Facebook News FeedSo here comes yet another update to the Facebook News Feed algorithm – less organic content that looks ‘overly promotional’ from Pages.

Starting January 2015, we’ll see less of:

  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 ad content

Facebook already cracked down on clickbait earlier this year. Now, they are asking users questions like “does this feel like an ad?” to better gauge how users engage with their News Feeds. How will the News Feed look after this next round of updates?

Towards a Paid Facebook News Feed

There will be fewer ‘salesy’ posts. It doesn’t matter if most of the copy is entertaining or relevant to the user – action words like “click”, “buy”, and “like” will be flagged as ‘promotional’.

This does not mean that we will be seeing more paid ads in News Feeds. It does mean that Pages used by charities, non-profits, and celebrities, to name a few, get the short end of the stick. These use Pages differently – to inform users about product launches, promotions, events and other news. Their followers want to receive such updates, and Facebook is making that harder now.

Facebook has been busy with algorithm updates for:

These have changed the Facebook News Feed. The Atlas ad platform with its ‘people-based marketing’ will personalise News Feeds across devices. Facebook’s direction is clear: taking advantage of businesses willing to pay to advertise.

The End in Sight for Facebook Pages?

Even before all this, organic reach of Facebook posts was already dwindling. All this means there is no more use for Facebook Pages, right? Wrong.

Pages still matter. Good content can still make it to users’ feeds. Facebook is still trying to help business Pages in other ways – for instance, they introduced menu sections for restaurant Pages. More such features are on the way.

Pages posting agnostic content will enjoy lesser competition and more visibility. If that’s you, keep at it.

A research report by Forrester claims brands are moving away from Facebook and Twitter. Like Copyblogger, which recently shut down their Facebook account. As marketers, the decision is yours. Dump Facebook and lose out on new features for businesses – or stay and play within the changing rules.

You Can Adopt, Adapt, and Improve

What can you do to cope? If you use Facebook solely for promotion, you could still try the following:

  1. Adopt paid methods. Jon Loomer has many tips for promoting posts through Facebook’s Power Editor tool.
  2. Adapt your copy to generate awareness about your offerings. Inform and educate before trying to sell.
  3. Improve the variety of your content. Educate, inspire and entertain often with your Page. The occasional post about your product will be then more impactful.

Owning a content hub and using social networks for content syndication is still the best option. Think of it like a game. You may have to play by the networks’ changing rules – but you can still win. Are you abandoning Facebook or looking for workarounds? Do let us know in the comments below.

Read more: Social Media Marketing solutions from GetIT Comms.

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