When Does Social Media Engagement Become Cynical Marketing?
More brands are competing for less space. That’s the reality we’re faced with following Facebook’s recent changes to Edgerank.
Research from Socialbakers suggests that a post’s average reach has halved. No doubt this is partly because users are ‘liking’ an increasing number of brands who are posting more often, but it also reflects Facebook’s efforts to drive advertising and increase revenue.
Facebook say the goal is to improve the quality of content in the newsfeed and their advice to brands is that “all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family”. A quick look at my own newsfeed suggests this should not be too challenging, but the message is clear; only your most engaging posts will reach your audience.
In order to drive this engagement, many Pages are shamelessly pushing out cynical calls to action with very tenuous links to the brand. Examples such as “click Like if you think kittens are cute”, “click Like if you love Friday’s”, or even better “click Like if you think this is such sad news” are far too common. John Morter, the man behind the Rage Against the X-Factor campaign, has even created his own Facebook Page to highlight some of the worst culprits and share a few ‘engaging’ posts of his own (see below).
Lowered reach should force brands to think long and hard about their content and its quality.
Having worked with clients as varied as British Airways, YMCA and Mecca Bingo over the past 12 years, Luke Brynley-Jones is one of the UK’s most experienced social media consultants. Founder of social media marketing blog and events company,Our Social Times, Luke is a regular conference host and speaker.