When it comes to growing your online community, sometimes the easiest way to go about it is by asking for what you want. Consumers are more likely to act when they’re prompted to do so. As a result, marketers know that a good campaign always includes a prominent call-to-action. However, you don’t want to abuse your influence by asking for something you don’t actually need.
Calls-to-action, just like your messaging, should always provide value for those who participate. So while uploading a photo of a rabbit to your Facebook Page and asking people to like or share it might increase your daily engagement, what value is it actually providing those who interact with it? More importantly, outside of a temporary engagement spike, what is your brand taking away from it?
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has made it so engagement plays a much bigger role in determining your posts’ reach. A post with a lot of Likes, comments, and shares has a better chance of being seen by more people than a post with only a handful of engagement metrics. Because of this, we’ve seen a rise in like-baiting and other tricks from Pages to try and game the system.
The social network is now taking action against “spammy” posts that deliberately game News Feed to get better distribution. Facebook has announced a series of improvements to reduce these stories. Most Pages shouldn’t be negatively impacted by these changes. In fact, some might see a small increase in News Feed distribution. Here are a few of the tactics that you’ll want to avoid using on Facebook.
Like-baiting is defined as a post that explicitly asks News Feed readers to Like, comment, or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive organically. While these posts might generate a lot of action, they’re much less relevant than other stories with a comparable number of Likes, comments, and shares. Over time, stories like these lead to a less enjoyable Facebook experience, drowning out content from Pages that people really care about.
The social network has made improvements so it’s better able to detect these kinds of stories and ensure that they’re not shown more prominently in News Feed. Rest assured that this update will not impact Pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion among fans. Instead it will focus on Pages that frequently post asking for Likes, comments, and shares like the one pictured on Facebook’s announcement.
Frequently Circulated Content
It’s okay to reshare important content, but there are some instances where photos or videos are uploaded to Facebook over and over again. Not only do people tend to find repeated content less relevant, but they’re also more likely to complain about the Pages that frequently post them. Facebook is now working to actively de-emphasize these Pages, and early testing showed that this improvement caused people to hide 10 percent fewer stories from Pages overall.
By measuring how often people on Facebook who visit a link choose to Like the original post or share that post, the social network has been able to better detect spammy links. Sometimes marketers rely on inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that only contains ads. This week’s update will reduce spammy links in News Feed. Early testing showed a 5 percent increase in people clicking on links that take them off of Facebook.
Publishers engaging in these activities will see their distribution decrease over the next few months. These improvements ensure that spam doesn’t drown out the content that people really want to see from Pages they care about. So what steps can you take to help your content strategy on Facebook? You can start by aligning your content with your overall goals. Just as it’s important to know your objectives in advertising, it’s also beneficial to know why you’re posting and how a specific piece of content will help you achieve your goals.
Additionally, do encourage conversations on your Facebook posts, and make sure that you return the engagement by replying to people’s comments. You can also use hashtags within your posts or comments. Doing so could help your content appear in more Graph Search results based on specific keywords. And finally, be sure that you can justify frequent updates. If something is so important that you think you need to share it multiple times, maybe consider alternative approaches, such as a Promoted Post, to boost your reach.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.