Facebook recently announced some changes that affect brands. The first is that many businesses may find their organic page reach plummeting as Facebook becomes increasingly pay-to-play for brands. The second is that those same businesses may discover some frustrating limitations in the language they’re allowed to use in ads.
For many brands, Facebook and social media in general have historically been a free for all – literally. Companies could create pages and rack up brand impressions and generate leads for free. Now that Facebook has caught on, they’re starting to charge brands to ride the gravy train. This marks a move towards more traditional media buying – just as your television commercial or radio ad doesn’t just appear on every channel for free, your social media posts won’t just show up in the news feed unless they’re promoted or boosted. Businesses should plan now to incorporate a social media spend into their advertising budgets.
That being said, Facebook is also imposing new limitations on the language that can appear in advertisements on their platform. Ads with aggressively sales-y language won’t make the cut. Platforms like Pinterest and Google AdWords have similar guidelines – if an ad isn’t both visually appealing and user-friendly, it won’t be approved. This helps to protect user experience across the platforms, but it can be tough news if you’ve been relying on sales-driven language to… well, drive sales.
What can you do about these changes? First of all, bite the bullet and plan to spend money on social media advertising. It will guide traffic to your page, where users can then like you and subscribe or check back in to see your organic content. Secondly – and we’ve said this before – don’t treat social media like a megaphone. Yelling at users to buy your product or service is annoying, and if your ads don’t get approved, you’re essentially yelling into an empty room. Balance your social media strategy so that it’s not using exclusively sales or marketing language.
As social media continues to evolve and new capabilities arise, brands will have to be flexible in their social strategies. These announcements from Facebook are great for protecting the user experience, but brands will have to commit to delivering attractive, user-friendly ads.