By Tim Bosch
Recently, Facebook announced that it will begin surfacing posts from pages users don’t like, but that tag pages they do like. My first question: How long until brands start abusing this new power? Historically, marketers have taken similar Facebook updates about the News Feed and completely miss the mark. Here are 3 examples:
1. Misuse text posts.
There was a time when text updates received more reach than other content types. The reason for this was that Facebook, always wanting to encourage engagement, noticed that users are more likely to create their own content when they see text updates. However, this didn’t ring true for brand text updates. Why? Because brands used them in a completely different way than users did.
When users wanted to tell their friends how they were feeling or what they were doing, they shared a text update. Brands, on the other hand, shared text updates with links and cheesy calls-to-action. Brands misused text updates, so Facebook needed to adjust accordingly. Now, we’re seeing that the reach on text updates is down about 40%.
I’m not suggesting that you abandon text updates completely. The point is to concentrate on the content, not the form. Although most content will perform best in a visual format on Facebook, you may find that a asking a short and highly engaging question may work best in text-only format.
2. Abuse hashtags.
Very few people use hashtags on Facebook. Brands, on the other hand, love using hashtags on Facebook. Why? To reach more people than they would normally. Reach fury has driven some desperate marketers to hijack random conversations through hashtags. Posts cluttered with unnecessary hashtags are now common. Have marketers killed the Facebook hashtag? Only time will tell.
3. Over-tag pages (the future failure).
If history tells us anything, marketers will ultimately abuse this feature to look for easy gains in reach. However, Facebook should have learned by now that marketers are not to be trusted to do the right thing. Thus, posts that will reach this audience should first be highly relevant to both audiences and receive a ton of engagement. Still, brands that chase the almighty reach metric by gaming the News Feed will surely try, fail, and then complain that their reach is low.
Some of us will use it for good: tag a page to provide attribution for a link-share or mention a co-sponsored initiative. This is the way it should be used. On the other side of the spectrum, you will see brands randomly tagging big pages with the hopes of reaching their larger audiences.
The only way to increase your reach and engagement is to concentrate on providing compelling, visual and valuable content to your fans. Couple that with a small investment in promoting your posts and I promise: you will see results.
What do you see marketers doing wrong on Facebook? Let me know in the comments!