This year, Facebook has made some important changes to how it displays items on the News Feed, as well as its use policies, that could put small business owners in hot water with the social media site if they don’t keep up—and comply. Since getting your posts to show up organically on users’ News Feeds has gotten harder and harder, the last thing you want to do is get penalized by Facebook policies. Here are some do’s and don’ts for using Facebook to get the greatest possible organic reach for your business while still staying within its guidelines.
Don’t ask customers to “like,” “share,” or “comment on” your posts. Specifically asking for interaction is viewed as spammy under Facebook policies, and brands that do this will find their posts showing up less often in News Feed.
Instead: Focus on creating content that users can’t help but like, want to share or want to comment on—without needing to be nudged.
Don’t mislead users about what they’ll see when they click a link. If you promise them a contest entry form, but then take them to a page selling products that requires three more clicks to get to the entry form, Facebook will again view you as misleading and spammy, and your posts will get penalized.
Instead: Take users where you say you’re going to.
Don’t post the same thing over and over. Yes, you want to promote your business, but frequently posting about the same sale, event or promotion will annoy your followers, and if they hide the post, it gets reported to Facebook. This especially applies to photos—so if you’ve got a great one, make it count instead of rehashing it again and again.
Instead: If you have a big event or sale coming up that you do need to promote extensively, make sure all your posts are widely spaced enough—and different enough—that users don’t feel like they’re seeing the same thing over and over.
Don’t make access to a Facebook app contingent on liking or sharing it. You can only incentivize users to log into the app, enter a promotion on your app’s Facebook page or check-in at a place. Until November 5, you can still incentivize users to like your app’s Facebook Page, but after that it will be forbidden.
Instead: Try to develop marketing tactics that don’t rely on asking users to like you. Clearly, this approach is becoming more and more obsolete.
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Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.