Facebook is at it again. Just when you have it figured out, they decide to make drastic changes. Last week Facebook announced that “like-baiting” will decrease your post’s reach. According to Facebook, “like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive.” Overall, a Facebook page’s rankings increase when fans engage with the content. This means that the more people like, comment, and share your posts, the more often your posts will appear in fans’ newsfeeds.
I am all for making the user experience better and stopping spam. I also agree that the ludicrous like, share, comment posts that have little value need to stop. At the same time, Facebook’s new algorithm adjustments mean that businesses that are simply creating quality, useful calls to action are now unable to direct their audience on how to interact. This is frustrating, as we know that it’s most effective to give a call to action. Given that our content is judged by engagement, we work to get people to interact with our posts.
Because of this new announcement and the fact that pages will be penalized if they are caught like-baiting, we have had to adjust our approach to posting. We are also testing new things and participating in the larger conversation online. Soon, there will likely be statistics released to help us understand consequences for pages that continue calls to action. For now, here is our approach to like-baiting changes on Facebook for clients:
1. Create calls to action that do not use the words “Like, Share or Comment”.
Right now, we are not aware if using the word “Click” is an issue. As a company we are testing “click” calls to actions against non-click calls to action to see what the results are.
2. Once per week we are testing a post with a “Like, Share, or Comment” call to action.
We are hoping to get a better idea of what happens with engagement when we use these words. Doing test posts will allow us to see if they are getting the same initial “play” as other posts and how serious Facebook is with their new directives.
3. Continue to curate and create content that our audiences will interact with.
Social media success is about reaching your target audience by providing information that they find valuable and want to share. This has not changed. Our goal is to get in the newsfeed and stay there. To do this, we create quality, relevant content that becomes part of the newsfeed. Our goal is not to be outsiders constantly promoting and sounding like a business. Social media is about being personal and connected. This has NOT changed.
4. Ask questions to get people commenting.
Again, you need to share content that people want to interact with and ask the right questions. Be creative in how you ask. Say things like: What do you think? How do you manage this? Where do you shop? Etc. Etc.
5. Promote strategic posts.
Facebook is quickly becoming a pay-to-play platform. Be prepared to promote a post or two each week at minimum to increase interaction and stay in the game over time. We build strategy for every client about what to promote, how often and for how much money. With the right strategy you will get results.
6. Create and write down your Facebook marketing strategy.
If you do not have a written strategy, write down exactly what you do. Then, assess what needs adjusting. It is amazing how much more effective you can be when your strategy is written down. This is a living document, so be prepared to adjust it frequently.
7. Test, Test, Test.
The only way to figure out what works is to test your posts, and then adjust once you see the results. Your strategy needs to be flexible and you need to be able to adapt when necessary. When we heard the news about the “Like-Baiting” we spent about two minutes being unhappy, as we are not spammers and we create great content! We immediately strategized on how to adjust our approach and we will continue to make changes as we go.
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