Driving likes and shares on Facebook has become very important from an SEO standpoint because the search engines are now using engagement metrics to determine what is relevant. The “Building Buzz on Facebook” workshop at SMX West 2012 featured a panel of experts delivering great, implementable strategies for businesses on Facebook.
Best Practices for Posting on Facebook to Encourage Shares and Likes:
- Keep posts short. Posts under 80 characters have 30% higher engagement rates than longer posts . There is a direct correlation between post length and user interaction. This is especially true for photos and videos, which perform best when paired with a status of under 40 characters.
- Post on Thursday and Friday. Engagement is 18% higher on these days than other days of the week. Saturday and Sunday have the lowest engagement rates on posts.
- Photo and plain status posts perform the best. Photo posts have a 53% higher engagement rate than other types of content.
- Include a clear call to action. One thing social media users are good at is taking direction. Instructions such as “like this” or “comment” tend to get results.
- Sell softly. Direct and aggressive posts that are worded as sales pitches don’t work well. Choose your words wisely.
- Place questions at the end of the post. Many users will phrase a question and then follow it up with a statement of some sort. Try reversing the order of your post structure. Posts that end with a question have a 15% higher engagement rate.
- Ask the right questions. Questions that begin with where, when, would, and should perform better than questions that begin with why. One of the leading theories behind this is that when you ask a user why, you are asking them to think about more and justify what they are saying. That’s too much work for your average social media user.
- Use fill in the blank posts. These types of posts have a comment rate that is 9 times higher than other types of posts. Another added benefit is that when you ask your fans to fill in the blank, you can find out more information about what appeals to them and apply that to future marketing efforts.
- Be topical and relevant. A great example of this is the Super Bowl. Super Bowl posts had a 60% higher engagement a week before the big game even amongst companies that were not sports related. On game day, the engagement was 99.7% higher. However, less than 30% of brands posted about it.
The key takeaways here are to keep your posts simple, include calls to action, be wary of what you are asking of the user and to keep in mind that the most influential and successful users on Facebook are passionate about their products. Aaron Friedman, one of the speakers on this panel, said it best: “If your product is life insurance, don’t talk about insurance, talk about life.” Go for quality over quantity of content and you remember that social media is about connecting with your users and building brand awareness. This is the consumers’ platform, we as businesses are connecting with them.
Contributed by Cassie Vignieri, eStrategist