Free marketing services almost always come with strings attached. For years, Facebook was the exception to that rule, allowing real estate agents to promote homes, open houses and more on their Facebook pages at no charge. Now, Facebook is attaching strings that will have a dramatic impact on your social media marketing.
The good old days: How Facebook used to operate
For many tech-savvy small businesses (including real estate professionals), Facebook has been a Godsend. Instead of paying to promote their products and services via print ads, direct mail and email marketing, they could simply post a “status update” on their Facebook page for all their Facebook “friends” to see. If any of those friends “liked” the post, it would then be broadcast to the Facebook friends of those folks, as well, creating a “viral marketing” effect.
For small businesses with the digital wherewithal, Facebook had the potential to be a very powerful – and free – marketing medium. Unfortunately, Facebook decided to end all that as of mid-January, 2015.
The new normal: Pay-to-play
According to a recent announcement from Facebook, any posts that are marketing focused (including contests) will suffer “a significant decrease in distribution.” You’ll still be able to post marketing-focused messages and contests, but Facebook’s powerful computers will automatically squelch their distribution – which means only a small fraction of your Facebook friends will see them.