Facebook will start limiting the organic reach of page posts that it considers too promotional next month – here’s how not to get caught out by the new rules…
The change comes after user research found people wanted to see more stories from friends and pages they care about in their news feeds, rather than adverts.
This move has left many concerned that we could see another dramatic drop in organic reach for pages, similar to that which occurred earlier this year.
Facebook has outlined three traits which might lead to a post being considered too promotional, they are:
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.
Facebook’s news feed already limits the number of promoted posts a user sees and has controls in place for the quality of those adverts so it makes sense to limit organic posts that are acting in the same way.
The crucial thing for page owners who are producing great content and posting engaging stories to Facebook is not to fall foul of the three rules above which could lead to an erosion of their existing organic reach.
So with that in mind, you might be left asking, can Facebook really help drive sales and support your business? The short answer is yes.
The longer answer is something like this…
Give promotional content some context:
Facebook is and always has been about content. Selling your wares in the manner of a fruit and veg stall holder has never worked.
If you want to promote something, you need to do so in context. Tell a story, solve a problem, connect with seasonal or topical events but whatever you do, don’t just shout BUY ME NOW into the void.
Before 1 Jan 2015 this was at best a waste of time, afterwards it could see your page’s organic reach plummet.
Promote your content, not your products:
Facebook is most effective as a platform for supporting content you have created and own. Use it to direct people to your company blog or website where you can tell your story in full and when the moment is right be overtly promotional.
Find a great story, write a blog post and then create well produced and share-worthy social posts to support it.
In an environment dominated by pictures of weddings, new born children and cats, you need to offer people value rather than thinly veiled attempts to extract money from them. Entertain and inform them, make an emotional connection, solve their problems but don’t overtly sell. Not on Facebook, that comes later.
Your goal on Facebook is to get people to your website, the goal on your website is to win a customer whether through making a sale (difficult) or smaller steps like signing up to your e-mail list (less difficult).
Post content that is not promotional at all!:
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you want anyone to see your posts that are promotional (but not too promotional) you need to regularly post content that is not promotional at all.
It might seem like a waste of time, but let me assure you it is not. Posting content that fits with your company image or brand and entertains, amuses or informs your customers will drive likes, comments and shares and help secure you a place in their news feeds when you do want to get a bit (but not too) promotional.
This content can be anything from great images or video to industry news. Take some time to make it look as nice as you possibly can. Your Facebook should more closely resemble a work of art than the virtual equivalent of a toddler that has been let loose with a Pritt-Stick.
Image credit: lukesmithphoto.com