It’s likely you’ve noticed it. Little by little the reach of your Facebook Business Page posts has been getting lower and lower. And you are not alone. Every page is experiencing reduced organic (“not paid”) reach. Now your reach may decrease even more because Facebook Business Pages new rules start in January ’15.
That’s because Facebook is making some major changes to how it determines what will be delivered in the News Feed (the main area in your fan’s personal profiles). Certain types of business messaging will not get delivered—and it could be yours.
Is Facebook out to hurt the businesses that rely on it as a main marketing channel? Nope. The company is making these changes to ensure that their users remain users. Here’s how Facebook explains it:
“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.”
After all, most of us joined Facebook to keep up with our friends and families, right? As a matter of fact, when Facebook first started delivering marketing messaging to users, there was a huge backlash. (You can read about the biggest backlash here). Users haven’t invested a penny to use Facebook and for that reason the company must be constantly vigilant that users feel safe from aggressive marketing.
So, what do these changes mean for you, the hapless business marketer?
Starting now, there are three types of posts that you want to avoid publishing because, beginning next month, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds.
Here’s how Facebook explains the 3 types of posts they will be limiting reach on:
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.
Here are two examples of two no-no posts (from Facebook):
3. Posts that reuse the exact same content that you have in an ad. In other words, if you are running Facebook ads (let’s say for a free webinar you will be presenting) and you also want that message to be on your Page, don’t just cut and paste. Create a new version with slightly different text (or greatly different text, because your fans already know you!) and use a different image as well, to be safe.
4 Ways To Be Sure Your Facebook Posts Follow The New Rules:
1. Everything you post must have some context.
(Context: the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect.)
Instead of posting this:
I’ve just released a new eBook about Facebook advertising. Get it here:
When I first started advertising on Facebook I was so overwhelmed. I wish I’d had a guide to show me step by step how to create my ads and target them to my display to my ideal clients. So, I created my own and I’d love to share it with you…
2. Mix up your page content instead of depending entirely on promotional messaging. Intersperse your own content with content that’s not about you or your business. For example, post funny images, inspirational quotes, your thoughts and feelings, etc. Test and measure your engagement and then repeat the types of posts that your fans love based upon shares, comments and likes. I recently posted a quote from John Wayne that got more engagement than any other post on my Page for that week. And it didn’t even have an image:
Courage is being scared to death—but saddling up anyway. - John Wayne
When your fans engage with your content, you will likely to see higher reach for your Page across the board.
3. Don’t Be Lazy! I know it’s tempting to use the exact same text and image on a Page post as you have used for an ad, but you need to create separate versions for each one. Take your time. Do it right.
Now here is where this seems a little tricky, at least to me! Facebook states that the new rules apply only to “unpaid” posts. So, does that mean if you are promoting (boosting) your posts these rules don’t apply? I feel this is a bit ambiguous, and I’m hoping that Facebook will release information that will make this clearer. In the meantime, follow the rules to be safe.
4. Develop a deeper relationship with your fans. Here’s a great tip from a smart Social Media marketer, Kim Garst: Drive traffic to your website from Facebook and get your fans onto your mailing list!
“When your fans click on one of your links, is that the end of their interaction with you and your site? Or are you offering them the opportunity to join your email list? Your list is your most valuable online asset, so make sure your Facebook visitors are not reaching a dead end once they click through to your site!”
Here are some things you can do on your website to encourage those Facebook folks to develop a deeper and closer relationship with you and your brand:
- Add a link to subscribe to your blog or email list.
- Offer an eBook download or a free whitepaper in exchange for an email.
- Add an email sign up link and form to your Facebook page.
- Host a contest or giveaway.
- Make your Facebook cover photo clickable – and send them to a landing page optimized for opt-in pages.
- Include calls to action to join your email list in your Facebook posts.
- Add a pop up invite on your website to join your list.
The bottom line is this: Facebook is an awesome platform to build a community of fans and followers for your business.. Keeping up with the frequent changes is challenging, but if you pay attention, your business will reap the benefits. Follow someone like me or whoever is your favorite Social Media expert…we will make sure to always keep you up to date.
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