The Dark Side of Facebook Marketing
Within a few short years, Facebook has penetrated the global market so much so it has become a household name both on and offline. If it isn’t used to connect with old friends, family and colleagues, share, chat and browse trending topics and random information, it can function as a channel for advertising. Most recently, developments on the site have called to question the average user's ability to opt out of business' online ads.
The supersized social network plans to test a new feature with a select collection of businesses, giving each the opportunity to advertise on the Facebook walls of users that have not previously 'Liked' their page. This has the potential to ease the process of marketing with Facebook pages for professionals in any industry, including the health and wellness space. But is it problematic for businesses to infiltrate individual's home pages without some form of agreement or permission?
See more: Facebook Tries Letting Pages Show News Feed Ads To Non-Fans
As a health professional, it is essential to realize that the game is changing. Old school phone books are rotting on front door steps and it's safe to say that the next generation probably won't even get references to the yellow pages, let alone land-lines. When it comes time to find the right fit for a doctor or health professional, the process is no longer confined to word-of-mouth recommendations. Sure, direct referrals are still important as well as good reviews; yet many are turning to the web to do their digging for quality healthcare.
If you are a health professional and new to Facebook, the social channel can foster healthy client interactions and helpful information distribution. Facebook effectively reaches a large audience, 900 million active users to be exact, who are stationed around the globe and create their own user-experiences based on interests, location, social circles and more.
Sites such as Facebook are growing their business communities and professional engagement capabilities with updates such as Timeline and Brand pages. These additions and adjustments have simplified the process for businesses, large and small, to find followings online.
However, recent Facebook advertising developments have been cause for controversy, potentially harming genuine social media marketing for health professionals and businesses, as users may no longer maintain the ability to opt out of online ads featured on the site.
In the past, users had to “Like” a brand page to receive its updates, deals and general news. Essentially, if a brand or business produced Facebook content, manually "Liking" their page granted access to their updates.
Josh Constine, from Techcrunch weighs in: “Honestly, this seems a little desperate on Facebook’s part. Until today, the Facebook news feed only displayed stories about friends, public figures you subscribed to, or Pages you Liked and therefore opted into receiving marketing messages from.”
Did the tech savvy bunch behind Facebook think to ask users if they're in favor of increased ads from company's they may otherwise pay no mind to?
Facebook justified their actions that the modifcation: “... will make it easier for businesses to reach more people.”
Indeed, businesses will be able to reach more people, but at what cost: a sacrifice of genuine user to brand interaction? This is sad news for businesses embracing social media sites, such as Facebook for authentic communication with business partners and potential customers.
Iliana Pacheco is a social media Jedi master. She is an SEO and Internet geek with healthy ties to creativity. She is the Online Marketing Manager for FeelGoodNow, Inc. Helping health businesses achieve online success is a passion. Connect with Iliana on Google+.
Or if you can't wait, check out our video about Facebook advertising!
Image Credit: Wikia