Facebook made a subtle, but important change to its product Pages on Tuesday. Pages can now tag other pages in their Facebook posts, which means that brands can extend their reach on Facebook by tagging other brands or pages. For instance, if you don’t “like” a brand like Pepsi, but Pepsi has tagged someone that you do “like,” the Pepsi post will show up in your feed. The sample post was a Bleacher Report piece that tagged Houston Rockets players; though users don’t necessarily like Bleacher Report, if they do like James Harden, the post showed up. The goal here is to reach, and thereafter capture, users they might not have previously had access to.
But Facebook is doing its job of making sure that the cross-pollination is natural. It won’t be allowing Twitter-like tactics of brand interaction and simply hopping onto zeitgeist-y trends for the sake of growth hacking. Facebook is actively discouraging such behavior by punishing brands: the post won’t be seen by those who follow the tagged page if the post isn’t related to the page the brand has tagged. For now, Facebook isn’t showing whether the algorithm is catching the post as unrelated, so brands are going to have to go out of their way to make sure they do the right thing. The moral of the story is: if you want to expand your reach on Facebook through this method, do it right, or Facebook’s algorithms will show you the consequences.