Facebook Prohibits Incentivizing Users to Like Pages
As experienced Facebook users know, the more “Likes” a company’s Facebook page has, the more exposure and reach a company gets. If your business page has 1,000 fans — people who have liked your Facebook page — your updates will be published on 1,000 news feeds where fans can like your content, and share it with their friends.
A brand’s reach increases for posts that garner numerous likes, comments, and shares, and since the natural trend is for reach to shrink as competition grows, Pages have to work harder and harder to stay visible. Facebook’s organic reach has declined dramatically, and many brands, local merchants, and public figures are frustrated about the drop in reach.
Facebook Now Bans Incentivizing Users to Like Pages
Now Facebook has announced two important changes to its Platform Policies under games and proper use. Developers have 90 days (until November 5, 2014) to comply with the new rules.
Regarding the platform policy change with games, Facebook notes games which include mandatory or optional in-app charges must now disclose this in their app’s description, either on Facebook or other platforms it supports. This is to give people a clear indication that your game may charge people during gameplay.
So if you’re a game developer, you must add the appropriate warning to your app. If you don’t charge for anything in your game, you don’t have to do anything.
Regarding Likes, Facebook states you must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page.
“It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”
In other words, as Emil Protalinski points out, Facebook is making it more difficult to game its algorithms, meaning that you should concentrate on growing your Facebook Page organically with high quality Likes, not artificially.
High Quality Likes
High quality likes come from the segment of the Facebook population that have the highest potential of becoming your customer. If your company offers female lingerie, interested females would be characterized as higher quality Likes.
Understanding Facebook’s Algorithm
Facebook filters its feed with a News Feed sorting algorithm, unofficially known as EdgeRank, that analyzes every signal possible to determine the relevance of each post to each person. Roughly 100,000 different indicators of importance are factored in.
The most powerful determinants of whether a post is shown in the feed are the following:
* How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone.
* How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it.
* How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer. Does the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past?
* How recently was the post published.
So the more successful a post is, and the more popular its creator, the more likely a viewer will see the post. The fact that someone Liked a Page makes little difference because it’s whether the Page continues to be interesting to a potential viewer of their posts.
Facebook rewards Pages with engaging content and penalizes the use of click-bait headlines and shallow image macro memes. With dynamic content that fits targeted audiences, Pages can still get a high volume of free traffic out of Facebook.
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