There’s never a dull moment in the social media world. Just when you thought your social media strategy was set, Facebook goes and makes changes.
At the beginning of the year, Facebook will crackdown on any brand that posts “overly promotional” Page posts.
In a recent survey, Facebook users said they were fed up with the amount of ads clogging their News Feeds. Add to this new social media platforms like Ello that promise user’s an ad-free experience, and it’s no wonder why the social media giant has decided to make changes.
Of course, this adjustment raises a lot of questions. We’ll review what the changes are and how your business can avoid running Page posts that would be affected.
What is an “overly promotional” Page post?
According to Facebook, “overly promotional” Page posts are:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Facebook gives these two posts as examples:
What happens if a brand continues to post “overly promotional” Page posts?
Facebook plans to make changes to its algorithm to detect these Page posts and limit their reach. In other words, the number of people who see posts like this will drop significantly.
NOTE: If you want to post an ad like this, you can do so without ruffling Facebook feathers by using Facebook’s advertising platform.
How should a small business deal with the changes?
The change is meant to raise the bar on Facebook content. Users won’t be bogged down by ads anymore, but that will require small businesses to take a slightly different approach with their posts, says Alfredo Ramos, general manager of social media business Pagemodo.
“Let’s face it – you don’t come to Facebook to be marketed to all the time; you come to learn about cool things that are happening in your world,” he says. “In response, small businesses will need to be more strategic about how they engage with their fans on Facebook.”
Here are a few tips:
Treat your fans like friends
If you’re hanging out with friends, your conversation isn’t dominated by a sales pitch, is it? Of course not. Think of your Facebook posts as a steady conversation with friends, Ramos suggests. Use the platform to engage with one another and build a relationship.
Review your site for vital information
Given Facebook’s changes, you don’t want to miss any opportunity to turn fans into customers. That’s why you should take a minute and make sure your company’s Facebook page has vital customer information, Ramos says. Make sure your page has:
- A link to your website
- Your contact information
- Business hours
- A company overview
- Your logo
- Appropriate cover art
Offer content rather than a promotion
For businesses that use Facebook to post free ads and promotions, you’ll want to turn your attention to more useful content. Offer helpful resources like how-to articles or guides that build a relationship with your audience. These posts will build trust and can equate to sales down the road.
Watch your words
Facebook’s new algorithm will likely pick up on popular sales words and jargon, so when you’re creating posts stay away from phrases like “Buy Now!!” Keep common sales terms to a minimum and watch your punctuation. Over zealous exclamation points could trip the “overly promotional” alarm.
Use Facebook ads
Facebook ads aren’t banned. If you want to pay for an ad you certainly can. This change will inevitably push more businesses to utilize Facebook’s advertising platform.
If you want to promote a sale, turn to email. Create a one-of-kind email that tells your audience about an upcoming deal or a cool new product that you’re about to introduce at a discounted rate. With email, you have the control.
For more tips, Facebook has published a guide to help businesses utilize its social channel.