Late last week, Facebook gave businesses the bad news:
Overtly promotional posts will no longer be shown to page followers, beginning in January 2015.
Exactly what types of posts are banned? Here’s what Facebook specified:
- 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 gave some hypothetical examples of undesirable posts, but here are just a few of the millions of real Facebook page posts that would seem to fall foul of Facebook’s new rules.
Posts that only talk about products you should buy:
Or contests you can enter:
And even big brands have Facebook page posts unlikely to survive the January 2015 promotional massacre:
Those 762 people who like the above post? They’re going to be out of luck, when January rolls around. They won’t see the Uniqlo promotional posts in their newsfeeds, so they won’t know about the deals.
The Continuing Push Towards Zero Facebook Engagement
This move by Facebook is just the latest step in the social network’s efforts to:
- reduce unwanted clutter on users’ Facebook newsfeeds
- drive down the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts (towards zero)
From a user-centric point of view, Facebook’s motives are not merely practical but praise-worthy. As Facebook notes, “our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed”.
From the point of view of businesses, however, Facebook’s moves are typically not viewed in such a benign fashion.
As re/code notes, it’s “likely going to anger brands in the process, many of whom spent years building up a following for this very purpose. Why would Coca-Cola pay Facebook to promote one of its posts when it already has 90 million users following its updates?”
Facebook’s own guidelines for business pages spell out the social giant’s thinking:
Publicize exclusive discounts and promotions with ads
If you’re looking to inspire more purchases from your posts, create Facebook Ads with special discounts or promotions.
- Use link ads to drive people to your site, and include special codes they can use at checkout
- Drive urgency with a time prompt like “free shipping, this weekend only” or “12 hour flash sale”
- Promote only products or services you think your audience is most interested in
- Advertise end-of-year contests and giveaways to drive customer loyalty and sales
In other words, if you want to use Facebook to actually sell stuff, you can now expect to have to PAY.
Overcoming Facebook Frustration & Reaching Your Followers
So what should you do? Simply abandon your carefully-constructed Facebook presence? Or pay every time to reach your followers?
In our Facebook online training courses (Facebook Accelerator and the Complete Facebook Marketing course), we tackle the issue head-on, and recommend that you:
- use Graph Search to learn more about your followers and the sort of content that will interest them
- identify the types of posts that your followers are most likely to share
- create more of those types of posts
- create posts in styles and formats that encourage more engagement
- identify when your followers are most likely to be active on Facebook
- publish your posts at those times
- post more frequently than in the past
- pay to promote the best of your posts to your followers
- bump evergreen popular content
- aim to drive Last Actor engagement as much as possible
- crunch your numbers regularly to see exactly how well you’re doing (and whether or not you’re fulfilling your potential)
- use Facebook advertising to drive Facebook users to your website
Free Report on Facebook Advertising
If you want to sell anything through Facebook, it’s time to face the grim reality:
you’re simply going to have to pay to promote your products, through Facebook Advertising.
A word of warning, however: if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to burn through a lot of money fast, with minimal results.
To help, we’ve put together a special FREE report on getting started with Facebook Advertising.
This free report will tell you the 5 essential tips you simply MUST KNOW before you start advertising on Facebook.
So go ahead — grab your FREE copy right now!