How to Exploit New Facebook Rule to Yield Viral Exposure

THIS IS NOT A DRILL!  Listen up!

Facebook has come out with a new concept called Branded Content.  Branded content is now required to ONLY come from verified pages (blue checkmark) and you must tag the brand you are mentioning in your post.  Branded content is defined as ‘content that features a third party product, brand, or sponsor ("marketer").’  (source)

You may be asking 'Wait, what are we talking about here?'

What this means is that if I wanted to post an article about my favorite kid’s toothpaste, I would be required to tag Tom’s of Maine in my post.  Tom’s of Maine would receive a notice that I was talking about them.  They would also have access to performance insights like reach and engagement for my post about them.  They would then have the option to boost that post on their Facebook page.  They would not, however, have the ability to change the post.

This seems somewhat inconvenient and advantageous at the same time.  On one hand, I can only tag one brand at a time.  For instance, if I wrote an article about 3 top stock photo sites, I would not be allowed to share it on Facebook since you cannot use 3 different brand tags at the same time.  As a person who likes to write list articles, this is irritating.  On the other hand, if I write 3 different articles about each stock photo site and link them accordingly, these posts could get picked up by the brands and then shared and boosted to their (presumably larger) networks.  My posts could go viral!  Think of the possibilities!

So, you are probably asking yourself, how do I go about doing this 'branded content' thing?

Well, it seems pretty simple.  There will be a tool on your page that looks like this:

  • Click the handshake button and then type the name of the brand you are mentioning (much like a tag on your personal page).  If you are creating an ad with your content, you would see a “sponsor” field under advanced options of Ads Manager and Power Editor.  You can add the tag to photos, videos, links, text, Instant Articles, and 360 videos. Live videos are not able to be tagged yet, but that will roll out eventually.  

  •  Your post will appear in the News Feed as usual with the tag attached, just like the photo below.  

  • Your insights will be found with all of your other posts just the same as always.  Hopefully, your post does well or peaks the interest of the brand you mention.  

So, that doesn’t look too scary, but what will the Brand who is tagged see?  

The brands will be able to see reach and engagement for the posts they are tagged in.  If you create an ad with the content, the brand will also be able to see the total spend and CPM of the post as well.  They then can choose to 'Share and Boost' the post. They will not simply be able to share it freely. They will have to pay Facebook, just like an ad.  You will then receive a notification that your post was shared and boosted.  If that happens to me, you better bet I will be doing a happy dance!

While the brand can share your awesome content, they WILL NOT be able to alter it in any way before boosting it, but I would imagine if they liked 98% of your content but wanted something changed, they might contact you to ask for a rewrite that they like more.  I don’t know about you, but I would be willing to rewrite/repost content if it meant that the brand would be boosting it!  Here is an example of what information the brand will see.

OH!  One more thing….

The content that you publish with the branded content should not be overly promotional.  It needs to be integrated smoothly and not outright salesy.  A full description of the policy can be found here.  If you are using it as an ad, then obviously it has no restrictions other than the usual ad guidelines.  It appears that Facebook also wants you to indicate that the post is an ad possibly by using an indicator like a hashtag (#ad) or something like that. Also, the branded content will go through a review process.  This Branded Content facebook article states,  

Just like all content on Facebook, branded content will go through a review process. We will be enforcing the usage of the tagging functionality, along with compliance with updated Pages terms and ads policy, for all branded content posts on all verified Pages (with the blue checkmark). We will begin ramping up enforcement over the next few weeks to remove non-compliant branded content or disapprove ads for lack of compliance.

Wondering why the handshake icon is not on your page yet?  It looks like it is a slow roll out just like live streaming was with top of the internet food chain profiles getting priority and receiving the handshake icon (Lady Gaga and Intel were used as an example in the article explaining branded content, so you get the idea) and then lower level profiles getting it last.  


I am very excited about this development because it means that brands are going to be more aware of the ‘little guys’ who love their products or services.  For example, Nike knows about all the athletes they pay as spokespeople, but they can become aware of the mommy fitness blogger who raves about their sports bras.  

While I am excited and ready to use this development to my advantage, there are a few things I have questions about:

  • What happens to unverified pages?  Can they still share third party brands on their pages?  If they are not supposed to and get ‘in trouble’, what happens?      

  • Will I have to ask the brand permission to post about them?

  • If the brand doesn’t like what I publish about them, can they make me remove it?

  • When live video acquires the tagging feature, will I have to use it if I mention them at all while speaking?  If so, does that mean I need to be careful to only mention one brand in a live broadcast?

As I learn the answers to these questions, I will keep you updated!  Happy Blogging!