Would You Pay for Facebook?

I know what you’re thinking. No, this isn’t a post about how Facebook is going to make users pay to access the site. I’m sure your ex-roommate’s cousin has done a great job spreading that rumor already, and it’s just not true. We all know that Facebook is free and is going to stay that way – it says so on the sign in page. But what about Facebook for businesses?

It has recently come to light that Facebook Pages are being manipulated by Promoted Posts. As in, Page posts will hold greater weight and show up in more News Feeds if you pay Facebook to make that happen. This has created somewhat of a panic from businesses that are worried Facebook isn’t actually sharing their posts with legitimate fans, unless they pay for it, of course. Although it doesn’t sounds like that’s what is happening currently (see Facebook’s Promoted Page FAQ), I can see where that might happen in the near future as Promoted Posts are more frequently adopted, and they begin to push out unpaid ones. So although it’s not time to panic (yet), now is a great time to re-evaluate your Facebook Page strategy.

Are you willing to pay to make sure fans (and friends of fans) see what you’re sharing on your Facebook Page? For some businesses, it’s just not in the budget. Small businesses that have relied on free Facebook promotion for years may be in for a rude awakening when their messages aren’t getting through without paying for the privilege. Will they pay? Or will businesses just move on to the next big thing: Google+?

I think we’ll see a lot of businesses continuing to exist obliviously, wondering why their Pages aren’t getting as much love as they once did. Others will pay for the privilege of being seen by Fans. Some may also be turned on to Ads when they’re given a chance to see how paid promotion through Facebook works. I expect to see a lot of businesses exploring Google+ as a viable alternative for free promotion.

As for my own business, I don’t think we’ll be majorly impacted, although this news is a wake up call that we really ought to be diversifying and get established on Google+ already. We do regularly post to Facebook, most often by sharing photo albums of recent work, but we do it at a volume that’s low enough to not be a major expense if we need to pay for exposure. And there are certainly some posts that we’d prefer to promote more than others. This is not a big deal for us.

Although it’s likely we’ll ultimately play along with a paid posts model on Facebook, I would prefer to pay a fee just once, or annually, in order to have the use of a Page rather than pay each time I want to make sure an important post isn’t buried in my Fans’ News Feeds. If Facebook offered a Premium Page model with a reasonable annual fee in exchange for higher visibility, we’d be among the first to sign up. But paying to promote posts that have been freely and widely shared in the past certainly would leave a bad taste in my mouth, and I know I’m not alone.

How do you feel about Promoted Posts? Would you be willing to pay, even a small amount, to make sure your messages are getting through to the masses?