Facebook Marketing 202: Increasing Engagement

Facebook Marketing 202: Increasing Engagement

Quality of Content Counts!

What you’ll learn in today’s Facebook Marketing lesson:

– The do’s and don’ts of constructing an engaging Facebook post
– Tips for getting your content seen in the News Feed
– How to choose an image for the best post engagement
– Tips for writing a Facebook post with the perfect call to action

Now that we’ve covered how to manage a Facebook Page with multiple Page administrators (see previous blog “Facebook Marketing 201”), what should those admins be posting to increase engagement? The key to constructing a good post is to keep in mind these two things: Facebook is about having a two-way conversation and it’s about helpful, relevant information to users.

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The most successful status updates include quick or simple-to-respond to questions and use attractive verbiage to get users interested in what you’re posting.

Here are 15 phrases to get you started:

1. What do you think? or What are your thoughts? Open-ended questions like these invite users into the conversation.
2. Click Like if you agree! The simplest way to get people to engage.
3. Leave a comment below. Who doesn’t like to have his/her opinion heard?
4. Here’s some valuable information on____________________. The key word here: valuable. So don’t disappoint. Always aim to post valuable content that users can’t find elsewhere. They’ll come back again and again.
5. You don’t want to miss this! This adds a sense of urgency that people find hard to resist.
6. This is a MUST watch/read … Ditto above.
7. How did you react to the news? The jury is in, and in social media people like to share
their feelings and their experiences.
8. Any suggestions? See #3!
9. Do you find Facebook’s new Timeline design confusing? Here’s a Timeline guide to help you out. This is an example of a phrase that gives you the opportunity to call out a problem, and then provide a solution (i.e. valuable content)!
10. Only ____ days left to … Another phrase that adds a sense of urgency.
11. GREAT TIP: (insert tip) This says: “I post valuable content on my Page.”
12. Fill in the blank: On Social Media Day (or Groundhog Day or New Year’s Day, etc. etc.) I ____________. Social media is dependent on people sharing information about themselves. This is a good prompt.
13. We agree (or disagree), what about you? See #3
14. When is the last time you … Crossed something off your bucket list … talked your way out of a speeding ticket … performed a random act of kindness. Think of fun, funny, or seasonal phrases that might inspire your users to share.
15. Get $___ off … “$ off” statements receive 55 percent more engagement than “percent off.” And mentioning the word “coupon” sparks more engagement than using the word “sale.”

Wondering What Not to Do?

Now that you have a good idea of what an engaging Facebook post should sound like, it’s only appropriate that we list a few phrases that you should try to avoid … and why. Here are of the worst:

Don’t forget to Like our Page! We’ve all seen it. The infamous, “Don’t forget to Like our Page!” posts in the News Feed. If you post updates like this, don’t expect to earn a lot of Likes. Why? It’s simple: People don’t like being told what to Like. If you really want users to Like your Status Update or Facebook Page, try pairing your update with some valuable content. Then, instead of asking users to “Like my Page!” you can restructure your post to say, “Like this post if you agree with this article!” or “Like if you support our mission!”

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“ONE DAY LEFT TO ENTER OUR CONTEST!” Don’t shout. Unnecessary capitalization and broadcasting your business’s latest sale are surefire ways to deter users from engaging. No one wants to be screamed at, nor do they want to feel like you’re aiming your business’s marketing ploys straight at them. Instead, implement the 80/20 rule. What’s that? Make sure that 80 percent of what you post and share on your business’ Timeline is content that is valuable and relevant to your fans. Twenty percent of content can be self-promotional.

TGIF! What are you doing this weekend?”… This is another one of many examples of status updates that are way too general, and not attention grabbing enough to generate any major engagement.

If your business is posting similar updates on a frequent basis, it’s time to rethink your posting game plan. Here’s a tip: keep 90 percent of your Page content related to the industry your business is in. Seasonally related posting are the exception to this rule. In other words, it’s okay to say, “Hope everyone has a blast on the 4th of July!”

