December 26, 2017 ByCheryl Dykstra
Facebook is switching up its algorithm once again, and this time it’s going to start lowering the reach for posts that use “engagement bait.”
According to Facebook, “Engagement bait is a tactic to create Facebook posts that goad people into interacting, through likes, shares, comments, and other actions, in order to artificially boost engagement and get greater reach on News Feed.”
Here are a few examples of engagement bait…
Facebook's example of react baiting is a post that says, "LIKE this if you're an Aries or LOVE this if you're a Leo to find TRUE LOVE!!!" This post is obviously spammy, and would likely not be missed at the top of the News Feed.
However, you’ll need to be careful about asking your fans to like any post moving forward, no matter the topic.
Facebook defines comment baiting as asking for people to comment with a specific answer. The example they provide is, "Comment 'YES' if you love rock as much as I do."
Moving forward, posing questions on your posts will be fine as long as you don’t dictate the answer.
This one is pretty obvious – don’t ask your followers to share your posts. Whether it’s for a contest or a motivational quote, you should no longer ask people to share your posts, at least not spelled out like that.
Facebook wants people to share posts they want to share with others, not because they could win an iPad.
These posts ask people to tag their friend in the comments. The example Facebook gave was "Tag friends who look like her. If enough people comment, I get to keep the painting!" Notice that the linked article doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the image and therefore it is clearly misleading.
These posts became more popular with the addition of the different react options Facebook introduced this year. They encourage people to vote on something using reactions or comments.
In Facebook's example, followers are invited to vote for their 2018 goals (get a promotion/find love/be fitter/move cities) by reacting with one of four emojis.
Why Is Facebook Making This Change?
Just like click bait, many engagement bait posts are misleading, sensational and/or spammy. What Facebook claims to be doing with this update is reduce the spread of this type of spammy content in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.
For example, if there really was a Page related to astrological signs, instead of asking fans to “LIKE this if you’re an Aries,” they could ask what their favorite Aries character trait is. Instead of receiving empty likes on the post, the page will hopefully garner more authentic engagement.
1. Facebook warns that Pages that repeatedly and systematically use engagement bait as a tactic will be demoted more than individual posts from people and Pages with engagement bait.
2. They also say that they won’t be demoting posts that ask users to share the alert for a missing child, or ask to raise money for a cause, or seek advice.
3. The last noteworthy point Facebook makes is that they can’t yet address brands that use these tactics outside of Facebook. For example, if you ask people to like your Page in an email or in your store in order to receive a special offer, Facebook can’t stop you. It’s only if you ask for the like in your Facebook post that they will demote it.
This brand new policy will surely have an impact in lowering engagement for Pages that continuously use engagement bait tactics. This change could be good though for companies who use Facebook to tell genuine stories and promote authentic engagement. With more spammy Pages losing positioning, that’s more opportunity for the good guys to get ahead.
If you need help with Facebook or any other marketing strategies for growing your business, call Sales & Marketing Technologies today at (407) 682-2222 for a free consultation with one of our marketing experts.