After your customers and prospects have liked your Facebook Page, your next challenge is to establish relationships with them. This is important because the better the relationship you have with your followers, the more likely it is that they will engage with you on the platform.
When your fans engage with your content through likes, shares and comments, Facebook will recognize that you have a relationship with those users, and this will influence the placement of your content in their News Feed.
User engagement on your post will also influence how many other people see that post. The more users that interact with a post, the more users will see that post in their News Feed.
Developing a Facebook Content Strategy
A Facebook content strategy is typically used to define what type of content to post on your Page, when to post it, and how to evaluate its effectiveness. The better the content you share with your followers at optimal times, the more often your fans will interact with your content. This means you’ll be able to get into more of your followers’ News Feed.
When executing a content strategy, your aim should be to have two-way conversations rather than simply broadcasting messages at them. No matter how relevant or compelling your content, if you are not actively interacting with your followers, people will not be fully engaged with your brand, and you will find it difficult to build relationships or convert those followers into customers.
An effective content strategy will:
- provide you with clear guidelines for what type of content to produce;
- Identify the most optimal times to post;
- keep your fans and other connections engaged with your content by generating likes, comments and shares.
- help you plan and write for your intended audience more effectively.
Following are important elements to incorporate into your content strategy.
- You need to understand the problems, needs, and challenges of your target audience. This will ensure that you produce content that is relevant to their needs.
- You need to know what type of content is resonating with your followers so that you can focus on producing similar content around those topics
- You need to find out the most optimal times for you to post on Facebook.
- You need to know what your target audience want to talk about and be willing to engage in those conversations.
- You need to achieve a balance between informative and fun posts like images, videos, etc.
Optimizing For the Facebook News Feed Algorithm
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm means that success with your Facebook page is not simply about increasing fan or follower numbers. More importantly, it is about how many of your fans are able to see and engage with your content.
The fact is, unless you pay attention to your News Feed algorithm, the majority of your fans and friends may never see your status updates. Fostering engagement with your fans should be your priority as this will be the only way to organically get into as many News Feeds as possible.
How to Get the Best Engagement for Your Content:
Post at optimal times.
This strategy will optimize for the time decay, last actor and global interactions factors of the News Feed algorithms. The time decay factor is based on how long its been since you posted it, so by posting relevant content at optimal times, you ensure that your new posts replace the older posts.
Best days and times to post
There are countless studies that claim to show the best days of the week and times of the day to post on Facebook and other social media platforms. Most of these studies conflict with one another, and you cannot really rely on them to determine the best times to post for your own Page, because every Page is different.
For example, according to research by Buddy Media’s, the best times to post on Facebook appears to be on Thursdays and Fridays. However, another study by Buffer found that engagement was 32% higher on weekends than on weekdays.
The fact is, our businesses and audiences are different, their behaviors and habits are different, and our niches are very different from those used in the above studies.
Instead of relying on other people’s data, it is important to do your own testing through Facebook Insights to find the most optimal times for your own audiences because you do want to take advantage of the high traffic times and days. Facebook Insights is covered in the final chapter of this book.
If your page is relatively new and you don’t have much data to work with, you may want to follow the general guidelines based on research that has been carried out in the past. You’ll want to start out by posting every day of the week until you have enough data to identify the most optimal times for your own situation.
However, for your most important updates there is general agreement that posting towards the end of the week tends to get the most attention and engagement. Again, it all depends on your business because for the travel and leisure industry, the best engagement appears to be on Mondays mornings when people probably roll into work and suddenly decide they need a vacation.
So the key here is that, besides not letting our personal bias skew the data, we also need to recognize the prevailing trends in our industry.
According to research carried out by link shortening and tracking service bit.ly, links sent between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. get the most traction, with Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. being the best time to post on Facebook all week. This research also found that links posted after 8:00 p.m. and before 8:00 a.m. on Facebook don’t get the most clicks.
“While traffic starts to increase around 9:00 a.m., one would be wise to wait to post until 11am,” bit.ly said in a blog post on its site. “Traffic from Facebook fades after 4:00 p.m.”
If you do have a thousand fans or more, posting four to five times a day actually is good practice, and the reason being is that not all your fans are going to see that post every time you post.
How to Create Content That Fans Will Share
You main objective is to create posts that your audience will like, comment on or share. These three actions are very important on Facebook, because this is what increases your engagement and gets you in the News Feed of your followers and fans.
