Reducing Overly Promotional Posts in Facebook

Last month, Facebook blogged a post that sent a shudder down many a Marketer’s spine.  Beginning in January, Facebook users will see a reduction in “Overly Promotional” page posts in their news feed. Let’s look at this and see what this really means to the average Marketer.

Facebook is defining overly promotional page posts as posts that meet the following criteria:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

What does this mean to you?  Well, if you’re following social media best practices, it likely means that this change actually increases the visibility of your page posts.  However, if you’re still talking at your user base (rather than conversing with them), then you will see a large drop-off in visibility.

The types of posts that are being penalized are the “Hurry!  Buy now!  Limited offer!”, “Give us your email and win!” or “Check out our latest ad!”.  None of these inspire communication, they are the online equivalent of the street-corner sign-twirlers we see so often.  There’s a time and a place for this type of content: Banner ads and sometimes even email.  But not social.  Social should be reserved for building a relationship with your users.

If you do fall into this group of Marketer, what can you do?  First, start by using the medium to share content with your users.  This might be your views on current industry trends and events that your user base might find relevant, or even links to external content that you think they might find interesting.  The goal here is to build a relationship with the reader, to position yourself as a trusted source of information.

In order to pull this off effectively, you first need to know where your readers’ interests lie.  If you sell outdoor equipment, then post about fitness, the environment and exploration.  Show your readers how they can get more out of life, teach them what they don’t know and ask them to share their own experiences.  Build the relationship, earn the trust and the payoff can be huge.

The bottom line: This change should only have a negative impact on Marketers that are not taking the time to maximize their channel usage.  Different messages belong in different mediums, and as a Marketer, you need to make sure you are effectively utilizing all channels, not cramming everything into one channel, or even everything into every channel.

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