Should Small Business Worry About the Facebook Scandal?
Facebook is working to restore its image with users following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, in which information on up to 87 million users was collected through a third-party application and passed on to a political consulting firm to help influence voter opinion.
The public outcry following Cambridge Analytica has caused users and businesses to leave the platform and stock prices to drop. Tesla & Playboy are among the businesses that have dropped Facebook altogether, while countless others have pulled advertising through the platform.
Analysts estimate that anywhere between 60% and 80% of small businesses have a presence on Facebook, with over half of all small businesses posting on Facebook every day.
Just as a business vows to protect any user data that flows through their payment systems and website, they also have a responsibility to safeguard the data of their customers who value them enough to like them on Facebook. If a massive data breach were to occur on Facebook, the responsibility would fall on Facebook; not the individual brand. However, some can’t help but feel guilty by association.
Should you go running for the hills and pull your business from Facebook? We don’t think so.
Data is Valuable to Advertisers & Isn’t a Secret
Facebook advertising can help expose businesses to extremely targeted audiences who may be interested in their products and services. The recent Facebook scandal has opened a lot of eyes into how marketing on the channel works. Along with utilizing self-identifying information such as names, date of birth, relationship status along with browsing history to serve advertisements to relevant audiences. Facebook has also used third-party data providers like Experian to gain insights into purchasing data. However in the wake of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook is taking more control of their data and cutting out third-party providers.
Facebook does not collect data for ads based on user conversations in messenger, microphones or call history. Facebook does not sell any of the data it collects.
Facebook is showing fewer and fewer organic posts from brands in news feeds focusing more on person-to-person communication. For many brands, advertising is the biggest way to get a leg up on the platform.
Utilizing targeted advertisements can help businesses connect with a much larger base of potential consumers, and with some overreacting and pulling their efforts from the platform the cost of advertising may at least temporarily decrease.
Facebook is Investing in Small Businesses
As part of a $1 billion initiative, Facebook is making a big push to connect with small business owners through its Community Boost program. Facebook has been hosting seminars with small business owners across the country including St. Louis to provide small business owners with the tools & knowledge they need to succeed on the platform.
Messenger has Significant Value to Brands
Let’s face it. For better or worse, more internet users would much rather communicate with a brand over Facebook than picking up the phone and calling. More brands are encouraging users to communicate with them via direct message with questions or concerns rather than handling this type of communication out in the open on social media.
Brands can also integrate automated conversions through Facebook messenger, allowing them to still meet the needs of customers while decreasing call volume and improving internal productivity.
Yes or No to Facebook for Business?
Facebook is taking the necessary steps to clean up its act, and continues to push new initiatives to make the platform work better for businesses. Targeted advertisements aren’t going away any time soon, and Facebook is not the only brand using data to provide more targeted advertisements to users. Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest – they all do it too.
While we continue to see value in Facebook for business, we do appreciate the fact that brands are concerned with their own privacy and that of their users while becoming more understanding of how technology affects them.