Facebook Jan 15 ChangesFrom January, Facebook will be severely restricting overly promotional posts in the News Feed. In their words, “Pages that post promotional content should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

Facebook identifies three specific types of content that users have disliked:

  • Content that only exists to get people to install an app or buy a product
  • Content that wants people to enter contests or promotions without context
  • Posts that reuse ad content

Here are examples from Facebook of Page posts that they will be cracking down on:

Facebook example of posts to be filteredWhat does this mean for you?

The changes will affect businesses using Facebook Pages as a promotional tool to sell products or drive app downloads. Your contests, campaigns etc are unlikely to be seen organically by your audience. However if you’ve invested time and resources into building a Facebook Page audience it is still worth using the channel. Three things to focus on to get the most out of your Facebook presence:

  • Post consistently and regularly
  • Target your posts to a particular audience (gender, interests, location, age) using the targeting options on a post
  • Connect with words and pictures – use short descriptive phrases and high quality lifestyle images. Avoid sales messaging such as ‘buy now’ and ‘shop now’
  • Create interesting posts which add value

Facebook says that businesses should be thinking of Pages as “a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service.” In other words, yes publishing is part of Facebook, but it’s only one of many parts. As you decrease the promotional messaging on your page, you can still find value in it as a customer service tool or as an informational service. In fact, according to an Accent Marketing report, one third of consumers have used Facebook as a customer service channel.  Read why CopyBlogger have decided to move away from Facebook.

You should also consider whether it is time to explore the use of Facebook ads to distribute your “added value content” to a wider but highly targeted audience.  It may also be time to see whether Google+ is worth another look?

By the way, as a user if you keep seeing ads in your news feed from companiesRemove Ad from Facebook that don’t interest you, if you click on the drop down in the top right of the post, you can choose to hide all ads from the company and even tell Facebook why you want to hide the ad.

The whole idea of the change is to make your news feed more relevant to you. What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below.

If you want to find out more about using Facebook for Business, have a look at our updated Facebook for Business E-Learning Course.