Written by: Autumn Fox, Account Executive
Facebook is one of PR’s most convenient tools when it comes to promotions. There’s no real costs attached to a Facebook post, which makes you and your client happy. Unfortunately, Facebook is shaking things up in a big way. Facebook announced they will restrict unpaid ads; essentially posts they deem “overly promotional.”
Pay to Stay
Brands will be required to purchase conventional ads on Facebook if they want to promote anything. These are more targeted than general posts, but are far from free. While this won’t affect big businesses that already use targeted ads, this hurts small businesses that use Facebook as a promotional tool.
This move is in response to complaints from users regarding the amount of corporate content they see on a daily basis. While a good PR move for Facebook, this also restricts content from brands users voluntarily follow.
While this may seem like an interesting move for the social media giant, this could lead to a few problems down the line.
Personally, I follow certain brands on Facebook to keep up with sales or product releases. I follow ModCloth so I know when clothes are on sale, not so they can wish me a happy Siblings Day. I appreciate the extra content meant to engage with users, but that’s not the reason I initially subscribe to a brand.
Another concern is Facebook ads can be seen as less genuine than traditional Facebook posts. We’ve all seen plenty of strange ads on Facebook. A recent study shows 25% of Facebook ads promote counterfeit goods. Some brands may encounter a stigma through Facebook advertising.
That being said, my biggest concern is small businesses. I’ve worked with several small businesses during my time at Central Washington University, and they love using Facebook to promote their business and connect with their customers. I fear this new rule hurts small businesses that can’t afford to constantly buy new ad space.
I hope Facebook can find a solution to this problem that doesn’t alienate consumers and brands. If not, PR will adapt and so will consumers.