Updated 26 November 2017

In a Social Media Today post in July of 2015 (what prompted the original version of this post), Sarah Snow stated as the number one thing you shouldn’t do on Facebook, “Don’t like your own posts”.

Granted she was likely referring to personal status updates, but the mention of it being like a black hat SEO practice had me thinking it could be see as applicable to business page posts. And that set me off. Why?

 

Liking and commenting as yourself on business page content is one of the simplest and most effective tools you have to help drive post views.Click To Tweet

 

To understand why and how you need to first understand the algorithm.

‘After the Algorithm’

Facebook’s algorithm change back in April of 2015 effectively meant the end of your posts showing in the news feed of your fans (since most people asked for likes instead of building their page organically). Getting posts seen in feeds meant ‘paying to play’ or understanding the point of the algorithm and working with it.

Facebook started out as a tool allowing individuals to keep in touch, share and see ‘content’ from friends. It was social tool. You connected with those you WANTED to be connected with and see the updates you wanted.

Fast forward a few years and Facebook opened up to businesses. With no checks and balances in place, you would see EVERY status update. Granted, if you connected with someone or followed a page, you would want to see their updates. That is, until, your feed was so flooded it was impossible to keep up. Add in limited time and you would likely miss the content you most wanted to see.

Enter the algorithm

Business owners cried it was an attempt to force them to pay, yet the core reason for the change was to shift Facebook back to what was intended.

In an effort to curb the ‘spam’ in feeds, Facebook’s new algorithm looks at our behaviors within the platform and elsewhere on the web (a wonderfully insidious marketing tool called the Facebook Tracking pixel – a boon for advertisers – effectively tracks your entire online movement – though not on our site).

Combining this data with what users provided in their profiles allows Facebook to determine what is most important (read relevant)to each user.  They then layered in something referred to as ‘timeliness’ and a ‘shareability’ score so only the best ‘relevant’ content makes the cut.

If you want your published content seen, first and foremost, it must be relevant. That means knowing your audience (you can start by not asking everyone to like your page) and creating valuable content they want to consume.

It means making that content timely. Don’t write about outdated topics. Leverage current trends where you can, tying it into your core content.

‘Liking your own business page posts’

Here is where it gets a bit complicated and the ‘liking your own business page posts’ thing comes into play…

As much as you can try to create content others would want to share, that is out of your hands. Like the joke some find hilarious and has others wondering why what you think is ‘shareable’ Facebook may not. The single best way to make something ‘shareable’, something others really want to see… is creating interaction AFTER the post is published. You need to manufacture reach! How?

By getting engagement.

 

The more likes, comments, and shares a post gets, the greater the indication Facebook is given the content is relevant and shareable.Click To Tweet

 

That is the goal behind liking your own posts!! It’s about ‘getting the ball rolling’ or giving that extra ‘kick’ to keep the engagement going (at which point you responding to comments comes in to play).

It is important to note that this only works if you like the posts as yourself, not as your page.

 

About that ‘Black Hat’ part

I get it though it doesn’t apply here. Yes.liking your own posts is effectively playing the system. Still, you are allowed to interact with your own posts. I prefer to see it as voting for yourself in an election. Further, for the tactic to even work, your content must be valuable and relevant to your audience. If neither is the case, not ‘tricks’ will work. Hence, not black hat.

 

Liking your own Facebook posts as yourself only helps drive 'reach' if you first publish well-written, valuable content which is relevant to your audience!Click To Tweet

 

You have to be doing the basics correctly in the first place and this is exactly the behavior the algorithm is trying to create.

The smarmy piece – if you are the only one who ever likes or engages with your business content – it stands out and simply looks bad. And it indicates to me you could benefit from reaching out and getting some help.

 

Original publish date 29 July 2015

20 replies
  1. Rick Rouse
    Rick Rouse says:

    Hi Robert. I agree that you should absolutely “Like” your own Facebook posts because it’s the single most effective strategy for getting your content noticed by your desired audience in the era of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. I wrote this post on that very topic

    The Reddit world went ballistic and called me everything under the sun, but I’ve received literally hundreds of thank you notes from bloggers who tried it and loved the results.

    Thanks for the great post, Robert!

    Reply
    • Robert
      Robert says:

      Thank you Rick. I have been meaning to update this post for some time. It needs a bit of cleaning up. I was pretty well bashed on social when I posted and shared this. I was even bashed on a radio. Nice to know we are not alone!

      Reply
  2. Rich Austin
    Rich Austin says:

    I was recently part of a 3 person panel discussing digital and social media marketing for community small businesses. The other two panelists insisted that liking your own business page was akin to “shooting your post in the head”, and that their confirmation bias indicated that it had a direct effect on the reach of your business posts. My experience has been the opposite. Do you know of any objective study or comment by Facebook that would validate this position? Because in my experience and practice, I side with you. If you have good content, sharing it and liking it shouldn’t impact your reach aside from helping it to get in front of your friends.

    Reply
    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Good morning Rich.

