Only the other day, we were checking over our Facebook news feed and we came across something we thought would be useful to us. We clicked on the link but we were not taken to the website or the story we thought it was. In all honesty, the page we landed on was a little ‘risqué’, not to our taste at all. Neither was it about content marketing, as we thought it was.
After we had navigated away from it, we were left feeling rather annoyed and foolish; we had been lured by a false promise. We had been hoodwinked, fooled into clicking on a link that took us to a false website full of spammy rubbish and adverts.
Within a few days, a pop up window from Facebook asked us if we would be willing to take a short survey about what was useful and relevant to us – and we filled it, getting our back on all the rubbish links and statuses that seem to be littering our news feed.
But it seems that Facebook has been really listening, announcing in late August 2014, some sweeping changes to how its ranking system will work from now on. This effectively means that spammy links and rubbish statuses that clutter up the news feed should start to disappear. But, as an online local business, if you use Facebook as one of your social media platforms, you need to take note too as these changes will start to take effect very soon (if not already!).
From the horse’s mouth
So what is Facebook saying? In a nutshell, the team at FB want to ensure that the ‘right content is delivered to the right people’. Feedback from users has been that spam statuses etc. tend to swamp their news feed, meaning that the stuff they want to see from friends and family, as well as a few brands, are lost within their timeline. The improvements coming in these next few weeks are three-fold…
This is where a post explicitly asks you to either like it, share it or comment on it. By doing this, Facebook users effectively give the post credence and this mean that is ‘looks’ and ‘feel’ popular hence it gets bumped up the news feed.
But, when Facebook asked users what they thought they found that these like-baiting stories were ‘15% less relevant’ that other stories which were far more useful to the user, but further down the news feed. Users, it seems, told Facebook that they found these like-baiting stories made using the platform less pleasurable.
Social media is supposed to be fun, enjoyable and informative hence when a platform is told that stuff on it prevents this enjoyment, then they must do something about it! And so the improvements are that these stories will be detected and should no longer take precedence over statuses from family and friends.
However, do not lament the passing of such like-baiting for long as the changes will not affect companies who genuinely use Facebook as a platform to connect and converse with fans and customers, just don’t partake in those nuisance posts that ask you to like and share the photos of the puppy with sad eyes…
- like- baiting screen shots or graphics
This brings us nicely on to other nuisance like-baiting statuses, which use graphics to try and get us to converse. You know the ones – like if you ‘vote’ for the pony, share if you ‘vote’ for the parrot and ignore to vote for the crisp packet. They are rarely relevant to the company or the business to which it is linked and is another way of tricking likes, shares and comments (even if they are not favourable!) from users.
Users can ‘hide’ this content, something that Facebook has noticed people are doing more and more. They want to filter out these like-baiting screenshots so that relevant stories are on your news feed, not this annoying rubbish that seems to have gathered pace in recent months.
- Spammy links
And this is how we started this blog post, with our story of the recent click we made on a link we thought would be of use and relevance to us. It seems that many users are feeding back their annoyance to Facebook, with the platform pledging that by monitoring genuine shares and links between ‘friends’, that they can detect these rubbish links and effectively filter them from your news feed; great news for those of us who find such things incredibly annoying, especially if they masquerade as something else.
Will it affect you?
According to Facebook, if you are a genuine user, inviting discussion and opinion on matters and issues that are relevant to your page and business, then no, there will be no negative impact. In fact, they suggest that your news feed and reach should increase as these statuses that are created with intentional spam to ‘catch’ users will effectively start to disappear creating more ‘room’ on the news feed.
Will it impact content marketing?
Yes, and in a good way – or so it is predicted.
Many search engine optimising experts suggest that this means companies and brands will have to take another look at their content marketing plan, especially in relation to Facebook; the days of brands being able to gather ‘vanity metrics’ – likes and shares that mean nothing to their business, except tap push them up the rankings – are gone . It is also a positive change in that it will reward those brands that do post original content that is useful, informative and well-written.
For example, on a global scale, American Express produce a whole series of articles for small business, posting these on a regular, daily basis.
And there are brands, like Locally, who keep in touch with their customers and potential new clients with informative posts, as well as statuses, stories, tweets etc. that are useful, rather than just any old rubbish to draw people in.
In other words, your statuses – the likes, shares and comments you invite – must lead potential customers to an owned website (yours!), not some random, ad-filled site that just wants to sell, sell, sell nonsensical items to people.