Avoid recycling others’ content. In every industry there are a few major news sources that dominate the field. For example, in social media and tech, sites like Mashable and Tech Crunch are widely followed. Don’t just repurpose large news sites’ material for your own Facebook Page’s content without offering your own individual spin or opinion on it.

If it’s likely your fans are also fans and followers of other top-player news sites, don’t bombard your fans’ News Feeds with duplicate stories. Also, bear in mind, your fans come to your Facebook Page to be introduced to new and exclusive content. If you’re constantly stealing other people’s content for your Page, your Page isn’t proving its stand-alone value.

Banish bad images. Images play an important role in increasing post engagement. However, there are certain images that can actually discourage users from Liking a post. For example, low-quality or out-of-context images that don’t speak clearly for themselves are not likely to be rewarded with comments and Likes.

If you’re going to use an image as a post, make sure it makes a statement and is shareable. Even better: add a descriptive caption to the photo.

Never snub users. When a user takes the time to post a comment on your Facebook Page and no one responds, that user will be less likely to engage with your Page again. This is especially true when the Facebook Page they posted on doesn’t have a large following in the first place.

Even if there is only one user to comment on or Like a post on a Facebook Page, there is no reason that a business Page shouldn’t still respond with a Like or comment back. Users understand the low probability of getting a reply if they post to a Page like Pepsi, but if they’re posting to a small business’s Page, they expect to get a response.

How to Get Your Content Seen in the News Feed

Engagement greatly depends on the quality and type of content your business creates and shares. In this section we’ll discuss how to choose the most engaging content, and more important, how to get that content seen by the most users.

Getting your Page’s content to appear in your users’ News Feeds can be challenging. Did you know that “On average 16 percent of content is seen by fans.” Facebook uses two sophisticated algorithms called Edgerank and Graph Rank to determine which content is shown in a user’s News Feed. These algorithms are complex (and secret), but there are some relatively simple things you can do to make sure your posts are seen by as many fans as possible.

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Don’t over share. The logical thing to assume is that the more content you produce and share on your Page, the better opportunity there is for your posts to be seen in the News Feed. But this tactic can backfire on a Page’s Like count. Posting too often is one of the top reasons for a fan to un-Like a Page. The key is to post quality content that receives high user feedback. Having lots of posts with low user feedback could actually reduce your Page’s chances of getting into the News Feed. As a simple rule of thumb: limit your Page’s daily content to two to three posts that you think will receive high rates of engagement.

Vary your posts. Often it’s not what you’re saying, but the media content you add that earns a post a comment, share, or Like. Facebook posts that include photos (skip below if you want photo tips now), videos, and polls receive the best engagement rates, followed by posts that garner a lot of comments. (Fact: comments carry more Edgerank weight than Likes.) By accompanying text posts with media that’s interesting, trending, or funny, you’re optimizing your user engagement, as well as claiming a space in your users’ News Feeds.

Timing is everything. There are numerous studies that aim to define the best days and times to post. These recommendations should be interpreted loosely, since Facebook log-on and engagement tendencies vary across Facebook user groups. To determine the optimal posting time for your targeted Facebook audience, you’ll need to experiment a little. Break from your regular posting schedule and see what results come of the change.

Use Facebook’s new features. Keeping up with Facebook’s near-constant changes can be challenging, but it’s a good idea to do so. When Facebook introduces a new feature, engagement with that new feature is highlighted in News Feeds over other Facebook interactions. So instead of waiting to gauge whether a new feature will be popular or not, use the feature when it’s launched to get more News Feed attention.

How to Choose an Image for the Best Post Engagement

Landing your Page’s content in the News Feed is a daunting task for Page Admins and marketers alike. However, the right kind of image can be your secret weapon. Images have proven time and again to be the most engaging form of media to post in a Status Update, provided the image meets a few parameters.

