Monday, May 16, 2016

Facebook Branded Content Policy for Pages & How it Affects the Little Guys

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson



Lately I’ve been contacted by quite a few panicked Facebook users confused over the the New Branded Content Policy for Professional Pages. I promised to do the research and share what I’ve learned. Today I’m making good on that promise. (And at the end of the post, I’ll share some posts from other professionals about this policy.)
First and foremost—don’t panic. This policy doesn’t affect the majority of us. This policy is only for VERIFIED Pages. Those are professional pages that have a blue check mark on them. It’s extremely difficult to qualify as one of these pages and this designation is only handed out to high-visibility public figures. 

The pink arrow points to the blue check mark on
Ted Dekker's verified page.
For instance, J.K. Rowling has a verified page, as does Ted Dekker. I do not qualify for a verified page. And I for one am glad, because this policy is going to be strictly enforced.

The policy states that anything the verified page is paid to promote—such as affiliate links—needs to be disclosed within the post. This would also hold true for Amazon links, if you’re getting money as an Amazon associate.

For those of us who do not own verified pages, we are welcome to share third party links—like blog posts we deem valuable from other sites. AS LONG AS WE'RE NOT BEING PAID TO DO THIS. This doesn’t violate any policy and falls in line with the Facebook culture. It was started as a social site where people could share things of interest with their friends.

NOTE: Remember the difference between a professional page and a personal profile. A professional page is where you LIKE something. A personal profile is where you FRIEND or FOLLOW someone.

Professional pages are finding it more and more
difficult to reach their audience without paying.
Professional pages—even those not verified—are finding it more and more difficult to reach their audience without paying. This isn’t by accident.

Since going public, Facebook is now accountable to stockholders who expect their investment to earn them money. That means Facebook must find ways to monetize this once free endeavor.

The days of free advertising on Facebook are quickly becoming a thing of the past. We need to be ready for this new paradigm and make sure we aren’t counting on Facebook (or any other social media network) as the sole way of connecting with our audience. It’s more important than ever before to have a blog site where we our readers can find us—no matter what happens on social media. And even more than that—a place where we can collect email address and build our own list of contacts.

Now it’s your turn. What questions do you have about this new Facebook policy, or Facebook in general. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES

Additional resources:
https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/get-started/branded-content

14 comments:

  1. Edie, I have a professional page called Connecting the Heart of Women. It's one I made several years ago, but I've let it go by the wayside. Would you recommend me re-vamping it and updating the content? If so, what would your advice be on a way to do that? Thanks so much! Love you!

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    1. Jamie, my opinion on Facebook pages hasn't changed. For those who don't have an active page, concentrate on growing your personal profile. Blessings, E

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  2. Facebook is a business like we are small business writers. Changes occur. That's fact. We simply have to keep updated and adhere to Facebook regulations. One of the things I value about my author page is the ability to reach a designated audience - even if I do have to pay. for it.

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    1. DiAnn, you are absolutely right! Thank you for reminding us, Blessings, E

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  3. Thanks for this info, Edie. I do have a verified professional page and have been so confused as to what I can share that I pretty much stick to talking about my own books. I tried for a while to do conversation starters between book posts, and I had more response with the book posts. As much as we are told to share other people's info, I think maybe readers like an author's page because they want news about that author.

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    1. Keely, as long as you aren't being paid to share something, you're still able to share on your verified page. And when you do share something you're paid for, just add a hashtag, like several of the blog articles below suggest. Blessings, E

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  4. Thanks, Edie. My only issue the past year is FB taking away two "likes" for every new one my page gets. Even if an author pays to boost his/her page, the "likes" still fall off after a while. It's baffling why FB feels it has the right to remove "likes" just because a person hasn't interacted with the page for a while...

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    1. We're playing on their turf. Unfortunately that means they have the right to do anything they wish, as long as it isn't breaking the law. Blessings, E

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  5. I agree with you, Linda Lee Williams.

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    1. Facebook can be extremely frustrating, that's for sure! Blessings, E

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  6. The very first statement in the policy itself is: "Branded content on Pages is only allowed from Verified Pages." (emphasis mine) You're telling people that non-Verified Pages can post branded content, which the policy starts off by saying is not allowed. I would urge Page owners to heed the policy itself and be wary of non-binding, non-authoritative analysis from those not officially representing Facebook.

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    1. Yes, being paid for advertising by someone else and sharing that on Facebook is a no-no, unless you own a verified page. But sharing things we think are valuable - such as a blog post, meme, or anything else falls that we're not paid for, is within the user guidelines. So those who use FB to share valuable info and give shout outs to friends aren't breaking any rules.

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    2. The definition of "branded content" in the policy says nothing about being paid for it. The definition in the policy is: "Branded content on Pages is defined as content originating from a Page owner that features third party products, brands, or sponsors that are different from the Page owner." The term "sponsors" could imply paid sponsorship, but it is not limited to paid sponsorship, and "sponsors" is only one of three third-party things they list, the others being "products" and "brands," neither of which imply paid advertising.

      Again, I would urge people to read the policy and comply with it, not what they find in blogs.

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  7. Yes, read the vague Facebook policy, then read what the top tier experts - who have interviewed FB representatives and gotten further information - have to say about the topic. Beyond that, be very careful who you listen to. I recommend making sure they have the expertise they say by
    a) determining if they have a professional connection with Facebook, or
    b) make their living as an expert in field of social media (they should have awards, recognition and facts to back up their business expertise), or
    c) actually have the personal social media following to demonstrate they have put into practice successfully what they are recommending.
    Blessings, E

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