Facebook’s getting ready to lay the smackdown on some Pages this January – and you do NOT want to be one of them.
Earlier this month, the network announced some upcoming changes to the types of content it’s going to share from Pages. Long story short? Facebook users aren’t happy with the way the Pages they follow are doing things, and that means Facebook isn’t happy, either.
Hence the impending smackdown.
It all comes down to one controversial issue: promotions. Facebook polled its users and found that they think most Pages focus too heavily on promotions, so starting in January, Pages that are too promo-heavy are going to “see a significant decrease in distribution” for their updates.
But what does that mean, exactly? Aren’t MOST of a Page’s Facebook posts promotional in one way or another? Well, yes and no – and knowing where to draw the line is about to become verrrrry important, so today, let’s take a quick look at what sort of posts they’re talking about.
When it comes to promoting on Facebook, it’s a matter of both WHAT you’re promoting and HOW you’re doing it.
See, when the network polled its users, it learned that the types of posts they HATE seeing in their feeds have a few things in common. Those three things?
- They exist only to get you to buy and/or install something
- They exist only to get you to enter a contest or a promotion without any context
- They use the same content that they use in their ads
Here’s an example they gave:
What does that post want you to do? Easy – it wants you to watch that show, and to buy it from their store. And while you’ve gotta admit that the big ol’ stripy kitty is CUUUUTE, it doesn’t make up for the fact that this post exists only to advertise.
And that ain’t cool. Which begs the question…
Here’s where it gets REALLY interesting.
While Facebook users reported that some of the content in their feeds is too promotional, they specified that it was content being posted by the Pages they had liked – NOT ads.
Facebook users don’t mind when ads are promotional. They HATE IT when posts are.
Here, I’ll explain.
Imagine you meet someone, and they seem really cool and interesting, at first. You give them your phone number, hoping that they’ll want to be friends.
The thing is, they stay in touch – they even call you every single day – but they never want to talk. They only want to sell you stuff. What had seemed like it could be a valuable, two-sided relationship is actually just somebody who wants to talk at you all the time and try to get your money.
That would get annoying pretty fast, right?
Because sometimes, we expect to be sold things. When you watch TV, you know that there are gonna be commercials. You read a magazine, you KNOW there are gonna be some of those ads that peel open and have the perfume sample. And even if you don’t always love it, it’s advertising, and that’s just life. The companies pushing their products paid someone for the privilege.
But when you like a company’s Page on Facebook, you aren’t just signing up to get stuff sold to you all the time! (I mean, unless you are. Maybe you really love being advertised to, I don’t know.) You liked that page because you thought it would bring value into your life in some way.
That’s why ads should behave like ads, and posts should behave like posts.
When a Page uses posts to share ad-like content, it’s basically like posting ads for free. You lose, Facebook loses, everybody but the Page hawkin’ their wares loses. And THAT is why Facebook is saying enough is enough. You wanna use your page to just advertise all the time? You’re gonna have to pay to do it, because if you expect Facebook to share all those advertisey promotions for free, you’ve got another thing comin’.
As this social network is wont to do, Facebook was relatively tight-lipped at the time of this announcement as to HOW exactly they would determine whether a post was too advertisey or not (though based on past announcements, we can guess it’ll go a little something like this.)
So how do you avoid being on the receiving end of a social media smackdown?
Remember that your Page, though it ostensibly exists to promote your business, isn’t just a vehicle for pushing ads and promos.
Your page is a place for starting and maintaining conversations, for sharing news and advice, asking questions, receiving and responding to feedback, and generally building a community out of your fans and followers. If you’re using it primarily for pushing ads in the guise of posts, be warned – the free ride is ending in January.
What do you think of the upcoming change? Does it make sense, or is it too hard on Pages? Share your thoughts in the comments below!