Show a human (or at least part of one). Pictures of a product on a white background are boring. So are logos. A logo can be used for a profile picture, but photos in posts should be conversation pieces. As clichéd as it might sound, Facebook has the word “face” in it for a reason. When displaying a product, show a happy customer using that product with a smile on his or her face. Remember that your Page’s posts are competing with the posts of your fans’ friends. Think of what attracts your attention when you scroll through your personal News Feed and translate that into a great photo post for your business.

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Use candid photos. Use nonprofessional photography — snapshots and candid photos. The less “staged” a photo is, the better. If your business is a t-shirt design company, snap some shots of your customers wearing your clothing while they’re hanging out with friends or cruising the town. The more natural the photo is, the more genuine it will come across. Most important, it will feel less like a sales pitch.

Have a good message. The photo might catch the eye, but the caption will trigger engagement. Strive for a short message – a single sentence, a question that fans can answer and interact with, or even a guessing game. For example, a t-shirt company can post a photo of a customer wearing one of its shirts at a popular spot in town and ask fans to guess where that person is hanging out. If a fan needs to click “read more” to see the rest of your post, then the post is too long. Short and sweet is the key.

Post photos that are likeable and shareable. Be creative with your photos – think outside the box. If you run a flower business, post photos beyond static images of different flowers. For example, you could post a photo of someone tasting a rose and ask, “Did you know rose petals are edible?” Then ask your fans if they’ve ever tried one. The more likeable and shareable your photo is, the more your fans will engage with it and share it with their friends.

Know your business. If your business offers services and not a product, you might have a little more difficulty reaching your audience through photography, but it’s not impossible. Think of interesting ways to show your data. Can you create a case study or infographic? Take your key information and build a graph or a themed chart. Surprising and interesting data can be just as intriguing as a really cool photo.

Tips for Writing a Facebook Post with the Perfect Call to Action

The phrasing and structure of a Facebook status update correlates strongly to how users will engage with a post. For the best post engagement, use a call to action (CTA). CTAs help inform and encourage users what to do next. For example, if the aim is to get users to watch a video your business posted on YouTube, an effective CTA will not only give information on how that can be done, it will inspire users to follow through with the action as well.

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Ask a question. The question you ask should speak directly to your target users’ needs, wants or interests. The more specific and detailed the question is, the better. You want the question to grab the attention of Facebook users. So whether it’s asking users if they’ve heard of an interesting statistic or if they prefer pancakes over waffles, the question should be quirky or bold enough to get users to pay attention.

Provide some information. Once you’ve asked a question, follow it up with some information. The most appealing of status updates are ones that offer the users something – it could be information or entertainment. Keep in mind though, if the objective is to direct users elsewhere (like your blog or website) don’t fully disclose everything valuable that you have to offer. You want to be informative, but just enough so that the user is motivated to seek out more information – aka click on your link.

Always provide a link. While we’re on the topic of links, be sure to provide one. Not all Facebook posts need a link, but the ones with CTAs often do–that is unless the purpose of your CTA is simply get users to Like or comment on a post. Use links in status updates when you want to direct
Facebook users to other content.

Keep it positive. This is good rule of thumb for all Facebook posts. When a user reads a Facebook post with a CTA, s/he should feel inspired and excited. These positive feeling bread engagement and sharing.

Don’t bother yourself with a word limit. It’s good to be to-the-point in Facebook posts, but limiting yourself to a certain character limit doesn’t always mean you’re being direct or effective. Just posting “Click here!” or “Take our survey!” with a link is not a strong enough call to action – nor is it a strong Facebook post.

Visuals always help. With CTAs especially, images can really complement and spearhead the success of a CTA. For instance, you can ask a question that relates to the image or provide a graphic that provides some knowledge to the user.

Now that you know the six rules for writing a Facebook post with a perfect call to action, here are two examples of how to rework a status update with a CTA. Hopefully these will spark some ideas for your next Facebook post.

Enjoy!

 

TOMORROW’S LESSON:
Facebook Marketing 301: Using Facebook Apps

 

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