Apr 102014
A small business closing due to rent increase

Facebook’s latest changes to its layout creates more problems for small business using social media as the real estate available on its site for eyeballs gets smaller.

The social media giant has been catching criticism recently for changes to its algorithm that make it harder for businesses to be seen online.

In the hospitality industry, discontent was articulated by the Eat 24 website which closed its Facebook Page down after finding the problems too hard.

With the changes to the online advertising feed, it makes it even harder for small business to be seen on the platform as reduced space means higher prices for the space that remains available.

It’s hard to see small businesses getting much traction with the changes when they’re up against big brands with large budgets.

On the other hand for the big brands, the importance of proper targeting becomes even greater as wasting

A challenge for small business

The big problem now for small business is where do you advertise where the customers are?

A decade or so ago, this was a no-brainer – the local service or retail business advertised in the local newspaper or Yellow Pages. Customers went there and, despite their chronic inefficiencies, they worked.

Now with Facebook’s changes, it’s harder for customers to follow small business and this is a particular problem for hospitality where updates are hard.

The failure of Google

Google should have owned this market with Google Places however the service has been neglected as the company folded the business listing service into the Plus social media platform.

Today it’s hard to see where small business is going to achieve organic reach – unpaid appearances in social media and search – or paid reach as the competition with deep pocketed big brands is fierce.

Services like Yelp! were for a while a possible alternative but increasingly the deals they are stitching up deals with companies like Yahoo! and Australia’s Sensis are marginalising small business.

So the online world is getting harder for small business to get their message out onto online channels.

For the moment that’s a problem although it’s an interesting opportunity for an entrepreneur – possibly even a media company – to exploit.

  One Response to “No country for small business”

  1. Good article Paul.

    Every year small business pays ASIC around $260. It’s really a tax on business because ASIC does nothing for small business in return.

    If you have ever been to the ASIC website, you would see it is about as user-viscous as a web-site can be…. Oh… scratch that. The ATO website tops ASICs for being difficult to use as anyone who does on-line BAS will tell you.

    How hard would it be for ASIC, to offer all Pty Ltd companies the option to appear on an official listing of Australian companies and then to allow those companies to put a link to their own websites?

    Better still, why not offer use a small portion of that $260 they take from us to establish .com.au domains for those companies that don’t yet have them (and continue to maintain the existing domains of businesses) and then help all small business with a webpage.

    Oh… I forgot. No one in authority thinks about helping small business… only taxing it. Compounding this, they haven’t the sense to appreciate that if small business is more profitable, they would get more tax!!

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