number of ‘likes’ they can collect on facebook, and more on building real relationships with the real people who are their clients & customers.

  • whizbangideas

    A recent study reports SMB’s don’t use Facebook because they don’t have the time and feel it’s not necessary. For these folks, the changes won’t make a difference.  http://ow.ly/9qRyD

  • logodesign77

    @JasonFalls @JayBaer Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. Come on ! http://t.co/m9FLX3Iw

  • artdeal

    @graysonstudio Thanks for the link. Good info.

  • http://www.julianowebpages.com/ DustBunnyMafia

    As a small business owner, I understand what you are saying with this article, but disagree in some aspects.
     
    #1: For the cover image issue, I am sure that with the 2,810 Likes you have on your Facebook page, one of them might be willing to aid you in creating a cover image for you; perhaps a barter where you’ll promote the person, mention that the new cover image was created by [insert company name here] and then tag to their page. This concept can work for small businesses too, you may just have to put in some more work into finding someone and reaching out to them with this proposition. *Side-note: If you are interested in this, I may be able to help. (www.facebook.com/DustBunnyMafia)
     
    #4: For pinning and starring, it’s a matter of learning how to interact with your customers. How do you figure out how to get likes and comments on your page? You do it by trial and error, same thing works with this way.
     
    Finally, generally speaking over several points, most of the new technologies are just that, new technologies that will take time to learn and master. If you don’t have the time and resources right now to master them, then don’t. No one is pressuring you to jump into Facebook brand pages, maybe it’s more important to focus on building your business and less time on Facebook unless it’s going to be profitable, then you just have to learn to manage your time more effectively and set aside some time to learn how to do these things.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

       @DustBunnyMafia Thanks for the offer. I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to get a cover image created, as we are managing Facebook pages for a number of Fortune 500 companies. I’m not talking about my company in this post, I’m talking about small businesses that do not have technology background, or the desire or appetite to put in the time to learn and master these changes. 
       
      The fact is, it’s by no means clear that these changes are “better” for business. Some may be. Others may not be. But it’s not a home run, that’s for damn sure. Considering that all of these small businesses are potential advertisers, why would Facebook risk driving them off the platform by making it more visual, more complex, more time-consuming to participate? 
       
      To me, it’s a strategic overreach by a company that sees the big dollars of big brands as its future, and is behaving accordingly, leading up to an IPO. 
       
      OF COURSE companies can and will figure that out. That’s not my point. My point is that Facebook is now requiring more serious time and thought for successful participation, and while that may be a price you are willing to pay (as I am) it may not be a price all businesses are willing to pay. 

      • http://www.julianowebpages.com/ DustBunnyMafia

         @JayBaer If it’s not a price that some companies are willing to pay, maybe they don’t need to be on Facebook, perhaps other platforms are more suited to their commitment level and are in their metaphorical price range.

        • jewelfry

           @DustBunnyMafia  @JayBaer That is a very sad attitude indeed. 

        • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

           @DustBunnyMafia But to @JayBaer’s point, should Facebook tell brands to “do this or get out,” or let brands choose whether or not Timeline and/or its functionality be thrust upon them. If Facebook was always a cheap, if costly at all, platform for a company; and suddenly there’s a higher cost; the question remains if the burden should be on the company or on Facebook.
           

  • damnredhead

    @thenoiseroom I agree, but I’m only limited to 140 chars :)

  • unfallenart

    @DustBunnyMafia I’m with you on that. Writing a post in response to the points. (Still can’t get livefyre to work ever…) @jaybaer

  • meetmikemorgan

    @yourvaconz Thanks Justine! How is the week going for you?

    • yourvaconz

      @meetmikemorgan you’re welcome – loved the article. Great week thanks, how’s yours?

      • meetmikemorgan

        @yourvaconz Pretty hectic ;-) And had to take time out yesterday to drench sheep and alpacas!

        • yourvaconz

          @meetmikemorgan no! Maybe we both need a time management course (how to make more of it)

        • meetmikemorgan

          @yourvaconz Yes I agree! Or managed expansion?

  • jonbuscall

    I spent three hours yesterday trying to figure how to provide a solution for a client that wanted to be on Facebook with no comments and no engagement (don’t ask!) but decided in the end that it would be easier to thread Stockholm through the eye of a needle. 
     
