Facebook has been making a few changes lately and all for the better. It has introduced a snooze button, so you can mute people, pages or groups for 30 days which means you can hide all the ‘xx sleeps ‘til Christmas’ updates. Good enough reason alone, we’d say. It has also scrapped the stalker feed on the right-hand side which told you what posts your friends were liking and commenting on, in real time. This means you’ve no choice but to stop stalking your ex-boyfriend. But stop it anyway! It’s not good for your health. And we know this to be true because Facebook did the research. Their own research found that spending too much time browsing Facebook is bad for your mental wellbeing. It’s not about the amount of time spent on there, it’s the browsing, comparing and staking that’s bad for you. Spend time on there and interact with people, and that’s good for you. Apparently. (We’ve mentioned it before but over the holidays can be a good time to take a break from social media completely. Here’s a handy website full of helpful information to help you do that https://www.itstimetologoff.com/).

But the best, the absolute best change with no shadow of a doubt that Facebook has just made, is to crack down on the Like and Share, or ‘Engagement Bait’ updates. You know, the ‘Like if you’re a stressed-out mummy’ or ‘Share this update to win a bread maker/holiday/telly’. Totally over the moon about that. They are so flipping irksome it makes us want to us want to go all out and SIGN OUT.

A brand page asking its followers to Like and/or Share one of their updates or photos in order to win something has long been against Facebook’s rules but has been flouted since forever by brands and companies.

Facebook posted in its newsroom on December 18th, “’engagement bait’, seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.”

At best it’s annoying for the friends of the brand’s followers who have to put up with these posts appearing in their feed. At worst it’s the laziest form of promotion and if any agency recommends this tactic then approach with caution. They should know the basics of Facebook’s rules if they’re advising others on it and doing this can get your brand page a big black mark on Facebook.

Over time Facebook has made it harder for brands to reach people organically through valuable, shareable content, which has made more brands resort to the Like and Share tactic. Now that they’re finally cracking down on it, it will push more brands towards Facebook advertising but at least that is targeted to potentially interested folk.

There is no better tactic on social media, and SEO for that matter, than organic, interesting, shareable content, and Facebook’s move this week underpins one of our mantras that we always bang on about – ‘Content is King’.