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  • December 03 2014

2015 is upon us and it is coming with a lot of reality checks for Small Business. They will have to contend with higher competition and a diminishing pool of free marketing resources.  One of the biggest impacts coming in 2015 is Facebook’s clamping down on unpaid marketing posts on the site.

In a post in early November, Facebook warned that free marketing pitches or reused content from ads will experience “a significant decrease in distribution”.  The coming change has the potential to affect upwards of 90% of small businesses utilizing their service. In part, this is due to how small businesses use a combination of free posts and paid posts.

For a great deal of small businesses, the current mixture of fee-based posts and free posts are heavily slanted toward the latter. This will have to change dramatically for these businesses if they want to maintain their current level of reach on the site, not to mention how much more they will have to spend if they want to increase that reach.

A survey of 2,292 small businesses leveraging Social Media marketing released May 2014 by Webs, a subsidiary of VistaPrint, showed that 80% of those businesses used Facebook as their dominant platform followed by LinkedIn then Twitter.

This means many small businesses will have to give pause and rethink the management of their marketing budgets. The math is very simple. If you are receiving any number of new followers stemming from free marketing posts on Facebook, in January you are now going to receive just about zero. Yeah, goose egg! Therefore, that means in order to maintain that flow you are going to have to better manage your money for both ads and boosted posts.

More importantly, you are going to have to leverage tried and true marketing techniques. An example would be to take out your calendar and identify key dates (i.e., planned sales, holidays, etc.). That is also when you should take in account the kind of posts you want to send out at those times. That will help you determine how much money you are going to spend on a boosted post or ads as a more concerted effort in your overall marketing strategy.

Many people will skim this article and miss the juicy tidbit I just mentioned. Did you catch it? There you go! I said LinkedIn was right after Facebook. I am sure you thought it would be Twitter, Instagram or even Pinterest. We believe LinkedIn is going to continue to take market share from smaller sites that have less of a focus or have more confusion as to how to use their platforms. LinkedIn is proving that just because a platform has media buzz it does not necessarily translate into meaningful traffic or usefulness for Small Business.

A lot of companies are already having a knee-jerk reaction after Facebook’s announcement. Instead, we believe small businesses should seize the opportunity to get ahead of their competition. You can do this with better planning and developing a marketing strategy that uses various marketing methods:

  • Social Media
  • Radio (local radio stations can be a huge resource for small businesses)
  • TV (local television advertising can actually be quite cost effective)
  • Print media
  • Direct mail
  • Sponsoring local teams

We believe 2015 will usher in a renaissance of sort for small business marketing as they mature in their approach and begin to understand the value of quality reach in the marketplace. Small businesses will have to learn how to better acquire followers and cultivate those relationships.  Doing so will turn them into happy customers that can market for those small businesses.