    Their old landing page variant just about worked. Just. But now I have to convince them that Facebook, although “everyone is talking about it” (their words, not mine), isn’t the right place for them given their, er, unique needs. 

  • http://PrimeTimeEFG.com/ MarkWLevel4

    Jay, I couldn’t agree more, but  lets put things into perspective.  FB is just one element within our marketing strategy.  If we’re a bit slow in managing the timeline issues will it really matter to our core customers?  Will any prospects not engage with us if we’re not up to date or will we lose sales if we’re not 100% when FB moves to the timeline?  Yes, social media is important, but aren’t we overestimating the the real impact?
     

    • ChrissanneLong

       @MarkWLevel4 Mark, unfortunately, I have found (at least in my small southern town), that many businesses do not have other marketing channels in place (unless you consider word of mouth a marketing channel).  And I think the emphasis on social media is not exaggerated. It really is a big deal.  The local businesses that are flourishing, are tapping into the social networks and creating buzz and generating more awareness for themselves in the process. They area also dialed in to the same radio channel as the rest of the Universe:  WIIFM (What’s in it For Me). What matters most is not the business, but the people who patronize the business.
       

      • http://PrimeTimeEFG.com/ MarkWLevel4

         @ChrissanneLongCrissanne, I think we agree(?).  But, as any small business owner will tell you, there are only so many hours in a day and we have to prioritize.  My point is that for a small business (mine included) there is little impact if we are not 100% ready when the conversion to the timeline occurs. That said,  I wouldn’t suggest that the pages remain unattended for any real length of time.  FB is a great tool for awareness and engagement with prospects and customers and these pages need to be maintained and updated daily to generate positive results.

  • flowersbyfarha

    @gscottoliver Thanks for the link. Since I’m coming in at the transition, might be easier for me to adapt–not knowing what I’m missing tho

  • http://www.shortcutblogging.com/ daveyoung

    Great explanation. I haven’t had time to learn all of this and you capsulated it nicely. I’d say a blog is still going to be the cornerstone of content for most small businesses.

  • jccarcamo

    @pdecl Thanks for the RT! #belated

  • jaybaer

    @ariherzog Thanks Ari!

  • whenpigsflyblog

    Since I’m up on creating these kinds of images and working within Facebook, I’ve been able to update my cover photo nicely and add a couple of tabs. This is too time consuming and overwhelming for all the small businesses that already don’t know what to post. It is becoming less small business friendly.

  • TaDaInteractive

    I am so happy that somebody (high profile) has recognized and shared my opinion of Reach Generator (see my post Facebook survey blog post here http://tadainteractive.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/you-say-facebook-boosted-page-posts-i-say-profiteering/ ).
     
    I also agree that some of the other changes are unfriendly to small business (although not so unfriendly to those of us that get paid to bring those small business’s pages up to date, right?).  In some cases, the new timeline format is possibly beneficial.  For example, if a company did not already have a custom welcome page set to be a default landing tab, the new timeline format gives them a relatively quick and easy way to dramatically improve the appearance of their fan page.
     
    As with many of the previous changes on Facebook, these changes will take some getting used to.  Some people/companies will experience growing pains, while others readily adapt.  The fact is, just like people, Facebook is going to do what it believes to be in it’s best interests.  And, just like people, it will not always be right.  Like it or not, Facebook is the biggest marketing vehicle since Google.  Companies that want to market will have to deal with the occasionally excruciating decisions that Facebook makes.

  • Smith_Tanya

    Personally I wish Facebook would just come right out and say that they’re now in it for the money with regards to business users, and then we can all approach it with a paying business hat on. As soon as advertising is involved deeper pockets will generally win out. I always remind my clients that facebook is just ONE door into your business, and for goodness sake never put all your faith into a platform that can and does change on a whim! Enjoyed reading this, and all the comments :-)

    • ScottHepburn

       @Smith_Tanya I’d put that paying business hat on if I were you,Tanya. @JayBaer perfectly summarized the biggest problem with Facebook in point #10. Visibility on Facebook has always been WAY low, and as a result, so has interaction (which, ironically, would increase your visibility). But as Jay points out, FB finally offers a solution to the problem they created — pay us more!
       
