Most customers of small businesses with Facebook pages get increased satisfaction and participation in that small business. A sense of community is created as announcements are made, events created, solutions communicated, information exchanged. This is outside any marketing initiatives that the small business may create.
So it is inconceivable that Facebook doesn't understand that an entity that generates 50% of the GDP is a force to be courted not locked out.
But locked out is what Facebook is essentially doing to small business that use their format to communicate with customers. In December Facebook started making changes to the timelines. Many users now have two types of news feeds---the regular News Feed that everyone is used to and a new feed called the Pages Feed. Apparently the big money advertisers like Amazon and others get to remain on the regular News Feed. All others get moved to the Pages Feed that many users probably aren't even aware of since the only indication that the feed exists at all is a tiny orange flag in the left hand menu of their feed.
Back in December I contacted Facebook because I noticed some of my favorite local businesses had fallen off my feed. Facebook informed me that even though they have a customer service link it wasn't meant for mere mortals like me or the small businesses that may be on their system.
Eventually I found my Pages Feed and found most of my small local business friends returning to my regular News Feed anyway. But many local businesses have been frustrated by this Facebook faux pas. And Facebook should know better. There is a trend to shop local in this country. Facebook is only a tool and when a tool becomes a half a bubble off people tend to go looking for other tools that are more reliable.
Many small business have opened up twitter accounts and asked their customers to follow them there. And there is always Pinterest---grabbing an ever greater share of the social media time and interest.
For me---I feel offended that I missed out on the bargain cupcakes at one of my favorite local small businesses....