Facebook is introducing a new feature called “promoted posts” for business pages. This option lets businesses pay for a post to be included in more newsfeeds (rather than the right hand ads column) of their fans.
“When you post on your page, it currently may only reach a limited amount of the people that Like your page each week,” a Facebook staffer says via a video on the Facebook site. “Promoted posts help increase the people you reach for any eligible post.”
But wait, you say, don’t my “Likers” always see my pithy posts by virtue of having liked me, really liked me? Not necessarily. If we saw every post from every random company page we liked (or even friends we have) we would all go insane simultaneously and begin listening to Justin Bieber just to make it stop
Facebook actually says the average post from a brand page only reaches 16% of that page’s fans. This happens for various reasons, like the number of times you log on and the number of people and brands in your network. So they’re touting these sponsored posts as a way to reach more fans and deliver timely content (their idea of timely are posts three days old or less which in social media context is the life of a live oak tree) such as daily deals or event promotions. If you’re having a 30% off sale just on Tuesday and just for people who come in and say “Hufflepuff” this would be post to promote.
This may be a way for Facebook to show they’re finally aiming for the mobile space they just can’t seem to monetize. People will see promoted posts labeled with “Sponsored” in their news feed on both PC and mobile devices. When they Like the post, comment or share, their friends will see it as well. Businesses can also target posts based on specific location or language, and will be able to keep track of how many people saw the post. This may only turn out to be a small change for small change but we’ll wait and see.
The idea is to promote content that has a short shelf life and not necessarily random or self-promotion only content. It will be up to a smart advertiser to know the difference. Fans will only put up with a small amount of “hey look at me” promotions with no benefit to them for about a nanosecond before they click to hide all of your posts so they would be wise to treat this option with kid gloves. The posts will also carry the dirty word, “sponsored” next to them. “Sponsored” to some people (hippies) means I’m-paying-someone-for-you-to-see-this and that rubs them wrong way.
This feature inadvertently address the Social Spam post from a while back. In the post we told you about how your content, or lack of relevant content, can also get you banished to where news feeds go to die simply because you’re posting content that is meaningless to your fans. Promoted posts are not the answer to this; better content is the answer. Offering something a “fan” wants, needs or just entertains them is the holy grail so once again no matter how promoted your posts are what they say is what’s important.