Facebook has done it again! The social media powerhouse recently announced that starting in January 2015 it will place limits on posts that are “too promotional.”
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that if you’re like most other real estate professionals who already use Facebook for business, you can leverage the new promotional guidelines to step up your marketing game and create even more powerful connections with people on Facebook.
What can you do to cut through this new red tape and continue to use Facebook to boost your business, gain visibility and generate sales?
1. Know the rules. Knowledge is power, and simply knowing that these changes are going to occur and when is half the battle. The rest is knowing what activities will cross the promotional line, according to Facebook:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app.
- Posts that drive people to enter promotions with no real context.
- Posts that reuse the exact content as company advertisements.
2. Post valuable, nonpromotional material regularly. Not all of your posts have to blatantly promote your product to gain traction. In fact, this is where Facebook is actually going to help businesses master social media by forcing them to act like people and not like products.
It bears repeating: Do not copy and paste content directly from your ads. That’s an automatic red flag!
I also wouldn’t recommend posting pictures of your poodle in a tutu every day, but you should post links to articles that are relevant to your target audience or may inspire or motivate them. Generally speaking, you should post a few times a day. Engage your audience — make them smile, make them laugh, make them start a conversation with you and make them remember you!
3. Get crafty with your promotional posts. It’s inevitable that you’re going to post promotional material, and that’s OK. The important thing to remember is that just because a post is promotional doesn’t mean it will automatically be filtered by Facebook. Make sure your promotional posts get the point across in a more subtle way.
Instead of cutting straight to the chase, try talking about why your job is awesome and the many benefits that your service can bring to a customer or client — especially benefits that are not obvious. Channel your inner author, get creative and have fun with this.
4. Use Facebook to drive traffic to your website. You can still engage your audience on Facebook — just drive them to your website and call them to take a desired action once they arrive there. Whether your goal is to capture their email address, get them to enter a contest, or convince them to purchase a product or service, you should be able to achieve this on your website. This way, you’re driving them into your sales funnel. (It goes without saying that you should have an excellent website so they have a great experience!)
5. Start planning your social strategy for 2015 now! Some of you already may be following these new guidelines. If so, keep planning your social media strategy as usual. If you have a lot of strategic changes to make, don’t panic! Time is still on your side, but start planning now. Curate and create some engaging content, think of great ways to engage your audience, start rewording those purely promotional posts and begin to create your social media calendar for the new year.
Facebook is not intentionally trying to hurt businesses and entrepreneurs; they’re just trying to provide a better user experience. Don’t fight the system: Instead, be smart and leverage this opportunity to give your target audience that great experience that they are looking for. It will pay off when your content reaches your target audience and you spark some great engagement with them.
Nikki Ilchert is an award-winning digital marketer and branding expert. She loves helping Realtors, entrepreneurs and small businesses.