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Getting More Out Of Facebook When Facebook Gives You Less

There’s little doubt that social media is here to stay, but just how relevant is a Facebook page for most businesses? Facebook insists a business page is an integral piece of marketing, but the social media giant also recently announced it would remove all “overly promotional” posts from news feeds in 2015. This type of announcement leaves many business owners thinking Facebook is just a waste of time.

Fortunately, there's still plenty your business can gain from using Facebook. Just as we've learned to play by Google's rules, businesses need to play by Facebook's evolving rules. If you haven’t done so already, changing your business’s social media strategy might need to go on your 2015 to-do list.

No More Free Advertising

An “overly promotional” post should not be confused with a paid advertisement (or, as Facebook calls it, a “promoted post”). Some people have misinterpreted Facebook’s announcement to mean the social site is reducing the number of ads appearing in newsfeeds. Don’t count on Facebook reducing ads anytime soon. Rather, look at this new move as a way of eliminating free advertising.

An “overly promotional” post is essentially an ad you aren’t paying for. Here are some examples provided by Facebook:

facebook spammy posts

Facebook considers any of the following to be overly promotional:

  • A post that pushes people to buy a product
  • A post that pushes people to install an app
  • A post that pushes people to enter promotions or contests
  • A post that otherwise looks like it might be an ad

As far as Facebook is concerned, these posts are the equivalent of sending unsolicited emails or posting a sign advertising your business on someone else's property. If it looks like an ad and you aren’t paying to advertise, then your post is “overly promotional” and will go mostly unnoticed—at least organically.

Here is how Facebook sums it up: “Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.” In other words, if you use your Facebook page just to promote your business, then you aren’t going to reach as many people (unless, of course, you pay for it).

Why Is Facebook Doing This? Survey Says…

Hearing that Facebook is further reducing the organic reach of business pages doesn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, we’ve already seen Facebook organic reach fall under 10% for most posts. However, Facebook cites one important reason for making this change: Facebook users don’t want to see these promotional posts in their feeds.

That’s right. The people who willingly “Like” a business on Facebook don’t actually want to see posts from that business. Well, maybe they don’t mind seeing posts from that business if those posts aren’t trying to sell them something. It seems like Facebook users want to use social media to keep up with friends and family, not to buy products. Surprised?

Should You Ditch Your Facebook Business Page?

Before you jump to the conclusion that your Facebook page is now worthless, let’s not forget about brand building, trust building, and customer engagement. If you have an actual social media strategy, then you can still get a lot from your Facebook page. You don’t have to get rid of it. You just have to know how to use it.

Here’s a definitive statement for 2015: If you are using your Facebook business page for the sole purpose of selling your product, then you are wasting a lot of your time.

Build and Engage, Don’t Sell

Your Facebook page should have two primary goals: build and engage. Social media is a great tool to reach your current and potential customers. Of course, this connection will only happen if you give people something worth talking about. No matter what your business is, you can interact with people. When trying to come up with engaging content, just think about the type of content that engages you. Some great examples of engaging content include:

  • Videos
  • Surveys/Polls
  • Industry News
  • Questions
  • Humor

This doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your upcoming sale or your latest products. You should talk about those things. After all, you want to keep people informed. These posts may not show up in news feeds, but they will still be visible to the people coming to your Facebook page because you are engaging them. Besides, it’s not like Facebook is penalizing your site because you posted your promotions.

So how do you find the balance between your promotional posts and engagement? Try a 3:1 ratio of engagement to promotion. For every 4 posts you make, only 1 should be purely promotional. Keep in mind that this isn’t a universal rule. It’s merely a suggestion to get you started.

If people don’t want to see promotional content, then what’s the point of promoting anything? Just because people don’t enter Facebook with the intent to buy doesn’t mean they won’t. The same is true of television, radio, billboards, etc. No one watches TV or listens to the radio because they want to buy products. When was the last time you went for a drive to see the latest advertisements plastered on giant billboards? Remember, any marketing you do is part of the bigger puzzle. You can’t expect to live on one form of marketing alone (especially not a "free" one).

Even if you don’t have the resources for an excellent Facebook campaign (free or paid), you still need to have a Facebook presence. It’s an expectation in today’s world of always staying connected to everything. Not having a Facebook page at all is almost like not having a website. There are a host of benefits a Facebook page provides your business, including reviews and expanded local search features (coming soon!).

Don’t let Facebook’s algorithm changes knock your marketing strategy off course. The elimination of “overly promotional” posts doesn’t have to be the end of your business’s Facebook life. In fact, it might just be the beginning.

Read Facebook's official announcement regarding this change right here.

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