Two big Facebook changes that will affect how you market your pet business.

Awwwww.....those super cute puppy photos posted on Facebook with little links encouraging you to visit a site. You know the ones....

Well, Facebook is cracking down on those 'Click Bait' links. What is 'Click Baiting?'

According to Facebook, "Click-baiting" is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed." But Facebook and people on Facebook consider them 'spammy."

We've watched over the years as some pet business Facebook pages have utilized click baiting as a way to build their follower base, some into the millions of followers. But those days are gone.

How is Facebook cracking down?

They say, "A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months. We’re making these changes to ensure that click-bait content does not drown out the things that people really want to see on Facebook."

In addition, and as part of cracking down on click baiting, Facebook has announced their preferred method for you to share links on your Facebook page. Here are two examples they have showcased:

This image, above, is the correct way Facebook would like for your post links to be shared. You can see that the individual added the link in their status box, allowed Facebook to populate the image, headline and description, and then they added a message in the status area (without another link).

This image above is showing the incorrect way (ala click baiting) to post on Facebook, according to their new standard. You can see that the individual uploaded a photo, and then inserted a message and link into the status update area.  (As a side note, if you use Hootsuite or similar, you may have to tell the app not to include a url within your status posts, to comply).

There was a time before Facebook improved on populating images, that many, including me, would post a photo and then write in a description in the status update box and link to the specific page with an article, or similar. But now, if your blog or website images and descriptions are set up correctly, you shouldn't have any problem with images and information populating correctly when posting to Facebook. I have noticed with my blogs that I do need to add a 'search description' to the blog post, so that a correct description is showcased when I post (and that post is shared) on Facebook.

Now the second big change is that Facebook is doing away with is 'like gating.'

What is 'like gating?'

For years, many Facebook pages have run contests that involve having a user like the page to gain entry into a contest or giveaway; resulting in a contest that ultimately achieves more likers for that individual Facebook page.

But Facebook now wants to stop this. They say...

"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."
Therefore, Facebook is stating that developers and page admins who use the like gate tactic must come into compliance by November 5th of this year.

So how do you get noticed and build your Facebook fan base?

The real key to building your Facebook followers and 'likers' is authentically. Here are just a few of our golden rules for managing your Facebook page:
  • Don't buy Facebook likers - it will hurt your Facebook page in the long run, especially when you institute an advertising campaign.
  • Don't 'click bait' - Facebook may find this offending and decrease your visibility with your fan base.
  • Don't create contests with the sole purpose of gaining likers, ala 'like gating.'
  • Be authentic! Post about interesting, entertaining, fun, educational and engaging content, either your own or shared from another well respected Facebook page or website.
  • Get to know your audience; speak to them the way they want to be spoken to, teach them, entertain them, engage them and provide them with valuable, worthwhile information.
These basic authentic tactics can help you build your Facebook fan base and ultimately help you market your pet business.

Inside Facebook
Facebook Newsroom

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