      Reminds me of The Sneetches from Dr. Seuss…

    • ShawnAlain

       @Smith_Tanya Ya it’s kinda funny in the movie The Social Network where they portrayed Zuckerberg as someone who cared more about his product and less about making money.  It seems like the exact opposite on both of those points now.

      • Smith_Tanya

         @ShawnAlain Hi – I’ve got NO problem with businesses (which FB is!) wanting to make money. I just think it’s reached a point where Zuck should come out and say that for social chit chat it’s free (as per its original concept) but that as it has inadvertently become a giant data collection machine with huge marketing potential it should be a paid platform for businesses…BUT …I think with that should come MUCH more responsibility and respect from FB *for* it’s paying clients (us business owners) with better support, and more guidance and transparency about how businesses can best use it – not these arbitrary changes, then leaving it to key users like @MariSmith  to somehow try and interpret it for us. I think it’s time FB took responsibility for what FB has now become, and stopped somehow pretending that it’s still just a way for buddies to stay connected!

        • brandsteve

           @Smith_Tanya  @ShawnAlain  @MariSmith 
           
          Tanya is hitting at the biggest issue.  Facebook isn’t respecting it’s customers.  A roll-out like this needs to be sold and communicated well in advance not forced with a 30 day deadline.    Facebook has a lot to learn about customer service.  

        • http://www.erikanapoletano.com/ RedheadWriting

           @brandsteve  @Smith_Tanya  @ShawnAlain  @MariSmith 1) WE are not Facebook’s customers. WE are users. 
          and 2) They do not offer US customer service because…oh wait. We’re not customers. 
           
          Customers at Facebook are advertisers and companies that purchase data from them. And I’m pretty sure you don’t get any sort of customer service until you hit a $25k ad spend level. So there you go. Customers and users, in Facebook terms. 

        • brandsteve

           @RedheadWriting  @Smith_Tanya  @ShawnAlain  @MariSmith   Little companies grow up to be big companies.  It never pays to alienate.

        • jewelfry

           @RedheadWriting  @brandsteve  @Smith_Tanya  @ShawnAlain  @MariSmith We are the product, mined and now sold.

        • Smith_Tanya

           @jewelfry  @RedheadWriting  @brandsteve  @ShawnAlain  @MariSmith  Phew – this has been a great fun healthy debate – thanks @JayBaer  for getting this one going :-) It’s going to be interesting seeing how this rolls out over the next couple of years – at warp speed no doubt.. Maybe Google+ will really hit its stride, and that combined with their search might have smaller businesses who feel outpriced by FB, putting more focus there instead. Either way, often smaller businesses can be more nimble to adapt – but I think they’ve got to feel like the returns are big enough to make it worth their while with FB – just like any form of marketing – it’s gotta make sense on the bottom line

  • ChrissanneLong

    I live in a world where local small businesses are pulling their hair out because they know that they must get in the game in order to be relevant, but the facts are that there is little engagement and authentic interaction on these pages for most businesses.  No matter what they post, great content is getting missed and it’s frustrating them.  Most of them want to have two separate worlds (private and business), but that just creates more work for them and doesn’t help matters.  The other issue is that when your target audience is the world, there are a lot more people who are actually Facebook aware.  The mainstream (average Facebook friend) doesn’t even know how (or why they should) like a page!  When you narrow this down to a community, the game changes.I advise my clients that they should focus on the personal interactions instead of trying to get people to like their page, comment on their posts, etc.  When someone tells me they don’t care about John’s coffee at Starbucks, I have to tell them that *that* is their problem.  The page should be there, no doubt about it, but engagement is not going to happen for the average small business.  It’s just not.  85 fans does not a village make! I love @JayBaer and his messages.  Local businesses are not the same as @MariSmith or the Social Media Examiner, but what we can learn from their awesomeness is the concept of building a community.  Groups are an abused platform but when created correctly, they work. My strategy to help local businesses has been to create a networking group in which local business owners and other professionals can get together to “take their offline networking” online.  It’s like a BNI, Chamber of Commerce and Meet Up all rolled into one.  When I started the group, the locals were skeptical and those that were honest with me told me they thought was silly.  I did it anyway and the group is growing weekly.  We meet IRL once a month and there are many who want to meet more frequently.  The group is not an advertising platform, but a lead generation platform.  They are forced by FB to join as themselves which allows the members to know the real person and not the brand…. (no one goes and has coffee with XYZ Insurance, but they do have coffee with John, the owner.  This is what I think local businesses need to understand the most.  In speaking engagements in front of Local Business owners, this is what I have been explaining.  I believe in finding a solution… not simply identifying the problems.  I am passionate about local businesses.  Local Small Businesses are the backbone of our country and I hope that I can help those I interact with to find solutions!  I won’t be sharing this article with them, BTW, because I am afraid of how they will react!  Facebook and Zuck are amazing… but if they aren’t interested in helping the locals, I will keep looking for solutions to help them stay afloat!

