According to a statement posted in Facebook’s newsroom, “A lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.”
The post went on to state that, “News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”
So what qualifies as a post that is “too promotional?”
According to Facebook, it’s one of the following three things:
- 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
Businesses can expect these changes to go into effect starting January 2015.
One way Facebook’s change could affect marketers is they will have limited ability to promote their marketing campaigns. In the past, Facebook was not only a great place to host a campaign but also a great place to promote a campaign.
In January, Pages will need to rethink how they host and promote campaigns. You’ve probably heard us talk about the benefits of hosting your campaign on your website or on a landing page.
If Facebook’s latest changes have you feeling down, don’t worry! We’re here to share five ways you can still see success and interaction from your online audience, without Facebook.
Ready? Here goes!
#1. Use email marketing instead of Facebook to promote your latest products and milestones.
Email marketing remains the most successful form of organic marketing for businesses. According to SalesForce, 70 percent of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies!
When we first heard about the like-gate ban we knew it was an important topic of conversation for our audience. Below is an example of the email we sent out about the changes.
#2. Host promotions, sweepstakes and other campaigns on your website instead of on Facebook.
Your website is the one thing that no one can take away from you! It’s hosted by you, run by you, updated by you and its content is all determined by you. You can’t say that about any social networks, especially not Facebook. It makes sense that businesses would use their website as a “hub” for all of their online marketing.
You can do this using a simple embed feature.
ZipCar UK, a car rental service, recently pulled all of their campaigns off of Facebook and began embedding them into their website. After doing a direct comparison of the same campaign on Facebook versus their website, they saw a 717 percent increase in entries into their web-based competition and a 204 percent increase in page visits to their promotion. Those are extraordinary numbers! Did we mention that their overall website visits went up as well? If you send everyone to your website, they’re more likely to click around to other parts of your site once they’ve entered your promotion. If you’re hosting a promotion on Facebook once someone’s entered they’re most likely abandoning your page.
#3. Place ads on your website and blog — for free! — instead of relying on Facebook ads.
We’re not going to lie, we are fans of Facebook ads. They work for us, and we believe that if you test them out you’ll discover that they probably work for you too. However, you shouldn’t stop there!
You can run all sorts of free ads on your website and blog, including hello bars, display ads, pop-up notifications, calls-to-action in the footers of blog posts, or graphic announcements on your website.
None of these options cost any advertising dollars to run. You just need your designer to make some ads and your web team to upload them to your website. If you don’t have a designer, there are plenty of tools you can use to create your own graphics; Canva is one of our favorites but there are many other options.
We’re currently in the process of promoting our 2014 Holiday eBook and here’s a look at a few ways we’ve used our website and blog to do so.
Sidebar ads on our blog
Call-to-Action ads at the end of blog posts
#4. If you’ve been asking your Facebook fans to share your content, marketing campaigns, promotions or other materials, try using share features instead.
Share features give visitors to your marketing campaigns up to six different ways they can share a campaign: via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ LinkedIn or manually.
Did you know that 43 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when they learn about it from their friends or family?
This makes sense. In today’s world, if we need to find a practitioner or buy something we usually ask for our friends’ opinions or read through review sites like Yelp.
Share features are easy to add to any campaign and encourage your entrants and campaign visitors to tell their friends about the cool things you have going on.
Here’s an example from Cambria Inns, a hotel in California. At the bottom of each of their promotions they include links to their other profiles and encourage their audience to “join us.”
#5. Explore other social networks instead of relying too much on your Facebook Page.
There’s a great big social world out there and many businesses have pigeonholed themselves in Facebook.
Even if they have a presence other places, all of their efforts may be focused on that one place.
The easiest way to expand your social network horizons is to start where your fans already are.
There’s a good chance your audience is talking about you somewhere besides Facebook. Do a #hashtag search or simple name search on some of the other networks and join the conversation.
A good thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to blanket post across all of your networks. Pick a strategy for each network, and provide a different value for each network. Your audience will be more likely to follow you in different places if your strategy changes!
#6. If you’re using Facebook to make promotional announcements, use traditional media sources as well.
The press release is dead?! We think not!
Each time we have a new feature or resource release we of course let our Facebook fans know about it but we also put out a press release and personally reach out to bloggers and media contacts we’ve built relationships with.
Back in the day we could rely on Facebook to reach enough people to bring enough attention to these sort of announcements, but that’s not the case anymore. Plus, with the latest algorithm changes I would assume that an organic post that says “Try our latest feature!” isn’t going to be liked by Facebook.
When we announced the launch of our Campaign Builder we combined both traditional and non-traditional approaches and it worked perfectly. We were able to attract new people and alert existing users of the exciting news using a variety of platforms including social networks, PR Web, social blogs and our website! Here’s a look at some of our efforts.
As you’ve probably put together, the more places in the online universe you talk about what’s happening in your business the more people you’ll reach!
While Facebook remains a valuable communication channel for businesses, this latest announcement further supports the idea that it should not be used as a sales platform, unless you’re willing to pay.
To learn more about Facebook’s latest announcement, read about it on theFacebook Newsroom Blog.