Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Getting More Engagement on Facebook

When it comes to getting massive amounts of engagement and clickthroughs on your content, there's no place like Facebook. Sure, you can get something to go viral on Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon or any of these other social sharing platforms. But there's a fine line between what makes it and what breaks it on any of them. Because those are all community driven sites, submitting links to your own website or blog while it may seem like a good idea to you, often comes across as spam to others.

Facebook on the other hand is a different story.

With Facebook, it's almost expected that you're going to keep pushing content to your own domain (although it certainly isn't the only thing you should do). And the best part about Facebook over social sharing websites like Reddit is that you can build up your own audience and keep delivering great content to the same people by having your own Facebook page. Facebook essentailly becomes your social media mailing list. But now more than ever, especially with Facebook having converted to its timeline format - there is a very fine line between what kind of social posts will make it, and what kind will not.

An example of a good Facebook post. Simple text that asks a question, a catchy image and fantastic engagement.
Here's what you need to know.

First of all, just because someone has clicked "Like" on your page doesn't mean they are going to see your post! Facebook has a complicated algorithm that determines who sees what. Think about it - how many friends do you have on your personal Facebook account? Are you seeing updates from all of them? Probably not. What you're most likely seeing is updates by the people you interact with the most. People you give likes to or who give like to you. People whose page you visit and people whose posts you interact with.

Actually, this isn't even the only thing that determines how and what you see. Relationship updates typically have a high priority in your news feed regardless of whether or not you interact with that person. Also, posts with images will typically show up higher in your feed than links; or worst of all - text only posts.

An example of a bad Facebook post. Hashtags, there could easily be an image. And it has poor grammar.

And all of the same applies to Facebook pages. So your feed doesn't get bombarded with posts from all of the pages you give a "Like" to, Facebook only shows you content from pages you have recently interacted with. For page managers, this is a problem. Luckily, there are some best practices you can implement in order to ensure that the people who "Like" your page, actually see your content.

13 Best Practices for Facebook Postings

  1. Post frequently, because the more often you post the more chances people have to engage with your content and therefore see your posts in their news feed. Once a day is a good rule of thumb, but two or more can be great as well.
  2. Post fun "always-on" content! This is the type of stuff that people are going to want to click "like, share" and leave a comment on. It's the fun engaging stuff that may not necessarily be about your brand or your website but will drive up engagement on your page and keep the conversation going.
  3. Use an image for your posts. Facebook converted to Timeline because they realized things were going very image-heavy and wanted to capitalize on that. Posts with images show up higher in the news feed than posts without images.
  4. Find posting times that work best for you. There will be a huge difference in the traffic you get if you post at 1pm versus 1am. Obviously you don't want to be posting that early in the morning but experiment and find out what gets you more likes, 1pm or 3pm?
  5. Have a weekly feature. For instance, Telus used to have TELUS Tuesday where they partnered with other companies for special discounts on Tuesday and even had their own hashtag. If you don't want to give discounts then you can always do something fun like "Lifehack Thursday". Having a weekly feature gives people something to look forward to - especially if it becomes fun and popular.
  6. Don't be too wordy. People have short attention spans and information is everywhere. Get their attention with a nice catchy title for your post and keep it simple. This goes for images too. Images are meant to be images. Not a place to put more text.
  7. Make your posts through Facebook. Don't use a third party app like Hootsuite to manage your Facebook postings. Do everything through Facebook itself, there's even a scheduler option for pages now! Facebook likes you using them and will penalize your postings in the news feed if you go through a third party app.
  8. Talk like a human being. People don't want to read your mission statement. Posts that show there's a human behind the brand put everybody on the same level.
  9. Ask questions in your posts. I'm sure that there are stats out there that show how much more likely people are to engage with your post if you ask them a question. I can definitely tell you from my own personal experience managing several large pages that this is certainly the case.
  10. Use a URL shortener. Whether it's a bit.ly, an owl.ly or any other shortened link - it just looks more professional. Similarily...
  11. Don't use hashtags in your Facebook post. Seriously, Facebook and Twitter are two very different places and it's very annoying to #see #hashtags #on #Facebook. It looks horrible and doesn't do anything.
  12. Link to pages and people that you mention. Did you know that you can tag other Facebook pages by typing @Page Name? (I just learned you can do this on Blogger too apparently). The page you are linking to will get a notification that they've been linked to when you do this. Who knows, they may come visit and you might get some new page likes! As a page manager you can not link to individual Facebook fans in your post - only other pages.
  13. Pay for advertising. Facebook has three types of advertising options, regular ads (like the ones you see on the right side of your profile), sponsored stories (Your friend liked this page! Maybe you should too?), and sponsored posts which make it more likely for people who haven't recently interacted with your page to see your latest posting. A few hundred dollars can easily result in quite a few hundred extra page likes and is one of the easiest ways of getting them. What you do with those page likes at that point is up to you.
That's it! Follow these best practices and you will see an improvement on your Facebook engagement. Happy socializing!

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