  • logodesign77

    @brasonja @aliriop @jaybaer Well,if u r interested in beutiful logos,please click http://t.co/m9FLX3Iw

  • http://www.hqsocialmedia.com/category/blog/ Houssem

    It’s true that the new Facebook design is limiting in many ways, but i still see great potential in it. One of the biggest disadvantages for small businesses is the removal of the fan gate, but at least we’re still able to link directly to our custom apps from other sources. I know that it’s annoying for many people that Facebook keeps changing their rules, but after all we’re all there because of the 800 million people who hang in there. Thanks For the great insights Jay.
     
    D Houssem

  • http://www.rockthestatusquo.info/ CarrieMorgan

    Love it, Jay! It would have been one thing if Facebook had been upfront all along, saying “it’s free for now, but not forever!”  – or if they had been a little more subtle and ramped up to the change – but the sudden switch to this full-on “pay for play” model after years of freebies galls me, too!  The lack of notice is hideous – inexcusable. 
     
    But are we really shocked by this move, or simply outraged by how it was handled? I vote for door #2.
     
    After all, public companies have to keep their investors happy, don’t they? And free is falling by the wayside as companies realize they need to actually make a profit (horrors!) to stay in business. It is also completely fair for companies to charge something for a product/service of value.
     
    Something similar is bound to happen sooner or later for Pinterest, too, as they decide how to monetize their website. I’m hoping they handle it a little more wisely…
     
    As a marketing professional, it always pays to assume that (1) online marketing is commonly based on tools/technology that can (and will) rapidly change with little/no notice, (2) anything free rarely comes with a guarantee and (3) you should never rely heavily on a single resource for your external marketing communications that isn’t hosted on your own server and you don’t own. 
     
    Many late night candles will burn in March/April while we ALL put our creative hats back on and regroup. But we will, and we will be better marketing professionals for it. 
     
    Carrie Morgan, http://rockthestatusquo.info/

  • apolkov

    @David_Feldman Interesting. Thanks.

  • http://cattraxservices.com landscaping Calgary

    Uhh..I’m a small business and I feel I can’t keep up with these changes.  

  • http://fusionmarketingpartners.com Fusion Marketing

    Very informative article. I’ve dabbled with Facebook pages as a tool to build brands in the past, but have run into many problems such as the lack of reach and restrictions on  <a href=”http://fusionmarketingpartners.com”>promotional content</a> . It seems like the people behind Facebook are trying to get businesses to behave in the same way as its individual subscribers. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t see it increasing the success of this platform.

  • http://fusionmarketingpartners.com Fusion Marketing

    Very informative article. I’ve dabbled with Facebook pages as a tool to build brands in the past, but have run into many problems such as the lack of reach and restrictions on promotional content. It seems like the people behind Facebook are trying to get businesses to behave in the same way as its individual subscribers. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t see it increasing the success of this platform.

  • ScottHepburn

    For once, I disagree with you, Jay. Some of these changes are certainly challenges for small companies, but I think you’re focusing too much on the negatives. Pinning and starring is a setback? That’s like saying Ford added Ford Sync to my vehicle and it’s a setback because now I have figure out a new feature.
     
    I think this hurts social media consultants. Now I have a choice: Do a ton of work to adapt my clients to the new features  – and eat the cost — or tell my clients they’ll have to pay extra this month for me to make these changes. None of them will want to pay for that.
     

    • http://www.erikanapoletano.com/ RedheadWriting

       @ScottHepburn Why on earth would you eat the cost involved in helping your clients make these changes? I’m completely confused. It’s your customer’s responsibility to pay for hard costs – from press releases to graphic design. And whatever kind of business *they* run, I sincerely doubt they’re offering their customers any sort of a free upgrade.
       
