By the beginning of 2015, Facebook will introduce new rules into its organic News Feed algorithm to cut down on overly promotional posts users see.

For the past year, Facebook has had a visibility problem. The site is a victim of its own success, because after telling people to Like and Follow as many Pages and brands as possible, it  can no longer show users Posts from all the accounts they follow. For brands using organic social marketing, this means lower visibility with their target audiences. So what’s the latest solution to this social media marketing problem? Tighten rules about promotional posts.

The Facebook Business Blog offers guidance to brands afraid of losing a big part of their social strategy due to decreased visibility. The three main characteristics of social posts on the chopping block for January 2015 are:

  1. Posts that only push people to buy a specific product or download an app

  2. Content asking people to enter a sweepstakes or contest without any background

  3. Reusing content from paid ads for organic posts.

Facebook is essentially saying that if businesses want to be promotional, they should buy ads. Otherwise, openly hocking wares or encouraging commercial activity can cause organic visibility to plummet.

Make thoughtful social contributions

Markers are mistaken if they interpret this as bad news for their organic strategies. Actually, it just reinforces what marketers should be doing anyways: Creating interesting and engaging content. Overly salesy social content rarely works, and social media marketing is about getting engagement and clicks by offering something people actually want. For example:

  1. Instead of pushing a particular product, post links to related site content. Then, put the call to action on the site itself, rather than leading with the value proposition before someone has even become a social referral.

  2. Don’t make content all about the brand. Link to news stories on the company blog, and include a mix of outside blog posts and articles to demonstrate a knowledge of and familiarity with the industry.

  3. Keep ads and social posts separate. They appeal to different groups (unknown prospects and established fans, respectively), and they should address different pain points from separate positions in the sales funnel.

Some brands might see Facebook’s crackdown as a betrayal to their organic campaigns, but it’s a smart move for the network, and it’s good advice for social marketers. It’s hard to ingratiate yourself to customers and leads by constantly trying to sell them products or services – but engaging content and useful information draws them into your orbit and eventually brings them closer to making a deal.

Learn about how Brafton designed an engaging Facebook marketing campaign for our client by reading this case study.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.