Following on from our previous post on the Facebook algorithm changes (we’d recommend you read this first), we wanted to talk about something that has cropped up in conversations more and more. What we’re talking about is people asking if they should be doing things like surveys and polls (examples below) to try and get more likes on their posts.

The logic behind these posts is that if you run a vote on one of your posts (like to vote for option a, love to vote option b etc), Facebook will see that your posts are getting really good engagement, and be more likely to show your future posts to more people.

The thing is, however, people (on the whole) don’t like spammy posts like these. In December 2017 Facebook announced that it was going to be making moves to actively demote the visibility of pages who systematically/regularly adopt these methods to increase the engagement on their pages.

Here's just a few examples of bad behaviour on Facebook…

- Like and share this post to be in with a chance of winning
- Tag a friend who looks like this picture
- Tag a friend who might love this product
- ‘Like’ to vote A, ‘Love’ to vote B

Ultimately, if most of your page content is either link, or comment bait, then you’re likely going to land in hot water. Moves like this could suggest that social media marketing is heading the same way as ‘SEO’ did - where there are standards, rules and best practices that need to be adhered to.

This however, just the same as SEO, isn’t a huge issue for brands that conduct themselves properly online. Brands who concentrate on producing amazing content, and give the followers a great experience on Facebook (and other platforms) are never going to fall foul of rules like these. Facebook (and Google before them) have always had user experience at their core and these changes do nothing more than help to reduce the spammy content in your newsfeed - and who doesn’t want that?

Does this mean I can never run competitions?

There are no hard and fast rules here. Quite like with SEO, we can all read and interpret the best practice guidelines but there is a level of interpretation needed here. If you were a company that's doing well from running competitions on Facebook; we’re not going to tell you to stop. What we would say however is if every single one of your posts is a competition, or something that would be considered link or comment bait, then we’d be worried.

Naturally, if you’re managing to grow your social following organically without these tactics then that’s amazing, but if you are using them as part of your tool kit maybe aim to keep the percentage of posts going this below say 10%. Ensuring that your other posts are also fantastic, helpful and informative and attracting likes, shares and comments will help you to appear more genuine to Facebook and its algorithms.

Our take on the changes

We’re an agency who likes to play by the rules, and will always encourage people to be good brand citizens and follow the rules, so we’d always be advocates of doing the right thing and not trying to cheat the system. Just because you can get away with something now, doesn't mean that Facebook won’t come down harder on it in the future.

Slightly tongue in cheek, but we’d love you to share and post this article on your social media channels! If you’re interested in reading more about this then you can find the Facebook announcement here: