As I have written about earlier, as of January 2015 Facebook will be prohibiting overly promotional updates by Business Pages from Friends’ News Feeds. As they outlined in a recent blog, the types of posts that will receive the cold shoulder include:
- Updates that solely try to get people to buy a product or install an app.
- Updates that promote contests/sweepstakes with no context.
- Updates that use the same content used in a paid ad.
Their blog post goes on to define how businesses should be using Facebook, recommending that: “Businesses should think about their Page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service.” (Facebook News)
In a recent Town Hall meeting, Facebook Creator Mark Zuckerberg explained the changes to the News Feed Users can expect.
“What we’re trying to do with Facebook, and News Feed in particular, is personalize it and show you the stuff that’s going to be most interesting to you, whether that’s global news through pages that you might be following or things that are really personal to you.
So there’s this inherent conflict in the system though, which is: Are we trying to optimize News Feed to give each person, all of you guys the best experience when you’re reading? Or are we trying to help businesses just reach as many people as possible? In every decision that we make, we optimize for the first, for making it so that when the people, who we serve, who use Facebook and who are reading News Feed, get the very best experience that they can.
That means that if a business is sharing content that’s going to be useful for them, then we’ll show that. But that means that if the business is sharing content that isn’t going to be useful for them, we may not show that.”
Facebook still feels very strongly that Business Pages matter on Facebook and to its Users.
“Pages still matter — a lot. They offer a free, easy-to-maintain online presence for people to discover and learn about a business. They work across desktop, mobile and tablets without requiring any extra configuration, and contain complete information about a business. They also offer tools to create videos, photos and events that bring a business’ story to life.”
Business Pages are an important destination for potential customers as well as current customers. In October 2014 nearly a billion people visited Facebook Pages. Businesses succeeding with marketing on their Facebook Page understand the “discovery and communication that happens when people come to their Page.”
While Facebook may be limiting the “free marketing” piece with non-promotional Updates, they are increasing their investment in the importance of the Business Page on Facebook. Given the nearly billion visitors to Pages recently, Facebook is exploring ways to build more features into the Business Page, including better customization and enhanced interaction features with Friends of the Page.
When done the right way Marketing on Facebook is still one of the best options and will help businesses grow.