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Facebook Changes the Rules for Business Pages – Again

Marketing budgets are little when you’re a small business, and if you’re like most small business owners, Facebook is a big part of your marketing plan.

And with good reason – for years, you’ve been able to promote yourself and your services and products for nothing – or next to nothing.

But you’ve probably heard that starting January 2015, all that’s going to change.

Beginning next year, unpaid promotional posts are going to lose weight in Facebook’s algorithm that determines what shows up in a user’s news feed. What’s a promotional post? Facebook provides these two examples:

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How did we get here? Facebook surveyed hundreds of thousands of its users to ask them what they want to see in their news feeds. The answer? Posts from friends and pages they care about. What don’t they want to see? Posts that are just trying to sell them something, like:

  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

As a user, we’re sure you understand the sentiments of those surveyed by Facebook. We all want news feeds filled with posts from people and businesses we care about.

But as a business owner trying to reach customers and potential customers, the news is discouraging. What should you do? Well, we strongly recommend against giving up on Facebook all together. It is still a viable marketing tool for your business. You just may need to change what and how you post. We love these tips from Post Planner:

Listen: What do your fans and customers want from your page? Why did they like you in the first place? Ask users want kind of content they’d like to see, and test different types of posts to see what people respond to.

Mix It Up: Post a mix of content types, what Post Planner calls the “3 Ps”:

  • Get Personal
  • Have a Purpose
  • Promote

The new update to Facebook makes posting a variety of content types even more important. Users don’t just want to be sold to; they want value and information from your page as well.

Be Your Brand: Instead of always asking users to buy, buy, buy, post content they can use. How do they use your product? How is life better with it? Show it in action and explain the benefits of your products and services.

Buy Ads: You can run an ad campaign on Facebook for as little as $5. Give it a shot – you will need to pay for extra reach every once in a while. Post Planner calls Facebook a serious marketing platform, and we agree. The users are there, and sometimes you have to pay for reach. Experiment with different types of ads to see what works.

Use Outside Sources: Use your Facebook reach to direct users to your other marketing channels, like your blog, email newsetter, or other social media. Don’t throw all your eggs in Facebook’s marketing basket. You should have several ways to get your message out to your customers.

And we have one more tip to add: Be consistent. Once you’ve gotten traction with a couple of posts to your Facebook page, keep posting! Build on past successes with new ones to see your reach increase.