What does this mean for your brand’s promotional posts?
What can we post?
Let’s take a look at what content Facebook is actively not showing. In its latest update, Facebook defined an “overly” promotional post by a Page as:
• “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”
Why is Facebook doing this to us?
Let’s look at the context of this situation. Facebook never wants its users to go anywhere other than Facebook.
The company has spent a significant amount of resources and time balancing users’ News Feeds. The more ads Facebook correctly targets, the happier the (returning) users, and the more ad dollars Facebook rakes in. The stream of Facebook organic reach has been removed from marketing content and is currently being poured over news and media publishers’ content for exactly this reason. They want their users to stay logged on to Facebook, to need no other place on the internet. Facebook is a jealous god.
To be clear, Facebook is not doing many favors for news and media content, as this Kernel article, this AFP article, and this New York Times article point out, but the trend is here to stay regardless.
What’s the takeaway?
Let’s step back and look at the whole picture. The practice of interrupting your audience’s activity to tell them to buy, participate in, or consider your product still may be viable in other forms of advertising, but not digital.
This is a principle endorsed by successful advertising professionals and practiced by brands that are most adept at digital marketing. Seth Godin, for example, advises that modern advertising is telling a story, one that is vivid and true. Gary Vaynerchuk, as another example, says brands need to give their audience proportionally more of what’s wanted or needed before asking them to engage, buy, or sign up.
So, the practice of hitting your Facebook audience with completely promotional material has probably never been a good one, and Facebook is now just underscoring this concept by removing organic reach from these types of posts. That’s not to mention Facebook continues to adjust the ads seen by a Facebook user in News Feed based on real, live user feedback.
What should we do?
Let’s stay relevant. It’s okay to ask for engagement with a brand or product, but Pages also need to stay relevant to a brand’s Fans. Define what that relevant content is by analyzing the personality of your brand’s core audience. Who is this audience? What do they need? What do they want? What would you want, if you were them? These are the questions brands need to answer, and the gifts they must actively pursue giving for Facebook users to stay active and engaged.
Maybe, in the future, Facebook won’t capture the attention of 800 million people a day, and none of this will matter. Until then, it matters. Pay attention. Gift your audience what they want, and need, and do so frequently.