In a way, social media marketing can be a little bit like surfacing. The rules and best practices for social media platforms are a constantly changing wave and it’s up to the savvy marketer to ride the wave to the best of their ability. Over the past year, the wave has become a lot more unpredictable as social media platforms have changed rules and guidelines to address some issues with the way people have used their platforms. Marketers should be prepared for some rough seas in August as a several new changes to the Facebook API will eliminate long-used features.
Normally, social media platforms announce their plans for major long in advance, so app developers and marketers have time to change their systems accordingly. This is true for the Facebook changes that will go into effect on August 1. When they were first announced in April, August seemed like forever away, but the time is near and marketers need to be ready because some of the changes may require major changes to the way agencies handle Facebook marketing.
The most notable change involves the way marketer post to personal profiles. Starting August 1, it will be impossible to use a third-party post scheduler (e.g. Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout, etc.) to post to Personal Pages on Facebook. This may seem like a small thing, since most clients don’t want you to post on their personal Facebook page, but there will be situation when this does become an issue.
Too illustrate, if a lawyer wants to post things on their Facebook Business page and their personal Facebook page, they can only schedule the post in a third-party software for the business page. A marketing firm that was charged with posting to the personal page would have to log into the personal account of the lawyer and make the post within Facebook. What makes the situation all the worse is that posts can’t be scheduled in advance on Facebook’s personal pages so this change will make Facebook marketing to personal pages much harder.
Keep in mind, anyone who’s scheduled post in an auto-posting system that were scheduled to post to a personal page after Aug. 1 will fail to publish. As was mentioned before, this may not affect a large number of marketers, but for those that will be affected, they will need to be ready to post every day from Facebook for the personal pages they manage.
Another change that will go into effect on Aug 1 involves organic post targeting. In the past, it was possible for Facebook page owners to target subsets of their audience when creating organic posts. This was useful for pages with a diverse audience and the page owner wanted certain posts to be seen by certain demographics in their audience. While this feature isn’t being completely removed, it will new limitations.
As Hootsuite explained in a post warning users of the upcoming changes, “It will no longer be possible to target organic posts by gender or language when publishing to Facebook Pages. Age targeting will also be limited to specifying a minimum age of 13, 17, 18, 19 or 21. Targeting by location, interested in, relationship, and education will still be supported.”
While this is certainly frustrating to people who were using the organic post audience segmentation tools, the good news is that it won’t affect ads, which are reliant on targeted audiences. According to Facebook, these updates to targeting do not apply to boosted posts.
For more information about recent changes that can help online marketers, read this article about recent changes to Google that will make the search giant event more useful for online marketers.