      Social media isn’t free. Platforms change their format all the time. If you’re going to allow your business to be negatively affected each time that happens, I don’t think the problem lies with the platforms. It’s with the way someone has set their pricing structure and expectations. Either raise your prices so you can absorb the changes in a (ahem) frictionless manner with your clients, or let them know: A bumper from a 2010 Ford Mustang won’t fit a 2012 Mustang. And nor should they expect it to.

      • ScottHepburn

         @RedheadWriting Exactly my point. I don’t want to eat the costs, businesses don’t want to pay extra just because Facebook changed its model (again). Something has to suffer, and in this regard, @JayBaer is right. If anything, I think these constant changes from Facebook put pressure on small businesses to figure it out on their own so they don’t have to bring in a consultant every six months. 
         
        Still, my bigger point is that not all of these new features are a betrayal of small business. Inconvenient? Maybe. Something new to learn? Sure. But direct messages and pinning updates aren’t a betrayal of SMBs. Heck, I bet most of them will like the direct messages…it gives customers a place to get help, rather than posting angry tirades and getting into arguments on the Wall.

        • jewelfry

           @ScottHepburn  @RedheadWriting  @JayBaer Pinning updates and messages are welcome for small business but again that assumes people are stopping by the page and we all know the action is in the news feed where the big guys can now pay to actually be seen. It would be nice if they allowed pages to make interest list. I would love to put one together for local small business so that they could offer that to the customer as a service. We all know that we are the only ones that will bother with that. The average user turns tail and runs at the mere mention of doing that for themselves. 

        • rsidneysmith

           @ScottHepburn 

  • http://www.newrulesofselfemployment.com TonySignorelli

    With regard to the Facebook changes affecting small or large business more, I could say this: The big boys really don’t have Facebook or any social media figured out either. Many of my large clients are really struggling to figure out how any of this helps their sales. Marketing directors and marketing managers are having a devil of a time justifying the editorial and content spend. Maybe this will help them, and maybe not. But I sense a lot more innovation on all this coming out of independents, especially internet marketers, than in the big companies.

  • ShawnAlain

    How about the sloppy layout and how tough it is to navigate through it trying to find older posts and where your customer comments are.  Really not a fan of this new layout.

  • proteadigital

    I can see how these can be difficult.  Though Timeline may be somewhat easy to implement, a small business with even a little amount of traffic and no social media manager will struggle.   It is hard enough to keep the message on point and effective, but with the high amount of monitoring also required, it is almost impossible.   Not all businesses have all of these skills, nor can they afford to hire someone to take care of all of these issues.
     
    -Evan

  • jaykeith

    @CutlerDave not surprising that Jay and I disagree, it’s happened before in the past. :) #SmallBiz

    • CutlerDave

      @jaykeith Part of your ongoing efforts to differentiate yourself from all other Jays?

  • Catena Creations

    Finally! Someone has pointed out that the emperor has no clothes! Thank you so much for posting this. Since the last set of changes, I saw the huge drop of engagement in the 4 pages I manage for a client and have been thinking, why are we spending all this time and money on this? And with the Feb. 29 changes, we are holding off on a major ad campaign until we can see how things shake out. For so long small businesses have been told they HAVE to be on Facebook, and now they’re going to HAVE to advertise to stay alive on it. Except they are shut out of the best, most effective advertising solutions because they can’t spend $25,000 a month on Facebook ads.  At least now the stats are published and I can inform potential Facebook users what they’re up against.  And you’re right: most small business owners don’t have the diversity of skills and the time to wrap their heads around all these changes. I actually got a PHONE CALL this week from a live person at Facebook asking me if I was planning to advertise in the next 30 days. I told them about the campaign that was put on hold. They are now going to offer several levels of customer service, depending on how much you spend. Are they beefing things up to get ready for their IPO? Or has advertising dropped so much since they announced the changes that they’re trying to figure out why? Stay tuned! 

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  • Patty Gale

    and this is exactly why you’re going to see a lot of these small business owners stay on LinkedIn.  Timeline is confusing and may be great for companies like Macy’s or Nike, but not for small companies who are not tech-savvy.

  • visiture

    While I agree that some of these tasks are a burden, your brand shouldn’t be devoting a lot of time to Facebook unless your aim is to engage with your clients and innovate new ways to do that. Even if you’re a small business, you have to make social media a priority (as long as it fits in with your business model). If it doesn’t, why be on it at all?

