Is Facebook Developing a Phobia for Human Curiosity?

Or is the social media prodigy simply trying to manage it?

click-baitIt’s no secret that internet users are gullible and easily distracted by catchy headlines – also known as click-baiting.  This human curiosity is the reason that websites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy are so successful, regardless of the quality of their content.  More clicks means more reach.  This appears to be why Facebook recently announced that their latest effort to keep your news feed less “spammy” will be to discourage the practice of click-baiting.  This piggy-backs off of their April announcement to ban “like-baiting” (asking directly for fans to like an image or post) in order to start providing more relevant content to users. While Buzzfeed might not be thrilled about this latest announcement, the reality is that this decision could positively impact your brand, provided that you follow their rules of engagement!

What does Facebook consider click-bait? Any link published with a “headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see” is considered click-bait. Facebook will determine what is click-bait and what is valuable content in two ways:

  1. How long they spent away from Facebook reading the article.  If they spend a decent amount of time reading it before they come back, then you’re posting relevant content.
  2. The ratio of engagement (likes, comments, shares) to clicks.  Lots of clicks, but no likes? You’re probably posting click-bait.

If you’re not following these rules, then your content distribution will start to drop, according to Facebook.

How else are they going to impact my posting strategy?clickbaiting
Formatting is part two of their announcement. Are you embedding your links when you create content or are you just posting a bitly url? Because if you’re doing the latter, prepare to be penalized when it comes to organic content reach.  Facebook is going to start “prioritizing” links that are embedded over links that aren’t as a caveat to discourage click-baiting.

So…what should I be doing to increase my brand’s content reach on Facebook?

First of all, if you’re not embedding your links on Facebook, that’s the first thing you should be doing. Keep an eye on your Facebook Insights to see what topics are a hit with your fans and which ones are a dud.  There’s a difference between inspiring your fans with content that is relevant and playing on human gullibility to increase clicks on your links. Second, don’t just publish links without any context around why they matter. Fans won’t read anything you suggest without compelling motivation.  Offer a taste of what the article is about and how it is impactful instead.  This will help increase your clicks-to-engagement conversion, which will increase the overall visibility of your content. If you have concerns about how your brand could be impacted by this change, shoot me an email at Happy posting!

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