That would be fine if the fees were reasonable, but as I have mentioned on other related posts, this Christmas they are not. A minimum fee of £4 means a minimum price increase per item of £4 in a small shop like mine. Last year I was quite happy with paying £1-2 for a small additional reach. This year I can’t even reach my own mother unless I pay a fee which for me is unsustainable. This is where social media and commerce overlap, as they do for most small sellers here. I want my mother and my aunt to see my stuff and be proud of it, as well as trying to reach people who might wish to purchase it (who might also be my actual friends) whilst looking professional.
It is not as if Facebook are exactly hard-up. They have managed to pay almost 0% tax worldwide whilst employing a skeleton staff, and I would be very interested to know what their advertising revenue is from companies like Boden, Coca Cola, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next et al. I strongly suspect that they are trying to discourage micro businesses so that they can devote more advertising space to giant corporations who presumably pay millions for the privilege. Whether or not their users will enjoy the experience of being constantly assaulted by ads for things they were going to buy anyway (like ads for food from Tescos) is being overlooked.
Part of the Facebook and Instagram experience, for me, is being able to see the efforts of independent creative people that, in times gone by, I would have had to visit a gallery in another part of the country to see. It is something I enjoy, and I don’t mind a bit if they are making a little of money out of me. I really don’t like to see ads from the big boys, because if I am buying from them, it is likely to be something mundane that I would have bought without the ad. There’s only so much you can do to tart up a Christmas Pudding.