Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Battle Against Facebook Engagement Baiting

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Facebook is one of the primary social media tools for authors. It doesn’t matter if an author is self-published or traditional published, Facebook provides significant opportunities for growing and sustaining platform while supporting and launching book sales.

But things are about to change!
In a good way. Over the past few years Facebook has been plagued by spammers and engagement baiting. You may even have inadvertently posted an engagement baiting post yourself. Facebook has caught wind of this trend and they have modified their algorithms to penalize posts that engagement bait. Baiting posts will receive significantly reduced exposure in an effort to “clean up” the community and provide users with legitimate and naturally engaging content.

So, what is engagement baiting?

Vote Baiting
Posts that says things like, “VOTE for your 2018 writing goals: 1. Get a contract 2. Go to a writer’s conference 3. Finish your book.” or “VOTE in the comments, which author is better, Tolkien or Rowling.”

Share Baiting
Posts that says things like, “Share this post with 10 friends for your chance to win a trip to BookExpo America!” or “Share this post for a chance to win a free book.”

React Baiting
Posts that says things like, “Like this post if you read a book this year.” or “Like this if you have ever seen the movie Harry Potter or read the book.”

Tag Baiting
Posts that says things like, “Tag your friends who like chocolate!” or “Tag friends who like to read great books. If enough people tag this post I get a free gift.”

Comment Baiting
Posts that says things like, “Comment “YES” if you love Dr. Suess as much as I do!” or “Comment “YES” if you love to read historical fiction!”

Posts like these baiting posts above are not banned by Facebook, but they will begin seeing stricter demotions on the platform. As Facebook’s machine learning model progresses, you can expect to see fewer and fewer of these types of posts in your news feed.

Make sure your Facebook posts naturally engage your audience. Create content that your friends and followers want to read, don’t try to bait them into liking or sharing your post.

Have you ever written these types of baiting posts? 

The battle against #Facebook engagement baiting - @CyleYoung on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Facebook is cracking down on posts it considers engagement baiting - what not to do by @CyleYoung on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Cyle Young is an author and literary agent, husband & father of 3. As a self-proclaimed “Binge Writer”, Cyle writes over 30,000 words in a weekend. Get his free Binge Writing video class at


  1. Not the biggest Facebook fan but I can see why they need to come down on engagement baiting.
    Thanks for the detailed explanation Cyle. Your post helps put perspective on this topic.

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Cyle. I've never posted one of these, and I'll be sure to guard against it.

  3. Thank you, Cyle for the helpful information.

  4. i fell for these early on, then ignored them - now I delete and/or report them! thanks for highlighting them, Cyle!

    1. 'course part of it is "you can't tell me what to do" reaction! LOL

  5. Informative post, Cyle! I do have a question. I do book reviews for publishers, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. For an honest review, they send me books I can either keep or I can give them away on my blog. Is it still considered a form of baiting if I mention the giveaway on my facebook page? If so, then will the only options for advertising a giveaway be via our email lists and other social media? I never make money off of the giveaways. I even pay the shipping expenses.

  6. Sally, tag me in one of your posts and I'll let you know my thoughts! :)