Your Social Strategy Needs to Be Less Promotional

Earlier this month, Facebook announced further changes to its newsfeed (or, rather, the algorithm that determines what shows up in your newsfeed). These changes will be implemented in January. Facebook says that it does not expect this change to affect most Pages. That said, Pages that post what Facebook considers to be “overly promotional” content will see their engagement drop.

The short version: Facebook will penalize Pages that post content it deems to be “overly promotional,” which it describes as posts with the sole goal of pushing users to buy products or install an app, post that encourage users to enter promotions without content and posts that reuse content from ads.

These changes are outlined in Facebook’s news page here: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/11/news-feed-fyi-reducing-overly-promotional-page-posts-in-news-feed/


A couple of things to consider when working on social strategies for clients:

  • You don’t own your Facebook followers. Facebook does. It can (and has and will continue to) tweak its algorithm to try to force brands to pay for ads. So as much as possible we need to design campaigns that gather e-mail addresses for direct marketing and PR.
  • You have to be nimble. There will be a way to fool this change … and Facebook will adjust in several months to invalidate it. Facebook routinely changes its own algorithm to adjust what is shown after marketers “outsmart” it. Social campaigns have to be strategized carefully and reviewed routinely to keep up with these changes. 
  • Trial and error is important. Facebook is never going to give you the formula for perfect organic Facebook posts. You have dig into Insights and Analytics and see what works the best for a brand. This latest change will be put in place in January, so reviewing/tracking organic reach over the past few months is key. The only way to know for sure how an individual Page is affected will be to compare unboosted post reach after the change and before the change to determine which posts aren’t making it into many newsfeeds.
  • Facebook may not be the end all be all of marketing and PR. See the first point above. Driving people to platforms with fewer regulations and/or to digital properties that the client owns/controls may sometimes be a better strategy than putting all of the clients’ eggs in the Facebook basket.



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