Earlier this week Facebook announced some significant changes to the formula (or algorithm) it uses to determine how it will distribute your business Page posts to your fans. Facebook’s survival depends on delivering a positive user experience—all of the time—which is why it has made these changes. Why does this matter? Because you want to avoid posting the type of update that Facebook has now determined will reach fewer people. It can be a bit confusing, so here’s a quick and easy explanation of Facebook’s new click-bait rules and how you can amend your posts for better reach:
DON’T Post A Link to Content Without Descriptions or Explanations
I’m talking about posts that contain links without helpful descriptions or explanations of the content they point to. We’ve all seen these and they can be both boring and downright annoying, with such lead-ins as “you’ll never believe what happened next…” or “A man walked into his house and found this…” Here’s an example: Why this is a “don’t”: As Facebook users, we generally click on links that promise to take us to surprising, thought provoking, or useful content, right? But if that promise isn’t fulfilled, and if the content is something we would never choose to read, we are left unsatisfied…even frustrated. Not a great user experience, which Facebook’s research confirms. Unfortunately, these kinds of click-bait posts actually perform well in the newsfeed. That’s because most of us just can’t resist the urge to find out “what happens next.” Facebook uses the amount of link clicks as an important metric in determining post reach, so these types of posts can end up dominating the newsfeed. But who wants a newsfeed filled with nothing but lame content? Not me! DO post links that tell the user what to expect.
Don’t Post Updates Containing Links And Images, But No Link Preview
Posts that contain images, get more clicks, right? So what’s wrong with this? While this type of post may get a lot of photo clicks, the photo on its own does not have much value in Facebook’s algorithms. Moreover, users don’t seem to be compelled to click on the accompanying link, according to its research. Too many of these types of posts can produce a newsfeed full of lots of pretty pictures, but not much valuable content. Again, not a great user experience DO post your link with the auto-generated preview, like this:
The Bottom Line
Facebook wants you to respect your fans. When people “Like” your Page, they are inviting you and your business into their newsfeeds. It’s sort of like being invited over to hang out. Provide your fans with the content they want and need. And do it in a way that doesn’t “trick” them to click. Keep this in mind: Best practices on Facebook are the same best practices for all your Social Media. FYI: Just last week I became very annoyed by the click-bait posts that were appearing in my newsfeed, mostly from one particular Page. I planned to un-like the Page this week, but I just checked it again. Guess what? No more click-bait!
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