Yes, Facebook is once again making changes affecting how your brand's posts are viewed in the Newsfeed. Starting in January 2015, posts that are solely or too promotional in nature will be seen far less by Facebook users.
What constitutes "overly promotional?" According to Facebook, this:
- 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
Hopefully you've been shying away from this kind of content anyway, given that within this year Facebook has been adjusting their algorithm to both monetize (aka decrease your organic reach to the point where you're willing to pay to boost posts and/or create ads) and encourage posts that include value for the consumer.
Why this seemingly drastic transition? According to Facebook (by way of Hootsuite's blog):
“As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”
While the initial reaction is to moan about yet another Facebook algorithm change, is this such a bad thing? Not if you're already following a good content marketing strategy of being helpful and sharing information that is valuable to your audience. Does this mean if you share any promotional content, it'll be invisible? Of course not. But you might need to put some money behind it, or make sure the news of your promotion is included within a broader context of the value of your business.
One of my clients has great success with contest-themed posts, but they are created to be of interest to the customer base. When I experimented with a similar contest on another client's page, it fell flat. Why? It wasn't as relevant to the people who liked their page.
Brands should already be considering Facebook as a monetized platform rather than a home base. Given the ability to target your audience with precision - and even have decent results with as little as a $5 boost depending on your goals - this could be a welcome change to your content marketing strategy.
Above all else, brands should remember the social in social media. Be helpful. Create community. Be of value before someone needs your service and guess what? You'll be on their mind when they're ready to use your services.