Just because someone else is does it, it doesn’t mean you should!
You’ve heard that line from you parents and it’s just as true now as it was when you first heard it and it’s certainly true when it comes to social media marketing.
One tactic that you see often on social media to gain free reach and engagement is called “Engagement Baiting.” This tactic has many different forms but the idea is that you’re trying to get someone sort of interaction from your audience without giving them any real value.
Types of Engagement Bait
In a press release from Facebook they talk about five main types of engagement bait each of which Facebook discourages (more on that later).
The first type is vote baiting. This is where a page posts different options via text or picture and asks their fans to vote on the option they want by using a specific reaction (like, love, wow, haha). Similar to vote baiting is reaction baiting where the posts specifically asks people to like the post or love the post if they match a certain category or agree with something specific.
Share baiting is another popular strategy used. This is where the posts asks you to share it to get entered into a contest or something similar.
FInally, there is tag baiting and comment baiting. Both of these are getting you to tag a friend or comment on the post explicit for no real reason.
Why Engagement Bait is Bad?
Facebook’s goal is to keep it’s users on the platform. These versions of engagement bait try to trick the Facebook Algorithm into sharing posts more often which don’t really add any value and in reality hurt the viewing experience of most users. Many marketers use these tactics because they get short term results but in the long run Facebook learns and adapts to stop this kind of low level marketing.
In it’s press release Facebook specifically says, “Publishers and other businesses that use engagement bait tactics in their posts should expect their reach on these posts to decrease. Meanwhile, Pages that repeatedly share engagement bait posts will see more significant drops in reach.”
This announcement from Facebook about engagement bait was released BEFORE Facebook’s most recent algorithm new which stated that they are even more focused on developing meaning conversations on the platform. With the latest news from Facebook it’s very likely that engagement baiting would be punished in the algorithm even more harshly.
What Should You Do?
FIrst, never use language in your Facebook posts that specifically asks people to engage in a very low level way. Secondly, focus your Facebook posts on creating real engagement that will add value to your audience’s Facebook experience.
When you’re planning out your Facebook posts remember that you’re having a conversation with your friends not just pushing a product or service. Social media needs to be SOCIAL. Marketing online takes more then a quick post. You need to be strategic and have a plan for how to lead your audience down a marketing funnel.