Facebook Announces They Will Target “Like-Bait”
Facebook’s announcement of a move to clean up the newsfeed and improve user experience will affect how brands effectively engage on Facebook. Brand posts that explicitly ask for “likes,” comments, or shares will be less likely to appear in users’ newsfeeds. This article will explore what this change means for marketers and how this reflects a greater shift in the way brands use social media.
The Bigger Meaning We Should Be Getting From This
Although the practice of asking for engagement is commonplace for brands, the announcement should spur further thought about the effectiveness of these strategies in the first place and a deeper assessment of why marketers use social media and what we want to get out of the channel.
Why Marketers Want to Understand Facebook’s Algorithm
The proliferation of brand pages has lead to marketers fighting for attention in the newsfeed. And not everyone will be a winner. If users got every single piece of content posted by their friends and the pages they follow, they would be inundated with information. Since it’s Facebook’s job to make sure the user experience is top notch to keep people using the site, they must try to filter content and only show what is most important.
How To Show Up In The Newsfeed
Facebook’s algorithm, (previously known as Edgerank) determines what shows up in users’ newsfeeds. Marketers understood that the number of likes, shares, and comments increased the likelihood of a post appearing in users’ newsfeeds. With organic reach declining, marketers have gotten increasingly focused on how to make sure we’re still reaching our audience(s). So we’ve responded by testing and analyzing data to determine how to get the most likes, comments, and shares. The answer was pretty simple: explicitly ask for it.
Why I Never Liked “Like-Bait”
There’s a couple reasons why asking for engagement tends to make me uncomfortable as a social media strategist/community manager:
- • It feels cheap
- • It feels a little pathetic
- • I want to earn engagement, not beg for it
- • It can look desperate (especially if your posts don’t get much engagement in the first place)
- • I feel like I can do better than that
Asking for engagement it is a move to reach the biggest audience while potentially sacrificing the quality of the brand experience. Marketers who focus on quality and authentic engagement aren’t as concerned with likes, comments, and shares. They know there’s a greater purpose and that’s why they get a better ROI. For companies who understand the value of brand equity, creating authentic, superior brand experiences is more important. Developing deeper connections to create lasting relationships means more than reaching everyone at once with a weak message. Strong brands create content that is so good it attracts unrequested likes, comments, and shares. Strong brands with high quality content are the ultimate winners because they understand that the object of the game was never to get likes, comments, or shares. It’s to create meaningful connections with consumers.
This Is A Flashback for Experienced Marketers
What this essentially boils down to is a classic fight for consumer attention between brands and all the other noise in consumers’ lives. This is nothing new. Social media isn’t a drastically new marketing form; it’s simply a new channel. This is good news for experienced marketers who might feel overwhelmed by the fast-paced, constantly evolving social media environment. Chances are, you were a marketer long before the rise of social media. If you want to succeed in the social media environment, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you just need to think about the fight for eyeballs in all other mediums. With the help of an agency, you can apply your existing knowledge and expertise to the social media channel. Your job is to be the master of your brand; the agency’s job is to translate this knowledge to the social media environment. It’s a knockout punch.
Stay tuned for next week’s article, which will provide actionable tips for executives who want to excel in the maturing social media environment.