      The comments by the other 2 panelists are odd at best. At worst, liking your own business post cannot really hurt. Facebook doesn’t see the action as black hat in an of itself so you wouldn’t be penalized for it. I see it as a possible negative when you are the only one liking your business posts. At some point people ‘figure it out’.

      I do not know of anything objective to back up my point and have been searching. I do know the more activity a post has, even if not deemed’shareable’ initially (therefore not showing in the newsfeed), it becomes more shareable. If you can drive enough engagement on a post, where you liking your own content comes in, Facebookk will look at that activity. I have seen a sigmificant number of older posts resurface this way.

      Robert

      Reply
  3. Janie
    Janie says:

    I think it’s lame and sad!! Like someone clapping themselves or laughing at their own jokes. If they post good enough posts and not everyday or over do it people will be interested and look without being pushed!!
    When I see it being done I feel disappointed in them and unlike the page so I don’t see them at all. Find it very sad!!

    Reply
    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Thank you Janie. You are correct. It could look sad, especially if no one else is liking or commenting on their posts. The problem is, even if you don’t post everyday most business page content isn’t seen and what does get seen doesn’t do much for driving business or building relationships so every little thing, when used properly, adds value.

      I’d personally clap for myself if it meant more money – sort of like those applause meters on game shows.

      Robert

      Reply
  4. Eric
    Eric says:

    Was recently having this discussion with one of my clients… is it better to like your pages post as the organization or as your individual self?

    Reply
    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Eric, both work for the psychological affect – people being more apt to engage when others have first – but I prefer liking as your individual self. Doing it this way helps create potential reach by friends seeing your actions, either in their feed or the ticker. This is also one reason opening your profile to more than just friends can be extremely beneficial.

      Reply
    • Janie
      Janie says:

      This is what I agree with more. Like the business post as personal Facebook. It doesn’t look sad and lame cause most of the time the person posting isn’t the owner but someone on the front desk. Most people wouldn’t know their full name so wouldn’t look so sad or lame.
      I even told the girl at the front desk of my chiro the other day. I mean I don’t even see the business liking it like the personal pages. To see it I have to go back into the page when it was posted!! So what’s the point???
      Sorry but totally against liking your own post business or not!! Not a good look at all. There should be another way for business to do this on Facebook without using the like option!!

      Reply
      • Robert Nissenbaum
        Robert Nissenbaum says:

        Good morning Janie and thank you for your thoughts.

        I really am referring to you personally liking a post on your business page. Strictly from a value ‘reach’ or exposure standpoint, comments and likes by your page on one of it’s own posts doesn’t offer anything. Any ‘reach’ gain comes from you personally interacting. (Though, when it comes to Gooogle +, liking your own post as your business does add search value and I’ll do it even if others think it’s lame).

        Reply
  5. Vanessa C
    Vanessa C says:

    What about liking your own post on a page as the page – not as an individual. Do you think it comes off the same way?

    Reply
    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Awesome question Vanessa! I think liking page posts as the page is closer to liking your own personal posts. Personally liking a page post can go unnoticed since most don’t know who the page owner or admins are. So yes, it does come off the same way.

      Would I still recommend doing it? Yes, but in this case after you already have a point or 2 of engagement. Each point of engagement helps. More improves the odds of someone else seeing the post, interacting. It’s all psychological. Being the first could have the opposite effect.

      Either way, my best advice is to see how it works for YOU. If you’re comfortable doing it, go for it.

      Reply
  6. Timothy Hands
    Timothy Hands says:

    Ha, I found this to be pretty funny. Calling it akin to “blackhat SEO” is a touch dramatic to me. If I am on Facebook and I see a friend “like” their own post consisting of a dumb joke or a picture, it’s something I’d make fun of them over. But if it is in a business context, I understand it automatically and sympathize, even. Mind you, my perception is ignoring Facebook algorithms and actual SMM technique. I don’t share a ton of “work stuff” on my personal FB, but if I do, it’s more that I feel compelled to “like” any positive comments and interactions moreso than my own posts.

    Solid article either way and a valuable set of insights.

    Reply
    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Thank you Timothy. I certainly agree on the ‘liking’ of personal posts as well. There is something to be said for ignoring the algorithms and techniques but if embraced to a point, the results can be fairly dramatic.

      How you share business content to your business page is very similar to my approach but I have been toying with a different approach – one that ties into inviting friends to like you page. Rather than leverage your audience by asking them to like pages and possibly see your content (since most will like out of courtesy), bring the posts to them.

      Robert

      Reply
    • Adam Fout
      Adam Fout says:

      I agree—black hat seems a bit overly dramatic. I’ve always avoided it as an individual because for a person to do it, it’s a bit strange. However, it’s a little different when a business does it.

      Reply
    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Thank you Debra. I certainly see the vanity and insecurity issue. If you rarely receive likes or comments on your posts, always liking your own does give a false impression that content is well received. If however you are already getting some engagement and you normally do, there is a balance between vanity/insecurity and leveraging a tool.

      Reply

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