If you are responsible for a brand’s social media pages, you are most likely aware that Facebook is gradually becoming less brand-friendly through recent algorithm shifts. That is, brands who aren’t forking out hundreds of pounds on advertising and instead rely on organic growth.
In its latest significant move, Facebook has began clamping down on like-baiting posts that encourage users to engage with a page with spammy, and just downright annoying, tactics. You’re probably already familiar with such underhand moves from your own timeline being bombarded with posts as ridiculous as the following extreme example Facebook has provided:
Bleugh, I almost threw up. I’m happy to say I’ve never experienced anything quite as bad as the above, but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen more than it should.
In recent months, Facebook made an algorithm change that altered the way brand content appeared on timelines, which involved prioritising posts that received the most engagement based on the type of content, i.e posts with images are more likely to remain high up on a timeline as opposed to text-based posts. In this way, Facebook is actually becoming more like Google in how it ranks Pages (Edge Rank) – time to get your SEO hat on.
Unfortunately, even brands who really go to the effort to create unique, relevant and engaging content might not even make the cut on their followers’ timelines, as not only is engagement being valued as a ranking priority – so are the posts that have been promoted most with paid-for advertising. That’s all well and good for companies with large social media budgets, but sadly those without are going to have to really put the time in to compete with paying brands for the top space on timelines.
In some respects, this is a great way of encouraging brands to make the effort to try and engage with their followers, however it also encourages some Pages to go overboard with spammy like-baiting content. These desperate attempts to receive engagement and rank highly on timelines are now being dealt with and Pages responsible are being penalised.
Now, unless your Page is creating content as sickening as the example provided, then you have nothing to worry about. Facebook has openly declared that it won’t be penalising brands who are genuinely making a conscious effort to engage with their followers, it’s just the spam that we’ll (hopefully) be saying goodbye to.
Hoorah! I can now scroll through my timeline of thought-provoking selfies and relationship status updates without getting spammed. Sweet joy.
I personally think this is a step in the right for direction, although I will continue to roll my eyes at the growing prioritisation on promoted content. But at the end of the day, Facebook is a business just like any other, and businesses need to make money. As annoying as all the new rules and regulations for brands may be, it’s worth bearing in mind that Facebook never wanted to go in this direction – it avoided advertising for a fair while before seeing the opportunity of brand involvement and aimed itself entirely at consumers, so it makes sense that they are trying to keep it as user-friendly as possible.
At the end of the day, if users are getting turned off from Facebook because of all the annoying brand and spam posts, there goes your audience! So keep them happy by keeping Facebook happy. And if you’re a lazy brand Page that relies heavily on spammy content to get engagement, you probably deserve to be penalised. Just saying.