Facebook are clamping down on Pages and individuals asking their followers to like, share or comment on their content., also known as Engagement bait. This is a great move from Facebook, as navigating your Feed will be a lot smoother.

This doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to kick-start conversations on the social network anymore, just that this will have to be done in a more intelligent and authentic way.

Facebook claims that users are not happy with what they consider to be spammy posts, asking them to “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!”. In the hopes of keeping engagement more authentic, Zuck’s team will start penalising pages that use this tactic to increase their visibility.  in their blog post, the internet giant pointed out that authenticity is one of their key News Feed values.

 

But what is engagement bait?

Facebook marketers learned a long time ago that higher user engagement helps Pages get more visibility on the social media platform, leading some to manipulate the social network’s algorithms.

Engagement bait is content that explicitly encourages people to take an action on a post (or vote through reactions), comment (as well as tag their friends in the comments) and share their publications on their News Feeds. This generates a snowball effect as a post’s Reach increases, more people engage with the post… you get the drill.

Image: Facebook

 

These posts will not be excluded from the News Feed but instead rank low in the algorithm. In addition, Facebook Pages that use this tactic continually will get all of their posts demoted. However, if you’re asking for recommendations and tips, or running a fundraiser, you will not be affected by this.

 

Where does this leave you?

Facebook’s message is pretty clear here. If you want your posts to do “well”, you have two choices: create amazing content that resonates with your community (asking for tips on how to build a wardrobe is OK, asking your followers to tag someone on a meme is a no-no), and boost your posts through paid promotions to increase your reach and engagement. No tricking their algorithm!

If you run contests on your Facebook page in order to increase your reach and engagement, the rules remain the same as before: you cannot ask your followers to share your post or tag their friends to enter the competition. Like or comments-based sweepstakes should not be affected though. The key to increasing your engagement is, again, to keep the giveaway relevant to your community (promoting it won’t hurt either).

Facebook will roll this out slowly in the coming few weeks, allowing time for marketers to reassess their social media strategy, so get moving.