Facebook recently had businesses up in arms and nearly saw many a social media consultant pack their bags. All of a sudden no-one sees business posts, likes are plummeting faster than Husain Bolt can run and reach stats cause sleepless nights. What is happening? Should you take social media marketing off your to-do list? The simple answer to the first question is that Facebook is trying to limit business accounts. All companies came flocking to the platform to join in the conversation and reach the millions of relevant people waiting to buy their product. Well, Facebook saw this and have now introduced a price tag on what used to be an open floor. The second question depends on your business. The best place to find justification for or against social media marketing is the cost-benefit ratio. Are your costs in line with the benefits you receive from marketing on Facebook? In the old days, someone who likes your page, would implicitly see your content in their newsfeed. Then Facebook started using an algorithm called EdgeRank, which tries to figure out what should be the most relevant information a user wants to see. As a result, many businesses have seen that any post of theirs only shows up in the newsfeed of 15 – 20% of their total followers. This is less than ideal, but if you have a large following, this percentage might still be manageable. Since October 2013, EdgeRank has been put into high gear. Now your post will only be seen by 5 – 6% of your page followers and independent studies revealed a staggering 2% range for pages with more than 500,000 followers. This just shows that larger businesses’ posts are being held hostage and paid advertisements is the only ransom. This puts earned likes in a whole different perspective. You might have spent thousands using Facebook’s promoted page ads to increase your likes and now you might wonder why. Many businesses report an increase in non-targeted or non-useful likes – people from distant countries, robots, etc. starting to like their page. When you look at your total followers, you should see them as a collected group of people who you will eventually expose to your paid ads. Many businesses are angry about these changes and feel like they were lured to a fantasy world of unlimited exposure and massive growth, only to be told they’re not allowed inside. Others say that the web is maturing into adulthood and re-enforcing traditional models of paid advertising. Whatever your view, the times of free and easy advertising on social media is over and in truth, it was never an injustice to make a business pay for their customer’s attention. The bottom line is that you need to judge for your own business. Facebook still has the largest community of users and depending what sort of business you are in, it’s still a very active platform for engagement. Facebook is still a great way to keep your name in front of old and new customers, keeping in mind the awareness of your specific target audience and business goals. Just prepare to pay cold, hard cash for the exposure you want.