Facebook announced it would begin charging businesses for posting consumer offers, similar to coupon type ads. The reason for charging business marketers was pro-user, with Facebook claiming that while it will now cost a minimum of $5 to post an offer, this would focus marketers to make offers more relevant, improving Facebook users experiences. $5 is the minimum charge for businesses to post offers to those who have checked “Like” and the cost for businesses with many likes will be much higher. As a benefit to businesses, offers will be able to contain barcodes enabling offer to be tracked.

Milton Freidman said that there is no such thing as a free lunch. That holds true on Facebook more and more every day. Facebook will be charging businesses for communications with customers and potential customers. That charge will be whatever the market will bear. For marketers, Facebook’s reach and targeted demographics are too extensive to ignore.

The question remains: will there be ROI for the cost and effort? That remains to be seen, but the potential is there. At a minimum, businesses should maintain a presence on Facebook and post regular updates on their timeline. Once the presence is established, businesses need to get a material number of likes. That can be followed with relatively inexpensive offers to those who have liked the business. Also, paid ads to targeted demographics should be considered. If there is ROI, continue. If there is not, revise the strategy as we would at Applied Interactive, and try different messages at least a couple of times more before giving up. Facebook does facilitate fairly exact reach of target demographics, and too many of your potential customers are on Facebook for you to ignore it.