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Facebook To Begin Penalizing "Low Quality" Content

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You know all those Facebook posts hyping the latest, greatest products and promotions from businesses? The ones that wind up in everybody’s news feed, but nobody really seems to like?

Facebook doesn’t like them either, so sometime soon businesses, brands and anyone else who posts them will be summarily punished. Starting in January 2015, Facebook will begin filtering out these “low-quality” posts. And it might not be fair.

With the emergence of Facebook as a powerhouse marketing tool, many organizations use posts as a primary driver of business. The posts have become more important — and more aggressive — ever since Facebook changed the way posts appear in people’s feeds.

Simply posting something on Facebook no longer means it rolls organically onto the pages of fans, friends and followers. So with the decrease in reach, companies increased their Facebook ad buys, amped up the aggressiveness of the copy and worked their way into the public’s virtual consciousness — which is exactly what Facebook wanted them to do.

The deal Facebook pitched to businesses, brands and organizations with products and services to sell was this: You buy ads or pay to boost your posts and we deliver impressions. It didn’t necessarily matter what the ads said, as long as they were respectful of the terms of use agreement. It matters now.

Facebook, it seems, surveyed a half-million users and found out that (gasp!) people didn’t like the over-aggressive, grandiose claims companies were making. It’s not really different than people not liking spam, junk mail or telemarketing calls, but there’s a reason organizations keep sending un-asked-for emails, printing postcards and dialing for dollars: It works.

So what is a brand, business or organization that relies on page posts to drive business to do? According to Facebook, they need to avoid hyperbole, tone down the wild claims and contests, and make sure posts are less promotional, more personal and of some value to friends, fans and followers. In short, the ads need to be less about the promotion and more about providing a solution for the people reading the ad.

In other words, Facebook wants you to get real and keep it real, and make it personal and personable. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad strategy, but it can be difficult to execute when you’re competing for screen time with a billion other posts.

Facebook is making the change for the users, which makes a lot of sense, but it is changing the rules in what might just be the first quarter of the game. A lot of companies are just getting the hang of how to market their wares using social media — and Facebook is seemingly learning how to monetize its product.

This isn’t the first change affecting businesses, brands and others that advertise on Facebook and it isn’t likely to be the last, which means the companies that will be best positioned to maximize the power of Facebook advertising are those with clear, authentic messages — and the ability to avoid hyping the latest, greatest products and promotions.

The bottom line is: All content should be about the end-user, not about you! Provide a solution for them and educate them — don't bombard people with a sales pitch. 

 

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