Recently, in its quarterly report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook admitted that 83 million profiles are most likely fake. They reported their users to number 955 million as of June 30, 2012, but went on to state that 4.8% were believed to be duplicate accounts, 2.4% were mis-classified (pets, jokes, etc.), and 1.5% were spammers. This means that 8.7% of Facebook's accounts, or slightly over 83 million users, are no good. Keep in mind, this is their own estimation. It has not been independently verified, and could be higher or lower.
What does that mean to the average business trying to advertise on Facebook? It probably isn't a big deal. Whether you have 900 million or a billion users, what's the difference?
How do you navigate the jungle known as Facebook, especially if your business is a brick and mortar, locally-based company with no interest in a worldwide market? The point at which these numbers may come in handy is when deciding whether or not to use Facebook Ads. You may be leery to spend money on ads when the potential "clicks" will cost you money but may not bring in a large number of quality fans.
There has been much controversy about the various forms of advertising on Facebook: Ads, Sponsored Stories, Offers, and Recommendations (a quick written review from fans, which is found on any fan page's wall). Recently, many fan page owners complained that Facebook was hiding their posts from the feeds of fans because Facebook wanted them to pay to promote the posts. Facebook is denying the charge, but fan pages started encouraging their fans to not only "like" their page but to choose the option to "show posts in feed" as well. More recently the option to "show posts in feed" seems to have disappeared from fan pages altogether.
We have written before about Facebook's constant changes. Of course they need to make money, but one would think that Facebook would care more about retaining users (and the customers who actually pay for ads). However, with almost one billion users, I think they believe they've already "got" us.
Don't overwhelm yourself by thinking of the almost one billion people stationed on Facebook. First, start local and ask your current customers to become fans (include the link on your website and post a sign in your store). Then post content that compels those fans to share, which exposes your brand to their friends. As the second layer of friends become your fans, and share your content, it exposes your business to the next layer of potential new fans. If you would like to grow your fan base organically, and not with paid ads, those two steps are the first to take.
Do Facebook paid advertisements scare you? Navigating the Facebook jungle doesn't have to be a scary task. If you start small and build your empire one fan at a time, you will have a quality following that will eventually lead to sales in your store. If you would like assistance with your Facebook game plan, please contact Social Sonar.