In Digital News, Social Media by Steve Harvey-Franklin

Facebook’s banging digital crooks to rights — here’s how to avoid getting busted

Facebook is gunning for social media mobsters.

Their fraud squad are sizing up concrete boots for firms using dodgy clickbait and shady content – and no one’s untouchable.

So whether you focus on paid ads or free posts, read on for content tips on how to avoid sleeping with the FB fishes.


The engagement bait change was introduced in late 2017 — penalising spammy posts (and potentially, entire business pages) that shortcut engagement by tricking people to like, vote, share or comment on content.

And another limited experiment, which created separate newsfeeds for business and media posts and those for friends and family, has just been abandoned because it was unpopular with users.

These changes were driven by customer complaints that commercial posts were diluting the platform’s original social purpose and the alleged influence of Russian-backed fake news posts on the 2016 US election.

Add the $16.4 billion cost of ad fraud in 2017 to this messy mix, and Facebook was forced to make serious attempts to enforce change.

Adapting to changes

Navigating Facebook’s algorithms to ensure your posts are effective can feel trickier than solving a Rubik’s Cube one-handed.

But there are solutions that protect the digital reach of your business on social and beyond.

If you create content organically, it’s more likely to align with Facebook’s news feed publisher principles — and less likely to leave you languishing in their digital dungeon.

Crucially, authentic content makes FB happy. So here’s some useful advice.

Make sure it’s meaningful

Substantive posts are engaging and interesting as well as commercially-focused. Aim to make content informative, too, considering whether it’ll be useful to your defined audience.

This approach makes content sharable and compliant — a digital double-whammy.

Ensure it’s authentic and accurate

Your headline should be relevant to the post’s content and not look like bait.

So avoid using ‘share’, ‘win’ and ‘like’ and avoid hyperbole — a well-crafted headline can capture a click without promising it’ll change customers’ lives or make them instant millionaires.

There should be no misinformation

You should be able to back up facts if challenged.

Responsible brands create accurate and authentic content that still projects personality — creativity and social responsibility can co-habit online.

Don’t create content that’s unsafe or disrespectful

This is a no-brainer — whether you’re an emerging or established brand, insulting your audience is reputational poison.

Reply to comments from users

Real businesses capitalise on the opportunities to interact directly with customers, cowboy companies don’t. Ignoring comments makes you appear rude and fake — not a good combo for Facebook.

Create your own Facebook Group

About a billion people use these niche communities every month, providing the perfect environment to showcase your unique products and services and allow you to interact with fans in a friendly manner.

But they also feed into the community values Facebook will reward you for — authority and authenticity align awesomely with its algorithms.

Upload video and images directly to Facebook

Facebook’s news feed algorithm hierarchy prioritises video over images and images over external links. So investing in your own webinars, explainer videos and high-quality graphic images extends your reach and keeps you safe from the FB police.

Complimentary strategies

Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie advised entrepreneurs looking to maximise profits to ‘put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket’.

But don’t take that approach to digital — social media should only be one strand of your strategy.

Search beat social for referral traffic in 2017, so ignore the value of SEO and paid search at your peril — especially with social media becoming a bit of a minefield.

There’s no need to abandon Facebook completely though — the tips above will make you too legit to quit.



If you want to chat about a results-driven digital strategy for your business, contact us soon.

And dip into the rest of our blog for useful advice and insights from the world of digital and beyond.

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