Continuing in my heretical vein

Lets look at two things: Why Facebook even has free pages, and What Facebook people do with them.

Why Facebook has free pages for businesses

If you haven’t read The Facebook Effect, by David Kirkpatrick, and you are doing business on Facebook, I recommend you read it, just to understand the philosophy you have embraced.  If you don’t have a copy handy, I’m going to quote a paragraph or two to get your attention.  The boy billionaire did not get where he is today giving away goodies. Not really.  He has been generating income for some time, and his investors (in the hundreds of millions of dollars) are interested in income too.

Originally, he sold sponsored pages for upwards of $100,000 each.  That model didn’t work out for him, so Facebook hosted an event for the advertising community in New York on November 6 of 2008:

Any commercial entity could now create a “page” on Facebook for free, which would have many of the characteristics of an individual’s profile…The “sponsored page” model had outlived its usefulness. The company’s strategy was to get as many companies into its system as possible, on the presumption that once they were operating there they would find cause to advertise or otherwise spend money even if their page itself were free.” (Italics mine)

“The meat of the Facebook Ads announcement … was …self-service advertising.”

…enabled any company, even a tiny one, or an individual, to go online and design and purchase an ad in Facebook that they could target very exactly to their intended audience.”

Custom Facebook Pages were designed to encourage spending your ad budget at Facebook

What are Facebook users doing?

Activity on Facebook
There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month”

Source: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

30 billion pieces of content are created each month.

Facebook has to manage those 30 billion pieces of content, and the way they do that is to only show you what you’ve expressed an interest in. So you see things from the friends you interact with a lot, and pages you interact with, and everything else is algorithm’d out of your stream.

What that means to you, as a Custom FanPage, is that you are continually being pushed out of the stream, unless you are paying for Facebook Ads to keep you in front of the audience you’re seeking.

Facebook is weeding out all but the big dogs

If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.

Facebook first began, what is in my opinion, a weeding out process of lesser Fanpages when they phased out FBML and forced everyone with a custom Facebook page to go to the iFrame model.

Now you have to add an SSL layer to your page

Migration to OAuth 2.0 + HTTPS timeline

  • July 1: Updates to the PHP and JS SDKs available that use OAuth 2.0 and have new cookie format (without access token).
  • September 1: All apps must migrate to OAuth 2.0 and expect an encrypted access token.
  • October 1: All Canvas apps must process signed_request (fb_sig will be removed) and obtain an SSL certificate (unless you are in Sandbox mode). This will ensure that users browsing Facebook over HTTPS will have a great experience over a secure connection.

This not only costs money – not the thousand dollars you’ve read about – they can be as cheap as $9 a year . . . but it is a technically challenging requirement. And that seems to be the thing with the Facebook gods lately.

Big Dogs only need apply.

My solution: Learn the technology or find someone who can do it for you, and learn how to extract the maximum potential from your Profile so that all these changes to Pages don’t put you in a tailspin.

Next up: Proof that Facebook will put you on the map with BING, AND bring traffic to your website. And that is where you want those 500,000,000 Facebook people isn’t it? At your door!