Last week I blogged about how Facebook perhaps wasn’t quite the effective marketing tool it’s made out to be. To overcome this challenge, my recommendation was that people should see Facebook as part of a broad range of marketing activity, i.e. don’t be too reliant on one tool.
I also said that I suspected more and more people were being turned off Facebook for a number of reasons, including growing concerns around social media addiction and because Facebook is littered with ads. It’s perhaps becoming less social.
By amazing coincidence, the day after I published the blog Facebook, to much fanfare, announced that it was deprioritising promotional posts by Pages run by businesses, following negative feedback from users who essentially said there was too much hard-selling going on. According to research by Facebook, the top three “traits” that make users feel posts are too promotional are:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
As a result of this, Facebook is advising businesses to “think about their Page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service. The businesses that are doing this well understand the discovery and communication that happens when people come to their Page.” Indeed.
Curiously, Facebook claimed its users weren’t so frustrated by seeing paid-for ads (the implicit message being: keep spending money on our advertising platforms). Hmmm, really?
Anyway, not wanting to dwell on that, I’ve scrutinised dozens of corporate Facebook Pages in an attempt to find examples of brands that are doing well in terms of not being too promotional. And I’ve come up with five businesses/organisations that I think are doing a bloomin' good job of keeping a lid on sales messages. These are:
Ella’s Kitchen, facebook.com/ellaskitchen (246,000 plus likes) - an inspiring Page by organic children’s food producer dominated by tips and advice on how to help your kids eat healthily.
Skullcandy, facebook.com/skullcandy (2.1m plus likes) - the audio productions business does a superb job of selling a lifestyle first, products second, and for that reason it doesn’t feel promotional to me.
Barbour, facebook.com/OfficialBarbour (468,000 plus likes) - again, a Page that sells a lifestyle first and does a brilliant job of it. There is a bit of an air of promotion about this Page but it’s subtle and its solid engagement levels prove it.
Threadless, facebook.com/threadless (909,000 plus likes) - incredible clothing designs. No need for words or attempts to sell. If you’ve got access to great images, use them.
Which? facebook.com/whichuk (74,000 plus likes) - brilliant, relentlessly helpful content from the consumer watchdog publication. This Page is well worth studying for how to position helpful, non-promotional content.
Whilst these five Pages will from time to time post about discounts, sales etc, this sort of messaging is kept to a minimum. The focus is really on telling a story, helping people and creating an online movement. I reckon that if you manage to get your content along the lines of Ella’s Kitchen, Barbour, Threadless, Skullcandy or Which?, Facebook’s new promotional post volume controls won’t cause too much difficulty for you. We’ll have to see.