Facebook’s recent announcement that the social monolith was retooling its newsfeed to suppress overly promotional posts led some in our business to declare Facebook dead to us marketing types. For Synapse, the move was welcome. That just means a better platform for the brands and agencies that are using Facebook the way it was intended.
“I am really happy about the changes that Facebook is making,” said Synapse President and COO Aimée Urban. “I’m confident that this will have a very positive impact on the pages that we control because our focus is always on fan engagement first and sales is secondary. Facebook marketing is not a hard sell. It is supposed to be entertaining, interesting and engaging. This change is definitely going to force brands to seek out a knowledgeable partner to manage pages in order to get good results in the future.”
Best Practices Are Social
It should come as a surprise to no one when a social medium insists that it be treated sociably. This is what we’ve been doing with our accounts all along. What the most recent change means is that brands that are baiting Facebook users into liking them and then filling their news feeds with promotional messages are going to have their free megaphones taken away. Those of us who are genuinely engaging with our fans no longer have to shout over all that noise.
What the Change Means to Brands
Specifically, Facebook said that it will suppress unpromoted posts that:
- Solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Reuse the exact same content from ads
It’s important to note that Facebook is not banning posts that encourage people to like a brand or enter a contest. It’s banning posts that are purely promotional without providing any real engagement (“context”). These are practices we already discourage when advising clients about their own campaigns and refrain from in the accounts we manage.
What Does Engagement Look Like?
Engagement means offering content that engages your fans personally. It means posting content that is entertaining, fun, informative or useful. It means talking to them and inviting them to respond. For the clients whose campaigns we manage, the results are very clear: their fans engage with their brands. They respond to questions and share posts spontaneously. They come back to the page over and over. And over time, they make comments and ask questions of their own.
What’s the Value of Engagement?
When managed properly, social engagement with fans drives loyalty, which drives sales. It doesn’t do so directly. If you want direct, immediate results, there are other media that will do that for you,but that’s not what Facebook does, and it’s not what social media is designed to do. Consider this: when someone likes your page, they’re inviting you into their social media space. You don’t want to be that obnoxious guest who gets the door slammed on your foot the next time you come by.
How Can You Play Well With the New Facebook?
The answer is simple. Engage with your fans. Respect the platform. Answer questions and ask them. Offer value in every post. Hire a firm like Synapse that understands how to use social media as it’s intended to develop a base of true fans and advocates for your brand.
Staying One Step Ahead of the Digital Curve
Far from marking the Death of Facebook, this latest change is just another tweak that preserves user experience over advertisers’ wishes. That can only be a good thing over the long haul. “Just as the Penguin and Panda updates had a negative effect on sites controlled by SEO firms that were doing search marketing wrong, they had a positive effect on those who were doing it right,” Aimée said. “This change will be a positive one for brands and agencies, like Synapse, that are doing Facebook right.”