Companies that use social media to get their message out and interact with the public will need to take heed from the latest developments at Facebook. The social media giant, with over a billion users around the world, has announced via its Newsroom that it will no longer tolerate so-called free advertising by firms on its site.
This is the long and short of it.
What Facebook means it that companies who post messages that are overtly commercial – to buy a particular product or service or to avail of a special offer – will no longer appear high in users’ news feeds but will be pushed right down the list and probably not be seen at all. Companies that want to advertise what they’re doing and offering must now buy advertising from Facebook, and appear to relevant users in the ad section of the site.
Facebook, as a public company and therefore answerable to shareholders, wants additional revenue, of course, but it also wants a richer experience for the user, so that their feeds are not swamped by companies constantly making sales pitches. Research suggests that people are mainly on Facebook to keep in touch with their friends and family and to see what they’re up to – not to interact with companies. Firms that post quality content that’s not sales oriented, however, will not be affected and will remain high in the news feed.
Facebook itself said in announcing the change that, “People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”
Quality Content will get the job done.
In this regard, Facebook is making moves similar to Google, which is constantly altering its search algorithm to avoid sites that have poor content being returned high in search results. It’s all about improving the environment for the user as well as companies, whether they’re advertisers or not. Certainly, Facebook, with its vast trove of personal data on its users that delivers highly targeted results, cannot afford to be ignored by any marketer.
So the message is clear: with online marketing, it’s quality content that counts. Not every firm has a budget for ads on social media, and for those that don’t, devising a strategy that doesn’t alienate users as well as social media sites is crucial to ensuring success.