Is Facebook still good for business?

In mid-November, Facebook announced a change to its newsfeed, one that will be pretty important for business pages going forward. Starting from next year, people will see less promotional posts from pages:

“News Feed is already a competitive place — as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional [content] should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

As the amount of content on Facebook increases, the competition for attention does too, and so Facebook is narrowing this down according to its users’ preferences.

Which organic posts count as being too ‘promotional’?

  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.

Here are FB’s examples of promotional posts:

fb

This update will be rolled out in January 2015, and I have conflicted feelings about the upcoming change.

As an avid Facebook user, I log in multiple times a day for personal updates, and I get irritated seeing promotional content. I regularly like and then unfollow business pages (when I want to show my support, but not subscribe to their posts).

On the other hand, as someone who manages a couple of Facebook business pages, this new content control feature is problematic. Marketers will have a tougher time now, but it will force them to get more creative with their content.

So is it still worth setting up (if you haven’t already) and maintaining a Facebook business page?

Of course it is.

Facebook has over 30 million active small business pages, from all over the world. It contributes to a significant amount of referral traffic on the Internet. That means numerous enterprises use the platform as part of their online marketing strategy.

Businesses – particularly small ones – benefit from having an established FB presence, because it helps build their reputation online. Many potential customers check social media profiles after assessing the website.

Pages are still free to run, and will hopefully remain that way for a long time. A lot of entrepreneurs – like Etsy sellers – even use their Facebook business page as a sort of website.

And, of course, it is a great platform for engaging with your customers: getting their feedback, finding out what they want, as well as handling their problems.

How can you promote your product/service?

Facebook posts can still be boosted, which is pretty effective in its reach. Additionally, targeting specific audiences based on age, gender, and location means that your content is catered to your ideal customer.

Unfortunately, this is all paid advertising. If you need to promote something for free, offer something valuable and relevant to your ‘likers’. Don’t spam them; post content that reminds them why they followed you in the first place.

For a page that I manage, I schedule one post to go out per day. There’s one page fan who likes every single post that the page puts out – even the least ‘sensational’ ones. Why does he do that? Well, he’s a genuine follower and avid supporter of the business.

If you have a customer-centric business and constantly focus on delivering high-quality products/services, you’ll always have a dedicated fan base. Loyal customers and brand advocates will engage with your page and will promote your stuff.

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Don’t forget that Facebook is a business too; it has to cater to its users: people who mostly want to see updates from their personal connections, not brands. In the battle between businesses, and friends & family, who will win? The latter most likely. In the meantime, keep improving your company and work on putting out useful/interesting content.

Eventually, Facebook may have a solution for us all: the rumored Facebook@Work. Apparently the corporation is working on a business collaborative tool – a site for professionals, brands, and companies. It could rival LinkedIn and Google+, but let’s see how it goes.

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If you need some expert help with your Facebook marketing strategy (as well as that of your other platforms), try Have Presence.  It provides a range of services for your social profiles, from assessments and plans, to setting up and management. HP strategizes, creates, maintains, and monitors creative & interactive social media accounts for your business.

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