Facebook's recent changes to its branded content policy has made influencers uncomfortable: "Don't accept anything of value to post content that you did not create or were not involved in the creation of, or that does not feature you."
Facebook requires influencers to use a page for branded content versus their personal accounts. Roughly three-quarters of influencers get paid directly by the brands that they promote, which means that Facebook never sees a dime. Considering Facebook has been missing out on revenue, it is actually surprising it waited this long to make the changes.
Gary Lipovetsky, CEO of Provider, isn't too concerned with the new policy, though. He believes that if an influencer adds a paragraph-length description or caption to the post, it satisfies Facebook's requirements. He also added, "I understand why Facebook is doing it. Their mandate is to continuously improve the user experience on their platform. I actually believe this is going to improve pages' organic reach."
According to a study by Mavrck, "User-generated content featuring a brand drove 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content."
Others are a bit more wary of the new policy.
The addition to Facebook's branded policy is concerning to influencers, and some have already seen its effect on their accounts.
Jessica Nigri is one of many who make a living with her cosplay on both Facebook and Instagram. With over 4.7 million followers on Facebook, she reports that she has seen reach on Facebook decrease dramatically since the new rollout of the branded content policy and algorithm changes.
Facebook's option to boost a post is one way that influencers can continue to organically reach their audience and honor their commitments to brands they have an agreement with. Brands pay to boost their post, turning this type of marketing into an ad versus how it was originally used before.
Facebook is now able to distinguish when an influencer posts an article, versus the original creator. So influencers beware: If you violate the policy too many times, your account will either have limited access to Facebook's monetization tools or, worse yet, you could lose access to it all together, costing you the business you've built off agreements to promote brands.
It's no secret many influencers have abandoned Facebook in favor of Instagram. However, considering Facebook owns Instagram, many feel it's only a matter of time until we see similar changes made to the way influencers are allowed to monetize their pages there.