Facebook Doesn’t Suck, Your Content Does
This is not a good time to lack in creativity when it comes to your brand’s Facebook content. One week ago the social network announced that page’s content would take a major visibility hit if constructed as blatantly promotional.
If that seems like slightly ambiguous news, let’s clarify what exactly they mean. Facebook is penalizing page posts that:
- Attempt to only sell products or encourage fans to buy something
- Revert back to purchasing a product or downloading an app, even if it begins with non-promotional content
- Ask fans to enter a contest or sweepstakes with no additional content (you tryin’ to data mine, bro? #sorrycant)
- Mirror the copy of an advertisement
This doesn’t mean brands cannot share ad-style content with their fans; it simply means that if they do, money is the only way to guarantee that content will be seen.
What does this mean? Well, it means a lot of brands are going to be pissed off that they spent years (and probably a ton of cash) beefing up a page’s fan count, only to be cut off from most of the audience they amassed.
But before digital marketers all over the world flip a lid,
Expect Organic Distribution to Decrease
Prepare yourself, your CMO, and/or the clients you represent for this change.
Consider making a quick one-sheet with links to a few articles and a couple of bullets addressing a new content strategy or proposing an increase in advertising budget on Facebook for promotional-style content.
I’m all about being on the proactive side of things with clients, especially when it comes to complicated subjects like social media. You’re the expert, so be the expert. That’s why they pay you!
Expand to niche networks
Let’s face it: Facebook and Twitter are cluttered with content, particularly from brands. It’s no wonder there is stiff competition for visibility. But there are plenty of social networks outside of the “giants” that brands have yet to leverage. I’m not suggesting all marketers rush to flood Snapchat and Swarm with promotional messaging to avoid spending ad dollars. Rather, marketers should look to smaller, niche social networks and create strategy suited to their core demographics and content distribution style.
I get it: you absolutely still need to use digital to promote sales and products. What you must do, though, is move away from solely relying on Facebook for promotions. Instead, launch promotional email marketing campaigns, integrate social components into your website, and offer loyalty programs that incorporate social media and directly influence consumer behavior. Design campaigns to take a consumer through the journey of engagement, reward, and loyalty, and do so via cohesive efforts across platforms.
Don’t abandon Facebook
I say it constantly, and I’ll say it again: Facebook isn’t “dead.” It’s still a powerful marketing tool, capable of reaching and engaging audiences on a mass scale. What brands need to realize now is that 1:1 marketing cannot take place on Facebook alone.
Facebook’s advertising options provide brands with a very cost-efficient way to reach audiences if marketers are willing to pony up and focus their efforts on effective advertising techniques. The network is still an essential component of a successful digital marketing plan…it’s just no longer free.
BuzzFeed has received quite a bit of media attention for the brand’s Facebook success, and CEO Jonah Peretti attributes that to a well thought-out content strategy that doesn’t hinge on gimmicks or strictly promotional content. He compared BuzzFeed’s strategy to the foundation of television advertising in an article in BusinessInsider, a comparison I believe perfectly applies to a new era of social media strategy. Marketers, take note.
“In an abstract sense, [social networks] have the same incentives as the cable providers. They want content companies to invest in better and better content that makes their networks more valuable. Some of that will be news made by journalists. Some will be entertainment made by great storytellers and comics. But it is in their interest and the consumer’s interest to distribute great original content published by companies that will invest in content in the long term.”