As you’ve probably already heard, Facebook is changing things up again. For most people, these changes are greatly appreciated, but to some, they are causing concern. What are these changes? And as an online marketer, should you be worried? Read on to find out:

If you have spent any time at all on Facebook this past year, you’re sure to have seen the increasing amount of ‘engagement bait’ posts, whether you’ve realized it or not. They’ve taken over newsfeeds everywhere goading and guilting their viewers into performing some type of action, such as liking, commenting, sharing, or all three. At first, they seemed kind of fun, but the novelty soon wore off as Facebook users realized that these types of posts were only really there to help boost a person’s or page’s reach and popularity. Regardless, the posts kept coming and eventually took over our timelines, and we rarely saw anything we really came to Facebook for – news from our friends and families, and informative, authentic content.

Now Facebook has stepped in and instead of rewarding these people and pages, they are demoting posts (and pages) that include ‘Engagement Bait’.

What Is Engagement Bait?

According to Facebook’s News Feed Publisher Guidelines, 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. They go on to list 5 different examples of the types of posts that might fall into this category:

Vote Baiting – These are posts that ask for you to vote by using a like (or other reaction), a share or a comment.

React Baiting – These posts ask you to like or share if you agree with them. Many of them use terms like “Share if you agree!!” or  “Like if you agree!!” to encourage this.

Share Baiting – Similar to react baiting, share bait posts instruct the viewer to share the post to show agreement or to participate in some type of contest.

Tag Baiting – Tag bait posts instruct the follower to tag a friend either in the picture or the comments. For example: “Tag someone who loves coffee!!

Comment Baiting – This is a tactic usually used by pages holding a contest to increase engagement. While they do not ask you to tag your friends, they do ask you to comment in order to participate.

 

How will the new Facebook posting guidelines affect you?

Honestly, if you have been using your social media presence for your business correctly, these changes won’t impact you much at all. The whole point of this new algorithm change is to reduce content from individuals and fan pages that is considered spammy, misleading, or sensational in order to promote more authentic and meaningful conversations. If your content has been focusing on building relationships through content that is helpful and informative, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. However, if you’ve been using any of the engagement bait tactics used above, now is the time to change your social media marketing methods.

Pro Tip: For Internet Marketers, social media is often the best representation of who we are as marketers and people. If you don’t want to be seen as a spammer, don’t post spammy content!

From this point forward, make a conscious effort to put some thought into the content you are delivering to your followers on Facebook. Is it helpful? Is it truthful? Is it real? Does it reflect your values as a person and as a business? People respond the most to authenticity. And they do business with people they know, like, and trust. If you continuously strive to promote an authentic, trustworthy brand your audience will respect that, and you, making there no reason to use engagement bait or clickbait in your marketing at all. Doing so will not only lessen your followers’ opinions of you, but it will also decrease the likelihood that you will be seen at all.

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