For a business to reach a mass audience, (their equivalent of reaching for the stars) there is no better way to promote and advertise a product of service than to harness social media. The larger companies often have a number of promotional tools at their disposal to interact with their target audience and market. This may include TV, print advertisements, radio broadcast and last but not least social media. Naturally, they have huge budgets which they are able to spend within all these areas – a missing luxury for most companies.

In the past 6 or so years, social media has been an unbelievable platform for brand awareness and marketing of a product or service.

Facebook now has 1,110,000,000 active monthly users. If you were wondering then yes that is about a 6th of the world’s population. Businesses were able  to actively communicate and interact with a mass of users who had liked, or, looking back further, had ‘become a fan’ of their page. Essentially Facebook gave businesses the power to connect with an audience for free, and it was this facet that made the site extremely appealing for companies as it allowed them to somewhat forge a relationship with their ‘fans’.

Within the last year however, Facebook has made changes to its news feed; now allowing more meaningful and  and less ‘spammy’ articles to be displayed to its users. They now claim that, more than ever, users want to see meaningful and relevant articles, in comparison to advertising campaigns from business which they liked on Facebook – which they now deem as spam-related. Because of these changes businesses have noticed that they are finding it much more difficult to reach their audience through organic and unpaid promotion.

This has led most people to believe that Facebook is pushing for these businesses, small or large, to pay for their posts and advertising campaigns to be visible.

And Facebook aren’t hiding this. They recently came forward and admitted that this is in fact their intentions for the future. The website mentions that it “expects organic distribution of posts to gradually decline over time” and later goes on to recommend that “in order to maximise delivery of your messages and posts within a user’s News Feed, your brand should consider using paid distribution”.

This of course won’t be a problem for corporations such as Coke, Nike etc. And, ironically, Facebook still maintain the following message, displayed on their homepage: “It’s free and always will be.”

This will essentially reduce the amount of small to medium size business that use Facebook as a marketing and promotional tool. Money will be better spent elsewhere for said businesses, thus making it extremely hard to gain attention and hinder their future chances of success on the social media website. Users who actively promote across Facebook will now certainly have a huge bone to pick.

But Facebook is still a great way to reach a number of users, is it not? Facebook will look at their service and say, “who wouldn’t start charging for such a service that is still in great demand?”. Ultimately, Facebook, like any other business, has shareholders to please, and nothing makes these people happier than increased revenue.