The Dangers Of Facebook Promoted Posts And Suggested Posts

By Justin Lafferty 

Friends of fans are a valuable group for many businesses on Facebook, and also the ones who see loads of advertising daily through sponsored stories, suggested posts, and promoted posts. While users are sometimes introduced to pages they end up liking, many times, posts from pages they haven’t connected with end up being unwanted messages. Social media expert Jon Loomer, in recent blog posts, explained how users aren’t shy about voicing their opinion and wrote about how brands can advertise to potential fans without aggravating them.

First, Loomer tackled the topic of promoted posts, where a post indicates that “(friend) and 10 other friends like (brand).”

He points out HubSpot, which runs a lot of promoted posts. The main problem? Users have been commenting en masse, saying that they don’t want this “spam.”

Loomer writes that users are generally skeptical of promoted posts, or really any post coming from a brand they have not liked. As Facebook told reporters earlier this month, posts with negative engagement, such as hides and reports to Facebook, are dropped lower in the site’s algorithm.

Loomer wrote that running lots of promoted posts may actually hurt the brand:

You have to wonder if they are creating a vicious cycle for themselves. They use promoted posts heavily, which results in significant spam reports. This cues Facebook to show them in fewer news feeds. HubSpot responds by promoting more posts.

It’s like a drug addict. The first time you do it, you get great results. But you’re going to have to promote more and more each additional time to approach those same results.

This isn’t an indictment on Facebook ads in general or promoted posts specifically. Both are great. You should use Facebook ads.

Loomer made some suggestions for brands looking to run ads without getting called spammers, such as not always targeting friends of fans, utilizing the side ticker, moderating the use of promoted posts, and engaging instead of ignoring people who comment.

Promoted posts aren’t the only kinds of stories finding their way into news feeds. Users might have also noticed suggested posts, which encourage them to like a page they haven’t yet:

Loomer agreed that like promoted posts, suggested posts can be a great tool for companies if used properly. They can also be dangerous, as users would be even more apt to sound off on posts that have no connections to friends whatsoever. Loomer writes:

But as is the case with a page post ad, you can target anyone with it. And as is the case with promoted posts, it can go in the news feed.

Of course, the extra kicker to this is the “suggested post” wording and the “like page” button. This could be a major addition to the Facebook marketing toolbox when it comes to page growth.

But do not underestimate the potential backlash or the impact said backlash could make.

If people report your sidebar ads or hide them, no big deal. They just won’t see them anymore.

But with these ads, they can voice their displeasure right on your post, for all of your current fans to see. Intermingling with fan comments about how awesome you are, there’s the significant potential of “YOU SUCK!” comments.

He notes that businesses that use suggested posts should budget low, using them as an experiment. The less money put into suggested posts, the less damage if something goes wrong, Loomer writes. Brands should also monitor suggested posts closely and target their best posts to their most receptive audiences.

Readers: How often do you hide or report an ad-based Facebook post?