Engagement bait is a means of encouraging people to engage in your content for social gain. This is generally done through humor or emotion. Good quality engagement has become rare and most of what we see are companies tricking us into taking action.

Engagement Bait: What is it and are you doing it?

Engagement bait is something that became a problem in 2016, and starting in 2017, Facebook has made multiple announcements in response to what they planned to do about it. What it is, is something instantly recognizable to anyone on social media then OR now, because despite penalties, some continue to use it.

Like, react, share, follow, subscribe and you’ll get….
Heart if you ______, Angry if you ______, etc.

Facebook announced in 2017’s post that they weren’t going to stand for it any longer, and would begin penalizing Pages which did not respect their world view on engagement. It saw an immediate decrease in this action by bigger businesses, but some of the smaller ones still do it today. It’s mostly done by those holding contests and giveaways these days, but the majority of people who enter these contests do so because it’s worth a shot even if it’s fake, on the off chance it isn’t – but most will assume it is fake because of the very problem which caused Facebook to crack down in the first place.

Endless fake news, fake giveaways, fake images, or anything else which represented something false, or led someone to believe it was harmless in nature when it was not, and plenty of other destroyers of trust are to blame.

What kind of dog are you?

This sort of test seems harmless when a person sees it, and they answer the questions without thinking anything is amiss. These questions however, are often the same sorts of questions a person is asked when setting up a username and password combination, like – what was the first school you attended, or what is your favorite food, favorite car, or other personally identifying information that is suddenly NOT harmless when grouped together.

These tests are everywhere too. Even Facebook has their own version of data gathering, in the form of “Did You Know” which directs you to answer a question about yourself, and appears (for now) below the friends list.

The more questions a person answers, the more they reveal about themselves on such a personal level that it enables a lot more than marketers to ‘see’ them out there, and that’s when it gets dangerous. Facebook saw the potential for this early, but when businesses everywhere began using engagement bait for every post, and it was all anyone saw… something had to change.

Facebook has been responding directly to people’s feedback about what they want to see most, and what they dislike the most. ALL of the dislikes are from greedy advertisers ruining the market for decent business practices. The largest penalties go to anything considered to be spammy.
1. Clickbait
2. Engagement bait
3. Pages with disruptive ads/little substance
4. Pages trying to cheat the system

The entire idea of Facebook was to create a digital society where people feel a part of something bigger and have meaningful experiences with one another. This hasn’t been the case largely, but it’s the same dream which built the company – so it makes sense they’d want to see it succeed, and create ways for that to occur having learned from failures. Some people may have seen surveys from Facebook recently thanks to this, asking if something they’ve seen is worth their time, or valuable to them.

Facebook and other social media outlets actually want publishers to create high quality content, because the more they can procure to offer their visitors, the better they do in turn. The trouble with this, is that almost everything is taken from something else these days, with very little originality on the part of the writer, or the business. Facebook took a large step by taking away the ability to make money from Instant Articles or from third party video creators. They’re even making it tougher for those who choose to continue to violate the rules, by creating stricter penalties & demotions to force compliance.

It’s the audience who suffers the most when nothing out there is real anymore. Even if you’re the rare advertiser or business who is still using this old/dated engagement bait for a REAL contest or giveaway, it won’t matter. Too many people abused it, used it for things it was never meant to do, and ruined it for everyone. Real engagement isn’t a reaction to a post anyway, it’s conversation.

Find out how you can get people talking, that’s the real engagement bait.