It seems almost monthly now that Facebook makes some sort of tweak to its News Feed, with new rationale to improve the relevancy and quality of the content its users see. Now, Facebook is trying to alleviate “like-baiting” organic content from brand pages, which they consider to be in the realm of “spam.” While the continual algorithm tweaks are starting to blur together, this one in particular is certainly worth taking note of. Until now, this (directing likes, shares and comments) was seen as a general best practice among social media marketers, and even validated by data from 3rd party social analytics companies and studies on “effective” posting strategies; the general idea is that users respond to “direct” calls-to-action.
Unfortunately, per usual, abuse of this practice has led Facebook to crack the whip. And while Facebook’s example of said like-baiting is that of an annoying meme page, the new rules still apply to everyone. So while brands and agencies shouldn’t immediately cease the use of such language, content creators will definitely need to think a bit more strategically when crafting a particular message, specifically when dealing with any sort of promotion or user-generated contests where engagement actions are leveraged as facilitation mechanisms. These algorithmic modifications striving towards a Utopia of relevancy, in conjunction with clear indications of reach decline, are setting the stage for a new Facebook marketing environment that marketers should be preparing for, especially if it is currently the “hub” of your social ecosystem.