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Are you following Facebook's new guidelines on promotional posts?

Facebook recently announced that they would begin removing overly promotional posts by pages from the news feed this year.

The announcement, which is likely to have slipped under the radar of most Facebook users, said: “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.”

According to people they surveyed, there were some consistent traits that make some posts by businesses feel too promotional. These were:

  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
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

As a result, Facebook has said that pages that post overly promotional posts falling into one of the categories above will see their reach “fall significantly over time”.

When does this start?

There’s no definite date for when promotional posts by pages will be totally filtered out, but Facebook have said they will start to roll out this update in January 2015.

What does this mean for your Facebook content?

Unfortunately the guidelines are rather vague, and it’s not 100% clear which content will and won’t be allowed. Facebook have only provided two examples of overly promotional content which makes it difficult to be certain what’s ok.

As a general rule of thumb, you should focus on sharing content that’s useful or interesting for your fans, and not simply pushing a product or service. Investing in content marketing is now more important than ever for Facebook – high quality, unique content written for your audience is most likely to generate engagement, reducing the likelihood that it will get filtered out.

Save organic posts for telling your brand story, and if you do want to do a post which solely promotes a product or service , you can still do this by running an ad, rather than a post. Of course, this means you’ll need to pay for Facebook ads to ensure promotional content is seen by your fans without risking organic reach. 

It’s likely that Facebook will introduce this change gradually, so monitor the reach of your posts carefully to see if you are being affected.

Need help in understanding how social media can contribute to your marketing? Get in touch.

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