There are on average 1,500 possible stories which are filtered through per day in an average Facebook user’s Newsfeed. However, only approximately 300 of those stories make it to a user’s Newsfeed! As a business, how do you begin to tackle that algorithm before your content is posted?
Well, like all algorithms (Google, Facebook, Twitter etc), there are certain things it likes and doesn’t like – it’s just knowing what these little details are before clicking that “Post” button! In this post I’m going to talk you through the do’s instead of the don’ts for businesses posting on Facebook.
Our #1 Rule
Don’t use third party applications to post to Facebook.
The most popular third party applications are Hootsuite and Buffer, which were designed to convenience the user who has to keep track of several social accounts. Hootsuite allows you to view your separate dashboards/newsfeeds in one place as well as posting to all of them at once with statuses and links. Buffer is a browser application that allows you to share a page that you like with all of your social sites at once. They’re incredibly useful tools for the busy marketer and/or business who don’t necessarily want to spend time on the social sites themselves but still want to provide a social presence.
It took us a little while to learn this rule as it’s not widely known, but the Facebook algorithm doesn’t like third party posters and doesn’t favour these particular posts. What we strongly suggest is if you know what you’re going to post, take the time and go to Facebook’s site itself and post it from there. We discovered that when we stopped posting from third party applications, our posts gained more organic reach, leading to more engagement.
#2 – Be visual
Use pictures, videos and links. Nobody likes reading a wall of text. With the progression of technology, we’ve become an impatient generation that wants to know what we’re reading/seeing/watching right there and then. Users are much more likely to scroll passed your big paragraph of text because nothing jumps out at them, no pictures, no links, no videos.
When possible, always make sure there is a picture with your post, the algorithm loves it, more fans will see it and connect with it and on average, posts with pictures receive interaction rates over 40% than average posts. Use relevant pictures related to your business and your industry to engage your audience.
Remember Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus bendgate? Every competitor visually used it to their advantage and other companies saw it as an opportunity as an advertising stunt whilst the #bendgate tag was trending. Samsung especially used a powerful image to not only connect with its loyal fan base but to further damage Apple’s reputation whilst they were in the middle of promoting their new Galaxy Note 3.
#3 – Remove your links
When you copy and paste a link into your status update, Facebook will automatically load a box below your actual status which features the content of the link you intend to share. There is a little task that some pages do forget to do, and that’s removing the original link that you’ve copied and pasted. The box below won’t disappear, Facebook knows that’s what you want to share.
The picture to the left shows what I mean by deleting the link after the box has loaded. Your update real estate is precious, and you want to ensure any characters employed are purely for the sake of sparking a reader’s attention.
#4 – Publish after working hours
As daft as it sounds, not many people spend much time on their favourite social sites during the day because they’re at work. They might check it on their lunch or when they get a few spare minutes but as a rule, it’s best practise to not post while your target audience is working.
Facebook does have its own scheduler that allows you to set a certain date and time for your posts and we would recommend using this service. The best time to post your updates on a week day are between 5pm and 8pm, where most people will be at home relaxing after a working day. The weekends are a lot more casual and we suggest that anything before 4pm would be more than fine.
#5 – Create conversation
It’s difficult to feel motivated about being social when you feel that no one likes what you’re posting. Lack of likes and comments can be fixed by trying to encourage conversation though. It also looks good to the strangers that stumble onto your page to see how engaging your content is with your fan base. Remember – with every fan you have, there’s the potential to reach at least 34 of their friends! Ask your audience to share their thoughts and feedback on your product and services. The example image to the right is from fruit and veg delivery service Abel & Cole‘s Facebook page who have a brilliant engagement rate.
If this is applicable to your business, then take on board your fans’ feedback and show them a new product or range that proves the business has listened to them. Posting content that shows you’ve taken on board their feedback really helps with building customer loyalty, proving you value their thoughts and ideas and they will feel a great sense of contribution.
#6 – Exclusive offers, promotions and competitions
Nothing says engagement like an offer/promotion/competition! There are brilliant examples of these all over Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of them. Paypal (image to left) had a brilliant offer, encouraging their fans and followers to comment on the picture, guessing the destination of the picture to win a free pair of return flights to a surprise destination. Take a look at the red boxes which highlights how much engagement they received for that one post.
Another commonly used tactic with the online shops is to share a discount code on your Facebook page (in the form of a lovely picture – don’t forget Rule #2!) and have that code exclusive to just your Facebook following. By singling them out and thanking them for following your brand, they feel valued and special.
#7 – Review your performance
When you’re an admin user for a Facebook page, you’re entitled to review the page’s performance through the Insights tab along the top of the page, below the search bar. Insights show you how many people you reach week by week, the amount of likes and interaction/engagement rates as well as how much reach was organic and how much was paid and how well each post update performed.
There is also a brilliant tab in the second menu that appears below the Insights page and if you click on Posts, it shows you what times your fans have been online on Facebook and how many there were. It’s a fantastic way to find out when the best time to post your updates are to maximise who can see them!