How Facebook’s New Engagement Bait Rule Affects Your Music Fan Page

12/22/2017 – In this article I wrote a year ago, I shared some creative ways to promote and increase engagement on your Facebook Music Fan Page.  Well, that’s all about to change in the coming weeks as Facebook rolls out a new set of rules penalizing pages utilizing these engagement tactics. They’re calling it ‘Engagement Bait,’ claiming that people are complaining about spammy posts.

Sidebar. Small rant about to happen now. I have a really hard time believing this is true. What I suspect is that Facebook is trying to block people from engaging with their fans organically in order to force them into paying for engagement. How is it that people are complaining about spammy posts from pages they “LIKED?” Wouldn’t they simply unfollow that page and go on to fight another day?  I doubt they would go through the trouble of complaining to Facebook about it. The other thing is that Facebook is constantly bombarding people with sponsored and paid ads that were never asked for. If any complaining is done, it would probably be more toward those paid ads as opposed to pages they actually went over to and took the time to click the LIKE button. I followed the money and this is where I ended up. The reason for this has more to do with Facebook’s bottom line, than what people are allegedly complaining about. End small rant.

Regardless what the reasoning is, Facebook is a business and if you want in, you have to play by their rules. So what is engagement bait?

This is taken directly from Facebook’s publishing guidelines:

“Engagement bait is a tactic to create Facebook posts that goad people into interacting, through likes, shares, comments, and other actions, in order to artificially boost engagement and get greater reach on News Feed. Posts and Pages that use this tactic will be demoted.”

When they say ‘demoted’ what they mean is that your page will lose visibility in news feeds. To sum this all up, if you ask people to engage on your posts you will not be able to reach your fans for a long time.

Here are some examples of engagement bait:


Asking for a specific reaction is frowned upon. These guidelines are taken directly from Facebook’s Publishing Guidelines:

  • React baiting: Asking people to react to the post (includes like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry).
  • Comment baiting: Asking people to comment with specific answers (words, numbers, phrases, or emojis).
  • Share baiting: Asking people to share the post with their friends.
  • Tag baiting: Asking people to tag their friends.
  • Vote baiting: Asking people to vote using reactions, comments, sharing, or other means of representing a vote.
  • NOTE:  Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update.

Until they come up with more ways to block your posts, here are some ideas you can use to work around this new ‘Engagement Bait’ rule.

Share genuine stories and ask for advice. The more genuine you can be the more authentic your post will feel. Talk about a struggle, problem, or concern you are having.  These types of stories will guarantee feedback from loyal fans, even if you don’t specifically ask for advice.

Share more photos and talk about what’s happening in the photo.  Photos are proven to spark and increase engagement. It’s just something about a photo that tugs at people. Post more photos of you performing, practicing, back stage, buying equipment, working remotely at a coffee shop, your merchandise, new album art ideas, screenshots of your website and stuff you’re working on, your pets, stage attire, set lists, fun stuff you’re doing, etc.

Post more native videos. I’m challenging myself to do at least one native streaming or live video per week. I’d like to do more, but time is a factor. You should do it too!  Try doing a series. This will generate anticipation each week and increase your overall visibility.

I noticed that whatever hot-button narrative the media is currently following, Facebook typically pushes posts about it as well in news feeds, no matter what your opinion is about the topic. I’m not 100% on this, but I think they have a secret algorithm or bot that targets matching keywords and if they meet a certain criteria the post is automatically pushed to the top of news feeds. Use that to your advantage. Talk about current hot button events. Your people will probably want to share their opinions on the matter as well. Unfortunately, a lot of these topics are controversial so you’ll have to keep a close eye on these posts and be ready to delete, ban, or moderate if necessary. Some topics can get a little hairy.

Increase your posting frequency. Use tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to post to your artist fan page more often. Challenge yourself to increase your postings by at least 1 more per day and see what happens. If you can establish a more active presence, you’ll start to build more momentum with your fans.

Become a resource for your fans. Find out what their pain points are and start posting meaningful content that provides solutions and answers.

Utilize current and relevant hashtags. Don’t go overboard on this, but hashtags can be very useful in attracting new fans. When people do a search on a specific hashtag on any social media platform your post will show up in the search results if you used that particular hashtag. Also using certain hashtags that will resonate with your fans will prompt them to like, comment, and share on their own.

Don’t Rely on Facebook…

Ultimately, Facebook is on its own side. Decisions and rules are based on making more money for themselves. As an independent artist, you must find a way to maintain control over how you communicate and reach your fans. Having your own website and a good mailing list platform is one of the best ways to engage with your fans directly. That way you can reach them one by one with announcements, news, new music, and more without having to pay extra fees. Promote your mailing list on Facebook to convert your Facebook fans into mailing list subscribers.

What other ways can you ensure consistent engagement in spite of Facebook’s new engagement bait rule? How have you been successful at converting your Facebook fans over to mailing list subscribers?  Share your ideas in the comments section.

In the meantime, I’ll keep watching for new rules as they roll out and keep you posted on the new and ‘exciting’ things in Facebook land. Until then, good luck.

Check out these other related articles about Facebook Success:

10 Easy Social Media Contest Ideas to Make Your Fans Engage
The Quick & Dirty Way to Boost Facebook Likes
How to Share your Music Page with a Like Button
3 Powerful Features to Use on your Facebook Fan Page
How to Stop Losing Visibility on Facebook
Are you Cool? How to be Popular on Facebook
7 Mistakes that will Kill Your Facebook Efforts
My Most Popular Posts on Facebook
Save Time with this Ultimate Easy Copy & Paste 3 Month Social Media Content Calendar

About Anitra Jay

Anitra Jay is an acoustic soul singer-songwriter based in Houston, TX. She tours regularly up and down the US from Vermont to Texas and everywhere in between. Her music is a sultry down to earth blend of soul, pop, and gospel. After being laid off from her job in 2007, Anitra decided to pursue a career in music. She took her educational experiences in Public Relations and her professional background in marketing and applied it full force to her music. She's found significant success in establishing a lasting fanbase using her special brand of marketing techniques which she shares freely with other artists. In addition to being a full-time performer, Anitra runs, a blog for indie artists sharing actionable tips and advice on how to promote, develop, establish a fanbase, and more. Her passion is to inspire other musicians and build a community of like-minded independent artists to encourage and promote successful careers in the arts. She appeared on HGTV's Tiny House Hunters in May of 2017 to share her music story and her Tiny House Journey with the world. Follow Anitra on Twitter - @IndieArtistsDIY and @Anitra_Jay. Join the mailing list to get practical DIY tips and tricks in your inbox -

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