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  • aaronadamsTO

    @RavenTools Please don’t spread this kind of fear and loathing. The sky isn’t falling. There’s no need to scare people. (cc @jaybaer)

    • jaybaer

      @aaronadamsTO @RavenTools I don’t think it scares people, nor was it intended to. Just points out the way the winds are blowing at FB.

      • aaronadamsTO

        @jaybaer Then maybe you shouldn’t have titled your article “14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business.”

        • jaybaer

          @aaronadamsTO Fair enough. I don’t see that as scary, just a true tale of FB gravitating toward big biz.

      • aaronadamsTO

        @jaybaer Especially when fully 11 of your 14 points are, “here’s a great opportunity you may not have the resources to take advantage of.”

  • easycommerce

    Always, Facebook leading to create public needs of social media marketing apps :)

  • easycommerce

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  • http://www.vectorash.ro/ vectorash

    Cool tips! 
     
    Here is a Facebook for Business easy to follow guide to help you improve your marketing results on Facebook!  http://www.vectorash.ro/facebook-marketing-guide/

  • http://www.facebook.com/inwachukwu Immanuel Nwachukwu

    Well, if these points are real problems, then the question becomes: “Does your small businesss really need a facebook page?”
    Perhaps there are more important things to focus on!

  • Andy Lang

    The algorithm (or whatever it is) that blocks the posts of my small non-profit from at least 80% of our page’s friends unless we pay for more reach is a real slap in the face of small business and non-profits alike. We have 7,200 fans and have grown significantly in the past two years, but now I realize it’s largely a wasted effort. We won’t have an advertising budget that would pay for significant reach.

  • Andy Lang

    Let me add one point to my previous comment: Facebook, because of its declining utility, increasing costs and the split second you have on anyone’s attention span, is no longer the most important tool for communications I thought it would be once we passed the 7,000 mark in “likes.” Direct opt-in email is far more effective for us. So our small non-profit will be spending less time and less money on Facebook.

  • https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~~6822e5762fbbd55e/ Filip Galetic

    Thank goddess, Facebook finally reverted the silly cover image restrictions. Hooray!

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  • Bob

    This is the worst article ever. There are legitimate reasons why all of these changes have been done. The algorithm must be in place, because if everyones content appeared everywhere in real time there would be no time to read anything. Content would get pushed so far off your wall you would never have known it existed. And, I don’t want to hear that it creates ‘additional editorial calendar pressure and complexity’. If you are unprepared to tackle Facebook, which is simple as simple gets, then you have bigger problems to worry about.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

      Bob if you think succeeding on Facebook is as simple as simple gets, you aren’t paying close enough attention, or your standards of success need to be raised.

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  • billbobaggins

    Facebook is very clunky when it comes to pages for businesses. The interface isn’t very intuitive. The admin panel is lacking a ton of features. You can easily miss important messages or posts by your customers if you don’t check your messages or “Posts by others” on a daily basis. There’s no way to target specific notifications to specific people, emails from your page will ONLY go to the person that created it. I could go on.

    I’m surprised that Facebook has lasted this long.

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  • http://workonlineacademy.com/go/TrafficWf/ Work Online Academy (Mark S)

    I think it’s becoming more important to use a variety of social media. Having been shut out of Facebook a few times, you just never know when they can pull the plug. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and use more visual media like Pinterest. I find my business is helped by a variety and I can better coach the people I teach who start their own online business.

  • http://www.providentialsystems.com Providential Systems.com

    This is a great article and to the point. As a small business owner building and selling rc “drones” (multicopters) I’ve looked into doing advertising with Facebook, but they have put so many obstacles that it’s just not worth the trouble. FB may be great for big companies or corporations, but not so for small business operators, so I entirely agree with you. There are many other options out there.

  • Scott

    #1 Cover Images – Really? Sounds like excuse making to me, jesus go to Fiverr. I you can’t get over the giant hurdle of getting a cover image sorted you probably shouldn’t be in business, because something tells me you may come across bigger problems to resolve.

  • ***

    The one size fits all model isn’t working for small businesses on Facebook, they are going to have to come up with a more reasonable (i e less expensive) system for the nonprofits and small businesses or just write them off completely (maybe that is the game plan anyway, just concentrate on the big businesses).