When a user sees your posts, everyone has an option to do one of three things:
- They can engage with the post and click the top right corner to get notifications from you. This is exactly what you want because it means the next time you post, those users will see your content in their News Feed.
- They click the top right corner and choose to embed the post. This is another great outcome because it also means they like the content you’ve shared with them, and they will continue to see your content in their News Feed.
- They do not like your content, and actually feel spammed. Consequently, they click the top right corner, and hide the post, mark it as spam or unfollow your page. You don’t want any of this to happen.
This is why every single post is extremely important. Just one bad post your followers don’t like could make a lot of users stop following you. You don’t want that to happen.
Following are tips for creating shareable content.
- Is relevant to your audience. It is particularly important that the content you share on Facebook is relevant to your target audience. This means that you need to really understand the demographics and psychographics of your target audience on the platform so that you can produce content that will resonate with them. Before posting any content, ask yourself the following questions: does the content address your audience’s needs, challenges or problems? Based on what you know about your audience, does it inform, educate, inspire or entertain your intended audience? does it motivate the user in some way? does it showcase your brand or add a positive spin in some way?
- Provide special offers and discounts. Savvy marketers are effectively leveraging discounts, special offers, and giveaways to attract Facebook fans through ads that offer something of perceived value for very little effort on the member’s part such as clicking the like button. If you are developing a promotion, make sure the offer is something that is relevant to, and will interest your followers.
- Encourage people to interact with your posts by not only liking, but actually commenting and sharing them. Since comments have more weighting, that is what you should be aiming for. When you publish a post, ask questions that encourage some type of interaction with your post. Make a comment, and ask people what they think, or if they agree with your comment. Ask them to share the post with their friends. Every action your fans take will improve the Affinity score of the EdgeRank algorithm and this will increase the number fans that see your post in their News Feed.
- Aim to educate, entertain, inspire or inform. If you are a small business, no more than 5-10 percent of the content that you post should be promotional. And this should be only after you have built some rapport with your target audience, and they are familiar with your brand and the content you produce. This is an example of a promotional post: “Discover how to use blogging to attract customers and quickly grow your business.”
- Question posts tend to attract more comments. According to an infographic by Kissmetrics, posts that include questions get 100% more comments than standard text-based posts. HubSpot shares a similar finding, although this data points out that question posts often get fewer likes and shares than other types of posts. HubSpot’s data also shows which question words attract more comments, with the most popular being ‘should,’ ‘would,’ ‘which,’ and ‘who.’ This means that closed questions which do not require much effort by users tend to attract the most comments. On the other hand, open question words like ‘why’ and ‘how’ which make the user think more do not do quite as well.
- Ask questions at the end of the post. If you are looking for engagement, asking questions at the end of your post, not at the beginning, have a 15% higher overall interaction rate and a two times higher comment rate than those with a question asked in the middle of the post.
- Include topics not related to your niche. From time to time, you should post topics that your fans are interested in but are not related to your niche. For example, you may find out through Graph Search that a lot of your fans are interested in Yoga. So, once in a while, you can include a great post about Yoga. Your fans and followers will surely appreciate this.
- Let your fans know where you are sending them. If you are sharing a link with your fans, do not use a shortened link. Let people read the title of the post and the name of the site you are sending them to.
- Photo posts should form the majority of your posts. According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. Wishpond’s data says that overall, photo posts get 120% more engagement than the average post, and photo albums actually get 180% more engagement. Using images to teach people how to perform certain functions that are relevant to the user is a great way to use content on your Facebook page.
- Keep it short and sweet. Relevant studies by Buffer indicate that keeping your posts below 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement than you might otherwise see. According to research by Buddy Media, posts with 80 characters, receive 23% higher interaction than longer posts.
- Demonstrate knowledge and expertise. One way to garner trust among your target audience is by establishing yourself as an authority or expert in your niche. Build a reputation for yourself that demonstrates your expertise, and make that the brand image you choose to display on Facebook.
- Use emoticons in your posts. According to this AMEX OPEN Forum infographic, emoticons can make a big difference to your engagement rates. No only do posts with emoticons get 33% more comments, they also get shared 33% more often. Even better: they get liked 57% more often than posts without emoticons.
Consider the following points to plan your posting strategy.
- Post updates to your page two, three, four or more times a day.
- Create a list of ten topics that you can easily post about on your Facebook page.
- Curate content in your niche to add value.
- Mix up media and use blog posts, video, audio, photos, etc.