Facebook recently made an announcement that probably froze the blood in every online marketer's veins. It certainly made my heart skip a beat. The social media powerhouse declared that starting January, 2015, Facebook users will see a lot less promotional posts in their news feed. You read that right.
Facebook will intentionally limit the volume of posts that appear to be overly promotional. So if your posts look too much like product ads, they probably won't be seen by your friends and fans. That's real bad news for you if your social media marketing strategy is anchored on peppering your friends and fans with these kind of posts.
But is it the end of social media marketing for you?
Yes. And no; it really depends on your strategy and how you execute it via Facebook. If you rely solely on promotional posts to attract traffic and generate conversions then you are in a bind, my friend, because if Facebook says so then your posts just won't reach your intended audiences. But this does not mean that all is lost because there are other ways you can build and execute your marketing strategy around Facebook.
Invest in Facebook Ads
This is the way Facebook wants you to go and this is understandable. The social media giant has to show a robust return for its investors. So if you are using Facebook to promote your brand then you will have to pay for this. Now before you stomp off and curse the heavens, note that this isn't necessarily a bad thing for you.
It's an investment on your part and if you do it right the returns can still be remarkable. As a marketing channel, Facebook still delivers tremendous value, whether you pay for it or not. Besides, marketing experts swear that if you're not investing at least a thousand dollars a month on Facebook ads then you aren't harnessing the power of social media marketing.
Use Facebook as a Part of an Integrated Marketing Approach
Even if you can't overtly promote your brand you can still use Facebook as a jumping-off point for driving traffic to your other web assets. In fact, despite the apparent setback for many businesses, the coming news feed changes may be hiding an incredible opportunity for you to build rapport with your audiences.
You probably won't be able to use words such as "Buy Now" and other such overt calls to action, but you can most likely focus on key benefits your brand delivers. Your post will appear less "salesy" and have more of an informative or useful air about it. For example, if your brand is all about mountain bikes, you won't say "Sale on mountain bikes." Instead, your post will probably say, "Do you know the 3 most important factors to choosing the right mountain bike?"
You can then include a link to your blog where, presumably, you will have information about your sale event and the corresponding CTA that invites people to the sale.
Facebook remains an important component of your social media marketing mix, despite the impending change. Time will tell, soon enough, if this change is a downer for businesses, or if is a brilliantly-disguised opportunity after all.