The news is true.
Starting in January 2015, Facebook is going to penalize promotional posts from brand pages.
“Oh no! How can this be? How will my business page survive? What about my Facebook store?”
Hold on. Take a deep breath.
Yes, this is an important announcement for Facebook pages, but since you’re reading this post you’re already ahead of the game. Here’s everything you need to know about the change and how it impacts your Facebook store.
What Does Facebook Say?
From Facebook’s post on November 15th:
“Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed, including stories from businesses.”
Facebook goes on to say that they interviewed hundreds of thousands of Facebook users to determine what people didn’t like seeing on their wall and “promotional content from pages” was listed as one of those things.
What’s Considered “Promotional”?
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Here are two examples of posts that would be considered “overly promotional” and penalized by Facebook’s algorithm change:
Notice the words and phrases used in these examples.
“Sale ends soon”
“Install this app”
As you already know, the Facebook news feed is an incredibly competitive place. Facebook has to filter more than 1500 posts down to about 300 every time you login, and if you’re trying to get people into your Facebook store it’s tough not to use some of these words and phrases in your content.
You may be asking yourself: “How will I run a sale in my Facebook shop? How am I going to promote any of my products?”
Don’t worry. This change is easy to overcome.
What Should I Do?
First, you should continue to use Facebook’s Page Posting Tips and Best Practices.
1. Cut back on using words like ”Buy”, “Comment”, “Like”, “Share”, “Download”, “Click here” and “Purchase” in your posts.
You can make your posts sound less promotional by using more specific call-to-action phrases and words:
“Check out this awesome sweater!”
“Enter our store here“
“We’ve added some great new items. What do you think?”
You’re customers will know that the logical action for them to take is to click on the link you provide. Here’s a good example:
2. Continue to focus on engagement
Engagement is still king for your Facebook store. If you are posting content this is useful and considered “high quality” by your audience, then you’ll have great engagement rates. Facebook is penalizing posts that have high “bounce rates” (those are links that people click and then immediately return to Facebook because the link wasn’t what they expected). If you are providing real value to your customers then your bounce rates will be low, your engagement will be high, and you’ll continue to make your way into your fans’ Facebook walls.
The great thing about a Facebook store is that is keeps your customers inside of Facebook. Facebook likes it when users stay inside their platform, and your shop does just that.
3. Give people context
Avoid pushing people toward a Facebook store promotion if you haven’t explained why the promotion is there. How will it benefit them? Why is this promotion something they should engage with? Does the promotion correlate to a specific time of year (e.g. Cyber Monday)? If so, provide that context in the text of your post.
4. Always ask yourself, “Is this something my audience would want to see on their wall?”
An even better test might be, “Is this something I would want to see on my wall?” – The next time you are on Facebook, look at the posts on your wall. How many posts are “promotional”? How many posts are ads? Which posts are valuable to you and which posts aren’t? You can learn a lot by exploring your own News Feed.
Want to read more about Facebook’s algorithm and how that might impact your Facebook shop, take a look at this post by Buffer – it covers the algorithm in detail.
Facebook ended their update announcement with high praise of business pages, saying:
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.
What do you think about this most recent update? Keep the conversation going in the comments below!