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?

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.

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.

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 you could benefit from reaching out and getting some help.

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Original publish date 29 July 2015