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How to Take Advantage of Facebook’s Recent Changes
In November 2014, Facebook announced News Feed updates that would affect reach and targeting capabilities for brands. The previously announced changes have finally started rolling out, so we have provided a summary of the updates and included some tips and benefits of each.
Organic Post Audience Targeting
Previously, only paid social media ads could be targeted on Facebook. Now, the platform is offering the ability to target organic social posts, based on demographics and interests, to a subset of your fans. While you may think targeting will narrow your audience, it can in fact help increase reach by targeting content to people who are likely to engage with specific posts. As engagement levels increase, Facebook shows the content to more people. Therefore, targeting to a more active and engaged audience has the potential to increase your content’s reach. With complaints about Facebook’s algorithm changes lowering organic reach, this new feature can help boost reach once again without paid social support. Currently, the platform is offering the ability to target by interests, categories and demographics.
You can enable targeting capabilities for organic posts by visiting Settings > Targeting and Privacy for Posts > Turn on. The feature is currently only accessible on desktop.
Smart Publishing offers auto-publishing based on social engagement levels. The optional tool identifies frequently shared links to your website and shares it with fans of your page. The shared link will only appear in your fans’ news feeds and will not post to your page. Facebook is also offering a new dashboard in Insights which displays analytics and offers the ability to moderate comments and choose which links to post to your page.
By opting in to Smart Publishing, users can increase site traffic and easily identify popular links and web pages. This feature will also help increase visibility within a competitive News Feed. Currently, Smart Publishing is only available to a select number of media companies but should be more broadly available within the next few months.
Once available, Smart Publishing can be enabled by visiting Page Settings > Publisher Tools > Smart Publishing.
Post End Date
You now have the ability to set a time limit on social post promotions by specifying a date and time to stop displaying a post. This can be useful when sharing timely content, such as a limited-time offer or a registration link with a deadline. Once the end date approaches, the post will be removed from users’ news feeds but will remain visible on your page.
This is available to all pages that have enabled the Targeting and Privacy setting and is only accessible on desktop.
New Rules on Organic Promotional Posts
As part of an effort to decrease overly promotional content within newsfeeds, Facebook is now limiting visibility for posts that are solely selling a product or driving users to install an app as well as posts driving users to enter promotions and sweepstakes without any other context. Also note that organic social posts that reuse the same exact content as paid social ads will also see limited visibility. The below is an example of these type of ads (as provided by Facebook).
Therefore, we recommend altering messaging between organic posts and paid ads to gain maximum reach.
Call-to-Action Button on Cover Image
Facebook has introduced a call-to-action button on cover images. The CTA is customizable based on business goals; available options include Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up and Watch Video. After selecting the CTA button, page admins can enter the website URL that they would like to drive to with different options for desktop and mobile. This can help increase website traffic and conversions, based on business goals. The new feature has already started rolling out in the U.S. and is set to take effect worldwide this year.
With social platforms constantly changing policies and updating capabilities, it is necessary for marketers and advertisers to stay current. As algorithms change and new tools are introduced, the creation of compelling content remains essential for successful social media marketing. In addition, consistently testing new offerings can help identify best practices for your brand.
Already tested some of Facebook’s new capabilities? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.