Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing tools local business owners can use. It’s a large, captive, active audience, with over 19 million Canadians on Facebook (14 million of whom are logging on at least once a day). Plus, 62% of millennials, the drivers of social business, follow at least one company on Facebook. The nature of how Facebook works – people sharing what they like with their friends – means your messages quickly reach people who don’t follow you but who might if they saw what you were publishing. Here are five rules for how to write effective Facebook posts people want to engage with.
1. Be anything but boring
Boring doesn’t work on Facebook. It’s too easy for your fans to scroll past boring – especially on a mobile device, which almost 400 million people use as their only way to access Facebook.
For example, if you’re a dry cleaner having a sale on men’s dress shirts, you could say something boring like:
Save 25% off men’s dress shirts this weekend, guaranteed by Sunday at 6 p.m.
Or you could have more fun trying to increase your Facebook engagement:
Mondays are better when your collar’s crisp. Save 25% off men’s dress shirts today, guaranteed back in your closet by Sunday.
Or appeal to busy people:
Start next week with a fatter wallet and a shorter to-do list. Save 25% off dress shirts this weekend and have them back in your closet by Sunday.
If you’ve got something a bit boring, don’t post it until you’re happy – once it’s out there, it’s out there for good, even if you delete it.
2. Keep your posts short
Ever heard of the acronym TLDR? It means “too long; didn’t read,” and it’s the last reaction you want to a post, because it means you wasted your time.
Facebook research shows that posts between 100 and 250 characters get 60% more “likes,” comments and shares than posts more than 250 characters,4 while posts shorter than 81 characters generated only 27% more engagement. That’s why the two “non-boring” examples above are a tad longer.
Of course, brevity often takes more time to accomplish than verbosity. But your audience will get the entire message, giving it a shot at being shared.
3. As a side note to this rule, we all have that person on our personal Facebook pages who posts outrageously long rants about who-knows-what. How often do you start reading and then move on because you're bored already? TLDR. Use images and video
According to KISS metrics, Facebook posts with photos get “liked” 53% more and generate a whopping 104% more comments than text-only posts.
Back to the dry cleaner: you could post before-and-after shots of a red wine stain to showcase your skills, or photos of happy customers.
Or if you’re a better dry cleaner than you are a photographer, you could post a video, such as a fantastic clip featuring the most famous dry cleaner in popular culture, George Jefferson, and write something fun:
There’ll never be a dry cleaner quite like him.
4. Stay regular and relevant
Someone “liking” your page is one half of a social contract: they’re saying they appreciate your content and want to see more of it. The other half is you continuing to publish. So if you’ve committed to posting once a day (which, according to most Facebook experts, is just about right), make sure you keep it up.
Create and maintain a content calendar so you can schedule your messaging, whether you post weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Write some posts in advance so you can work on not being boring (see “Be anything but boring,” above).
And if you’re holding yourself to one post a day, don’t waste it on content that won’t help further your business goals. If there’s a hockey game tonight, as the dry cleaner you might post:
Who’s watching Kings/Oilers tonight? Who’s going to win?
Or you could deliver the same core message and be much more relevant and fun:
Going to the Kings/Oilers tonight? Try the new Messy Nachos at the arena, and don’t worry if you spill a bit – it’s nothing our new CleanMaster 3000 can’t handle!
5. Pay for impressions once in a while
Not all of your fans will see every post you make – Facebook builds an algorithm into every user’s newsfeed to show them a random selection of posts in a given day.
If a post sets personal records for “likes,” comments and shares, you can pay Facebook to “boost” it to have even more of your fans see it, or you can target “lookalike audiences” – people who aren’t fans but who share similar qualities as your fans. As a dry cleaner, your lookalike audience would be friends of your friends who live in the same neighbourhood (information many Facebook users readily share on their profiles).
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