First, we want to preface by saying that Facebook really does care about user experience, which is why they focus so strongly on how to balance your news feed with content you want and ads that they need (remember, they are a business!). They do a lot of testing and get real user feedback (rumor has it there about 700 reviewers called Facebook’s “Feed Quality Panel”) to determine what to change and how to build a better news feed. This is why things change so frequently…….if there is one thing constant about Facebook – it is change.
This post is a follow up to our post about Understanding Facebook Insights – if you are not familiar with insights, we do suggest reviewing that post first as it will help you better understand what is or is not working on your existing Facebook page.
Before we get to the good stuff – we want to make one strong statement! WRITE FOR YOUR READERS NOT AN ALGORITHM! This applies to any social outlet or even Google – in today’s world it is about delivering the right content to your reader to keep them engaged!
Think about it – when was the last time you jumped on Facebook to buy something or to see what a brand you are following is up to? Yeah, we have not lately either! Your job as a brand — is to build a relationship! Find ways to connect and to create a level of trust so that people will WANT to buy from you, SUPPORT your brand or HIRE YOU for your service because they trust you and enjoy your posts.
DISCLAIMER: Everything below are articles we have read – things we have tried and ideas from various seminars we have attended. Some we have tested and some we have not. We will do our best to keep this page updated as things change as they often will! There is no EXACT science ot list of “TO DO’s” to give you immediate Facebook success – it is too variable for each page. This post is meant to make you think about different ways to approach your Facebook marketing and how important testing is.
1) THINK ABOUT YOUR FACEBOOK OBJECTIVES & GOALS
When you write Facebook posts – you should realize that different types of posts have different objectives and results. This is important when you are putting your social plan together.
Posts with Images – typically result in higher engagement with shares, comments and likes.
Video Posts – you hope will result in readers watching the video in full and then possibly clicking through to a designated location if you are using a call to action.
Sharing Blog Posts from Your Website – you will probably want readers to click back to your website to read your full post.
Text Only Updates – with these you should try to achieve as much commenting as possible. By asking questions and generating conversation you can improve reach and build a better sense of community.
2) FACEBOOK – THE FACTORS THAT MATTER
What people see at the top of their news feed is largely (but not entirely) dependent on what they have clicked, liked or commented on in the past. A recent update (February 2016) will look at the probability that a person will want to see the post AND that the person will want to engage with the post with a like, comment or share.
TIME SPENT READING STORIES
Facebook is now evaluating how people scroll through their streams to determine the types of stories people want to see. When someone stops in a news feed to read more from a post – Facebook knows! Even if they do not like, comment or share the post – Facebook will know that they stopped to read it and will take that as a signal that they are interested in that content. (source: Facebook – July 2015}
DONT ASK FOR LIKES, SHARES or COMMENTS
Even though this warning has been out for a long time – we still see a lot of it! NEVER ask for readers to like, share or comment on a post. Facebook will know and it is a trigger for their spam filter. It used to be that when others like your content that their friends would see that they liked it – this was a big reason why so many brand managers wanted to increase likes – but Facebook themselves have said that they have lessened this type of post from showing in the news feed. So if someone likes your post – their friends will no longer necessarily see it anyone. You want people to like posts or make comment because they LIKE YOUR CONTENT!
You can be creative here though and use terms like “can you relate?”, “who’s excited?” or other phrases the try to get your readers to engage! (sources: Entrepreneur – April 2014 / Facebook – April 2015)
PROMOTIONAL OR SALES FOCUSED POSTS CAN DECREASE ORGANIC REACH
And this makes sense! Pages are about sharing great content – not pushing products or services. If your post focuses on “click here to buy”, “download now”, “enter to win” or any other promotional type post – you can be risking your organic reach.
Here is an example of what Facebook would consider a promotional post. This would be an organic post that the page made – these days you should see less and less of these types of post unless they are Facebook Ads. (source: Facebook – November 2014)
If you are creating videos and linking to them on Facebook from YouTube – you are doing yourself a disservice! With Facebook’s introduction of video upload – you should be posting your videos directly to Facebook and sharing from there. View the study done by Search Engine Journal that showed hands down that native videos increase reach and engagement over linked YouTube videos.
3) FACEBOOK – OTHER FACTORS THAT ARE RUMORED TO HELP
POST AT OFF PEAK HOURS
We know, it sounds contradictory – but by posting during peak hours, you are risking your messaging not being seen because of the amount of competition for newsfeed space. John Loomer did an interesting study and found posting at non-peak hours boosted engagement. Now keep in mind this kind of testing is tough because he has a very international audience which can result in much different results!
It has been said that there is an Algorithm that can trigger a positive or negative reaction from Facebook in regards to post content.
NEGATIVE: sign-up now, click here, enter to win, buy now, free
POSITIVE: congratulations, love, sex, champion
Now – we recently did a post using the word “congratulations” and it only had a 2% engagement for us – but rumor has it that it is when it is in the comments that it gets the boost.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: remember when these types of tips come up that can help improve your Facebook experience, Facebook will find out quick and will revert these tips as quickly as they put them in place! If something worked well even 2 weeks ago – it might now work well tomorrow.
LINK POSTS ARE STILL TOP DOG
When you add a post and create a link to a page – these are still shown to be the top types of post that get the most reach. Although as you can see in the below – videos get more clicks. This is why it is critical to test and to align your FB posts to a variety of different types.
POST CONTENT LENGTH MATTERS
Your posts should have a variety of content post lengths. It has been said that those with less than 40 characters perform better – but Non Profit Marketing Guide did a study and also found that really engaging long posts with over 280 characters had higher click through. You should definitely test this to see what your fan base prefers!
DONT JUST SHARE CONTENT – ACTUALLY WRITE CONTENT
This was one tip we received that I was very hesitant to use. A good example is a meme – if you see one you love you may just share it with your fans and that is that. But it has been recommended that you actually download that meme – and then add it is an image to a post – then TAG the original creator.
The first time (and actually only time) we tried this – we did exceptionally well as you can see below.
4) FACEBOOK RESOURCES
Sharegrab is a pretty cool software that will show you the most shared content for up to 5 pages you add to your dashboard. So you can add your page and 4 of your competitors pages and it will give you some of the top posts that are being shared or commented on in Facebook. You can use these posts on your page with a tag to the rightful owner and get ideas for your own content.
PostPlanner is another great tool that we just started using ourselves that will help you find content and allow you to share it right from their planner. You can search by topic or hashtag – even your competitors and see what has been really successful for them and share it to your readers! If you are out of ideas – it is a great tool! Do a quick search for a coupon code – we grabbed the base package for $60 for the year – money well spent!
Fan Page Karma is a neat tool that shows you your social success and analyzes important factors like best time to post, types of posts and even competitor overview.
4) SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA ASK!
When all else fails there is a feature that can have your readers getting notifications of your new posts as well as to give them the option to see your posts first in their news feed.
But, you kinda have to ask because many are not aware it is an option!
Just ask them to go to your page and hit the like so it drops down and shows these options! Then, they will never miss a post!
Jill Caren brings over 12 years of WordPress and SEO experience to help you improve and grow your website. She has spoken at several events on SEO and has been published in several top SEO publications. You can contact Jill here.