Yesterday, millions of Facebook users awoke to a tidal wave of Facebook email notifications. Every recent post, from every brand they’d ever followed, all eating up their data limits and causing an inbox nightmare.
Special thanks to Valerie from Nurture The Nest for assisting with screenshots for this article!
On each notification is a prompt for users to unsubscribe to email notifications for individual pages and a much smaller unsubscribe from all Facebook notifications too. So, what is the agenda, is this good or bad for business and how can you encourage your fans to love you more, not less in the wake of the notification flood?
Facebook’s never ending battle with newsfeed prioritisation
If there’s one thing Facbeook users don’t love, it’s filing. The “interest list” idea was awesome but it meant that users would need to file each page to a list, and then click that list to see the interest newsfeed. They just weren’t willing to go that far.
Then the “See First” option appeared – click of a button prioritisation for your most loved pages. It worked a bit better but relies heavily on page based education. So is this latest onslaught of “spam” to aid users to have a better experience or to force them to make choices? By providing bulk email notifications, it becomes simpler for users to “spring clean” their newsfeed or to simply unsubscribe to everything and then piece by piece, resubscribe. This seems like pretty bad news for business, right?
What’s actually changed?
The notifications you’ve traditionally subscribed to are those in your actual Facebook view. The new notifications are all about email notifications in your inbox. Annoying, yes. Lots of them, yes. Too many, absolutely… but unless you’ve already opted for a comprehensive list of notifications, this is new. You’re not losing access to inboxes you formerly had. In theory, this is a brand spanking new opportunity for business from Facebook.
In reality it’s going to cause most users to go to their personal settings and simply turn off all notifications. We already know that they don’t want to do any kind of admin on their page, and the chances of them going through, page by page and making a conscious decision to “opt in” to email notifications is unrealistic. Best case scenario, they unsubscribe to ALL notifications except the “important ones”.
So can business take advantage of this change?
For business, there are two ways to now make it into inboxes with every post but getting there and staying there will be the big challenge.
For followers that rely on their personal notification settings to unsubscribe to all email notifications (except a few key ones), they’ll find that their email notifications are dramatically reduced, including stuff they might want to see. The blanket email notification ban from pages will mean that it’s all or nothing. For most, they’ll choose “nothing”. They’ll still occasionally see you in their feed and their notifications bar but nothing much will change.
How to get the most from this update
For those users who rely on Facebook for shopping, who are highly engaged with the pages they love, for business owners actively keeping their Facebook network alive, it will be worth the manual subscribe/unsubscribe exercise. These are your key market anyway and the owners of the inboxes you want access to. It’s time to talk to these people directly. Here’s some strategies for staying in their inboxes!
1. You’re going to get in there at least once. Make it matter.
With slow roll out, it’s hard to know when you’re going to find your place in their inboxes. When you do though, take the chance to be the educator. Tell them why they need to stay subscribed to your page and your notifications. Tell them about the benefits of being a part of your page. Tell them why you’re worthy of that “inbox spot”.
Just like when the “See First” button rolled out, tell your audience what you want them to do. Tell them exactly how to opt out of emails the way you want them to do it. Encourage them to opt out of spam but keep your page in their notifications.
3. Rethink your posting
The big benefit of this roll out is that pages that “spam” with dozens of posts a day (for the sake of reach) will become annoying really fast. Put a plan together for carefully targeting your audience and delivering them with the best possible info for them – ONLY. Targeting isn’t great yet, it’s certainly not as comprehensive as ads but it does allow for you to publish only to subsets of your audience to avoid a spammy inbox.
4. Ask them to move to your mailing list instead
Tell them that if they want to keep getting the quality information or offers, but don’t want to go through the nightmare of cleaning out their notifications, they can simply click subscribe on your email list. A name on your list is worth so much more than a Facebook like! Everyone gets annoyed with Facebook updates, position yourself as providing the simple solution.
This isn’t an attack on business on Facebook, but rather a kick up the butt for users to manually clean out their feeds. It’s an opportunity knocking. Why not take it?