Facebook very recently announced that it’s cracking down on posts that are “fishing” for shares and likes. The social network calls this behavior “engagement baiting.” The announcement comes as the year ends so businesses can expect the crackdown to be in full swing by early next year. What exactly is engagement baiting and how will the Facebook ban affect small business social media campaigns on the platform? Read below for answers from Corporate Business Solutions based on information currently available:
What is Engagement Baiting?
It’s simply the term Facebook is using for certain spam-like tactics that some people use to game the social network’s algorithm. Facebook not so long ago began a crackdown on clickbait. Engagement baiting is a form of clickbait. It refers to those posts that desperately try to get people to like, share, comment, or tag their friends. For example, posts that urge users to “like if you are a cat person, share if you are a dog person,” or “tag a friend to get a chance to win a Mercedes” are considered engagement baiting. Some marketers use such tactics to drive engagement because of Facebook rewards posts with the most reach.
Facebook has updated its algorithm to demote Pages or users who try engagement baiting tactics. Facebook will punish violators by reducing the total reach on all posts, not just the offending post.
Good Engagement Baiting and Bad Engagement Baiting
Facebook does understand that sometimes users and Pages ask for likes and shares for legitimate reasons. The company is offering exemptions for posts that raise money for legitimate causes, reporting a missing child or are requesting travel tips.
The company is also offering a way for first-time engagement baiters to reform their ways. If offenders “behave good,” as in replace clickbait with high-quality content, then they will get the original reach back.
How Small Businesses Should Respond
The aim of the engagement bait crackdown is to reduce the amount of spam on Facebook, such as posts linking back to websites full of ads. It’s also aiming to stifle the spread of misinformation on the social network. Small businesses should keep these facts in mind when trying to drive engagement on Facebook from now on.
Brands and companies should produce high-quality content for Facebook that genuinely makes the target audience interested in liking or sharing. Do not beg for likes or shares as shown in the examples above. Instead, use catchy headlines or interesting commentary to drive engagement. Using influencers to share or like posts is a good way to drive engagement without risking engagement baiting. However, these are generic recommendations. Request one of our Corporate Business Solutions Reviews to learn more about how to specifically improve your company’s social media reach.