Facebook Declares War on Engagement Bait

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Do you hate seeing Engagement Bait on Facebook and other social media platforms?

If you’re unsure what engagement bait is, it is posts that try to boost engagement by asking users to like, share or comment on a post.

You know those posts that say things like:

“Facebook has yet another new algorithm. It seems like I only see the same small handful of my friends on my newsfeed anymore……..so I’m doing a simple check, with your help.

Can you do me a quick favour??

If you’re seeing this, leave me a comment – just a quick “Hey” or your favourite emoji would be great. The more interaction you have with people, the more friends will show up on your feed.

Otherwise Facebook CHOOSES who you see.

This is true for EVERYONE. Thank you- I would really appreciate it because I don’t want to see the same five articles all the time. I also don’t want to miss what is going on in all my friends lives

Please copy and paste to your own wall so you can have more interaction as well!”

People and pages post “engagement bait” to try and take advantage of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm which typically gives more organic reach to posts with higher engagement.

But it is a strategy that is about to cease working…

Image of Engagement Bait on Facebook

The Death of Engagement Bait

People have told Facebook how they dislike seeing spammy posts that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions and they have decided to take action.

Having reviewed and categorised hundreds of thousands of posts, Facebook has tools in place to detect different types of engagement bait.

From this week onwards, Facebook will be demoting posts from people and pages that use engagement bait, meaning these posts will be shown less in News Feed.

Facebook will also begin implementing stricter demotions for Pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to try and artificially gain reach in News Feed.

Facebook says they will “continue to find ways to improve and scale our efforts to reduce engagement bait.”

So, what should you do instead?

In simple terms? Create content that is valuable for the audience you are trying to attract (and remember that the quality of audience is more important than the size!)

A great place to start is by remembering Facebook’s three publishing principles:

Publisher Principle 1: People on Facebook Value Content That’s Meaningful and Informative

News Feed is designed to connect people to the stories they care about most.

If you want to get more engagement on your posts then post stuff your audience cares about.

Facebook says: “We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about, but we are in the business of connecting people with the stories they find most meaningful. Publishers should ideally focus on what they do best; making the important and meaningful stories interesting to their audience.”

Publisher Principle 2: People on Facebook Value Accurate, Authentic Content

Nobody wants to see fake news or unreliable information on Facebook. If you want to build your audience you MUST be authentic.

Facebook is constantly trying to understand more about the stories people want to see and which ones are switching them off. Content that people find misleading, sensational and spammy will be demoted and achieve minimal organic reach.

Publisher Principle 3: People on Facebook Value Standards for Safe, Respectful Behaviour

Every day, people are using Facebook to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues that are important to them.

Let’s face it, not everybody agrees and this is especially true on issues they care deeply about.

Facebook knows users will have different opinions, but it also has to ensure it provides a safe environment that respects the needs, safety and interests of a diverse community.

Facebook has developed a set of global community standards that explain what type of content is and isn’t allowed, which cover everything from nudity to bullying to graphic content.

For more on Facebook’s community standards, visit: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards

You need to focus on social, not media

I’ve said it many times, but too businesses are still making the mistake of thinking Facebook is just another advertising platform. It’s NOT!

Facebook is about community. In other words it is about social connection.

If you’re running a business and using Facebook to grow that business, my advice is DON’T ADVERTISE, ADD VALUE.