Facebook is unquestionably all about the engagement. You want to connect with your fans on a deep, visceral level. Well, maybe not quite that deep, but deep. You need them to understand that you’re just as human as they are, that you’re worth their trust, that if you vouch for the product you’re selling, they can be assured that it’s safe.
Write a Compelling Headline
The headline of your post may not be the first thing the user sees if they read from the top down, but it’s still pretty important. In fact, most people don’t read from the top down; they skim. Most of the content you write is wasted effort. Your headline, being the largest piece of text, is the first thing they’re going to read. The image draws their eye, the headline explains it, the post puts it in context, and the linked article provides the information in totality.
Under that hierarchy, your headline is the most important bit of text you can write on Facebook. Of course, that headline comes from the blog post. You’ll need to make sure you keep Facebook in mind when you write, so you don’t write a title so long it’s cut off at an awkward point.
Make Your Information Exclusive
When a reader just reads your post, they have no way of knowing whether the information they see is exclusive or not. If you’re posting the information – or coupons, or contests, or deals, or giveaways – on every network and every site you own, you’re not encouraging anyone to stick around on Facebook.
By providing content on Facebook and Facebook only, you’re telling your Facebook audience that they’re valuable to you. They’ll thank you on Facebook, they’ll like and share your Facebook posts, they’ll generally have a good excuse to be on Facebook to monitor your brand.
Customize Your Preview Description
The description for your posts can be customized in that post’s meta tags. Specifically, you’ll want to use one of Facebook’s open graph attributes. By customizing the description, you’re essentially creating an ad out of your content. A linkbait description, a hint at what’s to come, is often far better than the alternative.
What’s the alternative? In this case, it’s the first two or three sentences of your post itself, cut off in the middle of a sentence. Truncated descriptions do you no favors; customize your description to fit.
Use a Compelling Image
Once again, your image is by far the most important part of your post. It’s like the cover of a book, except your users can and will definitely judge your post by it. You need a compelling image, preferably one that somehow ties in to the title for maximum effect.
Once again, you can customize this using Facebook’s open graph attributes. If you don’t customize it, you’re going to end up with Facebook picking one of the images on your post, and that image might not be the one you want. With the customization, you can even use an image not actually present in the post.
Make Sure the Image is Mobile Friendly
This is just a side tip, tying into the image thing. Over half of Facebook’s audience is using the mobile app, so you can’t afford to let them slip by. Part of what you do to capture their attention is make sure your image fits in with their devices. An image that has too much detail or is too large or small will render poorly, making it difficult to recommend your post. Mobile users simply won’t click through.
Write Interesting Supplemental Text
The supplemental text, or the post itself, can be important too. It adds context to the whole situation. If you have a picture of a dog, and a title about breeds of dogs, and a link description of your article about the most popular dog breeds, your post itself can spin off.
Instead of reiterating the title or a question from the description, go with something entirely new. Ask your readers what their favorite breed is. Ask them if they hate selective breeding, or ask them to share their breeder stories. See a common theme? Ask your users something in the post.
Remove the Link
This tip is probably the simplest one on this page, and yet it’s one so few people realize is possible.
When you paste a link to a site in a Facebook submission box, Facebook will leap into action generating a preview from that link. It will include title, description and image, with the latter two formed from the open graph tags if they exist.
When you paste that link, let Facebook generate the preview. Once that’s done, remove the link. The preview remains, and the image, the title and the description are all links to the piece. You don’t need yet another link in the description above. Simply put, it makes everything cleaner.
Keep a Positive Tone
Fear and anger, hate and sorrow; these are all contagious emotions. If you wrote a post about how you’re sad that your dog died, you’re going to make the days of everyone you see a little sadder.
Thankfully, happiness is typically contagious as well. Happy users, meanwhile, are better at engaging with your page. They aren’t frustrated, tired or angry. They’ll be more likely to like your posts, share them or comment on them.
By keeping your posts positive, you may miss an opportunity to be a fearmonger and gain the temporary publicity that comes with the job. On the other hand, you’ll have a happier and healthier userbase, based on mutual respect rather than fear or anger.
Be Available for Comment Responses
Whether you post immediately after writing or schedule your posts weeks in advance, you need to be available when they go live. The reason for this is so that you can respond to user comments for the first 30-60 minutes after the post is made. This way, if your link is broken or you make a typo, you can fix it immediately. You can respond to questions and comments sent your way. You can, generally, be a part of the community.
Try Out Engaging Post Formats
There are a ton of different types of posts you can create to foster engagement. Try out one of these:
- Picture posts, particularly album posts with enough pictures to occupy fans for a long time.
- Fill in the blank posts, which leave a ____ to be filled by your users.
- Questions, which can be answered in the comments, and which are good to pair with other types of comment.
- Inspirational quotes, which help keep your users feeling informed and inspired.
- Holiday posts, which riff off of whichever holiday is in effect, for themed content.
- Polls, which can give you a great amount of information for comparatively little work.
Test out different kinds of posts and see which work best with your audience. It will be both audience influenced and subject influenced, so bear in mind that a post about a trending topic in a bad format will still receive better traffic than a post in a good format but with bad information.