Getting The Most Out Of Your Facebook Posts And How To Maximize Engagement
I can probably spare you the typical preamble of the importance of Facebook marketing. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t know it already. However, it never ceases to amaze me how few people take full advantage of such a platform. Facebook is one of the few platforms where you as a business or organization can engage with your customers directly in real time, at a spur of the moment, in a public arena. The combination of those 3 factors provide an interaction nexus the likes of which have never been. Up until the Internet Era, pretty much all marketing has been one way only: print, radio, TV, direct mail, transit media, billboards, signage, flyers, etc. Since this medium is dramatically different, the approach needs to be rethought from the ground up. Facebook engagement requires interaction that is measured in hours rather than months.
This post isn’t intended to cover all aspects of Facebook marketing – that is a massive subject. What I wanted to specifically focus on is something that a lot of people struggle with to increase engagement: a few helpful basics on how to write an excellent Facebook post.
1. Develop a narrative.
First, figure out why you are doing this. What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish? These answers will help you understand better what kind of marketing narrative you need to craft. Designing a Facebook marketing narrative to guide your posting strategy is very important as it provides a common thread that knits your posts together and provides a common theme and experience that helps to engage and retain users. It helps you develop a brand identity which is one of the most important ways that you can stand out from the pack of your competitors because it helps you form emotional bonds with your customers or readers and invites them to be part of your narrative as it develops and part of your success.
2. Post frequently.
Posting once every few days does not create a consistent sense of connection and involvement that Facebook excels at. The less you post, the more it shows that Facebook is an afterthought to you, rather than a major aspect of your online engagement. Depending on the nature of your page and your business, there is no perfect number of posts to make per day. However, for a typical business or organization, 2-4 times per day seems to be the optimal number. More than that, and you risk having your subscribers start hiding your articles in their feed. Less than that and people might stop caring. There is no golden number as it varies based on your type of audience and mission, so you might have to play around with that number and see what gets you more bites. One thing is for certain, you should be posting at least once a day.
3. Two way communication.
Facebook pages, like any form of marketing, are about selling something. Selling yourself, selling your ideas, selling your products. However, a lot of people and businesses treat Facebook as just another billboard on which to slap a sale sign which is a shame since billboards are one of the lowest yielding forms of marketing. Instead of letting it languish like an internet billboard, use Facebook to create a two way interaction with your customers and engage them with your brand and product. Write engaging headlines, get people involved in answering questions and commenting on content. Don’t simply post passive content over and over like a flyer that is being handed out in the middle of the street.
4. Create engaging posts.
The best posts are the ones that make it irresistible for someone to hit the “comment” button as they are skimming through their feed in the 5 spare minutes they are killing in line at a coffee shop. Usually those posts pose a question, rather than make a statement, and invite the viewer to volunteer their opinions which in turns compels others to comment on the comments. Simple questions that can be answered in a 1-2 word response tend to provide the best engagement results. Something as benign as a yes/no question on the new name of a piece of software has generated hundreds of shares and likes within hours, as well as over 100 comments.
Like all good headlines in marketing, its all about action verbs and calls to actions, whether overt or covert. Try to stay away from nouns and adjectives. Focus on verbs and adverbs. Other popular ways to share content is to offer a tip or share an interesting fact i.e. “Did you know that…..?” to increase Facebook post engagement.
5. Always add an image.
Images play a crucial role in success of a given post. Many studies have shown that CTRs, shares and likes increase dramatically when there is an image accompanying a post. The image type is extremely important as well. Graphs, charts and infographics tend to perform the best. Images that convey an idea without the need for text next to them to explain the idea – give the best return on social actions (clicks, shares, likes). Generic stock images, tend to perform poorly since they convey no tangible information at a glance, but its still better than a total absence of an image.
6. Write in first person.
First person is better than third person. Multiple A/B variate tests show time and time again that Facebook posts that reference the author specifically in first person singular (I) or first person plural (We) tend to get better engagement than passive posts written in third person.
7. Lists are better.
Bullet point posts tend to be more popular than essay titles because readers are conditioned to know that bullet point lists are generally short and the number of bullet points gives the reader a rough idea on how much time he is going to expend on reading the post. This is important as one of the first few decisions that a reader subconsciously makes is whether an article is worth their time, based purely on the headline. “The 5 Best Delis in Chicago!” will you get you more eyeballs than “The Best Delis In Chicago!”. Also, studies have shown that using numerals (5) vs. words (five) will result in a higher CTR. Supermoney’s post on credit cards for bad credit or VVMG’s post on importance of video marketing is a great example of how to leverage the “listicle” concept.
8. Never hurts to be direct.
Posts that directly offer a download or ask others to share the content have a higher rate of engagement than those that tend to be coy or nonchalant about it.
Finally, the last thing to remember is to never force the conversation. You’re not always going to have fresh new content or stimulating questions to put up and that’s alright. Everyone needs a brief break once in a while. Just don’t make it into a habit.
Let me know below what you think.