Likes on a Facebook page are the bread and button of post engagement. They’re the cheapest and most boring form of engagement. When a user likes your post, that post is displayed to their friends the same was as if they had shared it, only it doesn’t have quite the same reach or format. Likes also don’t operate as comments; they’re not discrete events you can respond to, so you can’t leverage them into more engagement in the form of a conversation. On the other hand, people are far more likely to like a post than they are to share or comment on it.
On the plus side, a post with a lot of likes will also likely have a lot of other engagement. It’s circulated and seen by a wide range of people, some of whom might even like your page just so they can comment on your post. It’s worth encouraging likes, you just need to know how to do it. Here’s a few ideas you can try.
Run a Facebook Contest
Contests are tricky. You can’t require a page like as an entry method these days, Facebook banned the practice. You also can’t run contests in the news feed via organic posts, it’s against the terms of service. Yes, a lot of people still do it, but they can get in trouble for it. You don’t want to get in trouble, do you?
You need to run a contest in a tab app, but that doesn’t mean you can’t post about it on your feed. People like posts about contests, and you can ask for likes on those posts in order to spread awareness of the contest. Just don’t insinuate or imply that you’re awarding those likes; that can count as paying for the likes, which is another TOS violation.
Run a quick promotion or coupon deal on Facebook. It doesn’t matter too much what it is; it could be a 5% or 10% discount, or a free minor bonus alongside a purchase, or anything else you can give out. The point is to make it time-sensitive. When your deal only runs for a few hours, you can then ask users to like it if they claimed it. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it gets a lot of minor engagement. You can even follow it up with another post later asking for feedback, what might make the deal better, if you should run another at another time, whatever. The exact question doesn’t matter; you’re just soliciting comments and conversation.
One tip that Wishpond likes is to add a like pop-up to your tab apps, no matter what purpose they serve. You aren’t like gating, but you are distracting users with a like pop. Users are often used to gates, so they may like your page thinking they have to in order to access your content. These get you page likes rather than post likes, but more followers means more exposure and more potential engagement, so it all works out.
Opinions vary on how often you should post, and how much of any given type of content you should post at a time. I can’t give you exact answers; you’ll have to experiment to figure out what works best for your business, your industry and your audience.
In general, you definitely need to be posting every day. However, you also need to minimize the number of direct sales and advertising messages you post in a given week. I recommend shooting for under three such messages in a given week, though you may be able to get away with more if you’re posting a lot.
The rest of your messages should be divided between non-sales talk for your brand building, and non-branded messages. Non-branded messages should outweigh the others, because you’ll be curating content from other sources. By bringing interesting industry content onto your page, you’re encouraging people to use your page as a resource. When they turn to you, they’ll like your posts.
Run Facebook Ads
Facebook ads can be very cheap, if you’re targeting properly. Run promoted posts – news feed ads – with audience targeting specifically to get your post in front of more of your followers. A simple infusion of a few dollars every day helps keep your reach high and your posts visible.
Try to avoid boosting posts mindlessly; the targeting is too broad and you’ll end up showing your posts to users who don’t want to see them. Instead, use a custom audience made up of your audience, with the addition of a lookalike audience or a friends-of-followers audience, if you choose.
Your goal with these ads is strictly visibility. As such, you want to make sure the posts you promote are your branded posts, even though you’re posting much more often with content that’s not branded. There’s no reason to pay actual money to promote content that pushes your users onto a website you don’t own, after all. Only pay to promote the content you create in the first place.
Experiment with Post Formats
Everyone has their own favorite types of posts, but some work better than others at attracting attention. Here are some post styles you can adapt to your industry.
- The Simple Solution. Offer a problem and then a solution in one post. “One little-known method for saving a wet tablet; bury it in rice!” Bonus points if you have a picture that illustrates the problem and solution in a clear manner.
- Caption This. Post a picture, ideally from your product or a recent event, and ask for captions. You can reward the best caption with some recognition from your brand, or you could have an actual prize attached.
- Fill in the Blank. Ask an open-ended question with a blank for users to fill out. Tie it in with your promotions or products in some way for added value.
- Nostalgia. If there’s anything the current generation of 20- and 30-somethings are into, it’s nostalgia for their childhoods. The 80s and 90s were, for many young adults, something of a golden age. Appeal to that nostalgia and win favor with the younger crowd.
Find post styles that work for you and use them. Try not to over-do them, though, lest you look transparent.