Businesses and organisations using Facebook to reach their audiences will have noticed the increasing difficulty getting their message out to as many people as they once did. Without paying for advertising or promotion, the decline of organic reach may mean the end of using Facebook as a free advertising service.

As many articles out there including this one have already mentioned, it's the small businesses and organisations that will be most disadvantaged with this trend on Facebook. Many have flocked to the social networking site to take advantage of the "free" advertising it offered, but are now being stung by moves to make "free" into "not-so-free".

Often used strategies such as "link-baiting" and "share, like or comment" style posts have been yielding less and less interactions, as Facebook tweaks the algorithms it uses to decide what users get to see in their news feed.

This is leading many small businesses to either give up on the platform entirely, or pay for advertising on Facebook, either by way of promoted posts, page promotion of news feed advertising.

Where to from here?
If you're operating a small business and using Facebook as your main form of promotion, you may want to rethink your overall advertising strategy. For starters, in the not-too-distant future, you won't be able to generate any useful organic social interactions with your business. This leaves you with only a couple of options:

a) Leave Facebook entirely.
It may be inviting to throw up your hands and denounce Facebook as a viable business platform, but you need to consider the damage to your business this move would cause. Before packing your bags and leaving the land of Likes and Shares, consider how much of your current lead generation takes place on Facebook. If it accounts for the majority of your income, leaving the platform may not be such a great idea. The grass may seem greener on the other side, but in reality it can be a desert of despondency.

b) Rethink your marketing strategy.
Using social media for business is still a great way to meet your customer base on the ground they're already interacting on. Rethinking your marketing strategy may mean being able to operate on these platforms without major hurt to the budget.

If you're considering the first option as a viable business plan, good luck to you. The statistics show that social media is only going to get bigger and if you're not in the game, you're going to miss out.

Social media marketing still offers some of the most competitive marketing options, considering the reach that can be achieved with a single promoted post. With plans ranging upwards of around AUD$11.00 for a potential 2-6 new likes a day, promoted posts and page promotions are still a more viable option of advertising for a group conducting business online. Paired with other advertising opportunities, such as remarketing campaigns and Google AdWords, the potential leads available through social media are still a great way of generating digital word-of-mouth that businesses still rely on.