February 7, 2013

One of the biggest questions people ask me is what should they post on Facebook. A good Facebook post can increase engagement, drive traffic to the company's website, boost brand awareness, or generate a sales lead. A great Facebook post can do a combination of these things.

So what makes a great Facebook post? What can we do to create the best content for our audience? Here are some tips.

Make It Valuable

Facebook posts need to be something unique and valuable to the reader. There is so much content out there now that in order to generate a response, the post needs to be worthy of the reader's time and input. Providing industry-related information that benefits the reader (do-it-yourself tips, money-saving tips, news sharing, trending topics, etc.) is a great way to make our pages must-reads. Make posts fun and witty - if it made them laugh, they will want to share it with others. Just be wary of jokes or sensitive topics that can be read as insensitive or controversial.

Use a Call-to-Action

If we want people to share our post, just ask them to. If we want people to like our post, ask them to. If we want people to comment, ask them to. It's just that simple! Use phrases like "Share this post if you agree", "Like this post to show your support", "Tell us your thoughts in the comments". A simple call-to-action reminds the readers to engage. Using these simple phrases can drastically increase the engagement responses.  Just be sure to use this technique in moderation - don't put these on every single post.

Keep It Clean & Simple

Make text based posts easy to read. Break up paragraphs for longer content. Keep content to less than 500 characters. Anything longer than that should be shared as a link to an article, blog, or website. When using links in Facebook posts, pasting the link into the content automatically generates an attachment with the link title, thumbnail, and description. Once this is attached to the post, go back and delete the hyperlink in the text. This cleans up the text section, making it clean and easy to read while still providing the reader with access to the Facebook generated link detail.

Use Pictures

They say a picture says a thousand words. So save the 1000 words and use a picture! Facebook has released numerous statistics that show that images generate more shares and likes than text-based posts. Keep in mind that people love babies and animals - if we can find ways to incorporate stock images or company-provided photos with these things, engagement rates increase even more.

Use Images Instead of Text

If the text is simple, maybe a quote or tip-of-the-day, put it in a graphic rather than just text. Use a colored background and a great font for the message. If you don't have Photoshop, you can use PowerPoint to create a slide with the text and then save the slide as a JPEG - it's that easy. This trick makes content easy to share - and more likely to be shared.

Make It Personal

One of the best aspects of Social Media is that is gives us the chance to interact directly with the customer. A great way to do this is to give them an inside look at the company. Post pictures of the team members at work, provide photos of the manufacturing process, use "sneak-peek" images of upcoming releases, show the employees dressed up for holiday celebrations. Just don't overdo it with too much information - listing individual birthdays or personal information is inappropriate for company Facebook pages.

Ask For Input

If the company is looking to change something, ask the audience for input. Are you looking for opinions on a new logo, adding a new item to the cafeteria vending machine, picking new uniforms, determining the sequence of a new commercial, looking for new product ideas? Whatever it is, putting it out there for the community to contribute is a great way to generate conversation while also providing brand loyalty. Those that contribute to the question will be anxious to see the results and are likely to become significant brand advocates if they feel their input contributed to the overall outcome. Fill-in-the-blank posts and polls are also a great way to encourage followers to respond.

Focus On Seasonal or Thematic Events

This is a great, easy tip for generating content year round. Piggy-backing on a popular theme generates additional levels of engagement. The first day of summer, the Academy Awards, a movie release, a sports play-off season, a political season, holidays, etc. All of these make for great posting options. Just be careful to keep the posts related to the company's overall brand and industry and avoid controversial statements.

Use Teasers

If you are releasing a new product or have an event coming up, tease the audience with "2 more weeks!" or "the countdown is on!". Hyping the event prior to its actual date will increase anticipation and remind the audience to come back on the actual event date. The reminders and awareness will draw in more engagement when the event occurs.

When looking to generate content for your Facebook page, look at what makes you and other team members engage online. Brainstorm on ideas and topics that will generate the most relevance and then determine ways to make that information sharable and valuable to the audience.

It is important to remember to keep Facebook posts true to the overall message and goal of the company and its Social Media strategy. Going viral doesn't do any good if it doesn't achieve a goal.

Do you have any other tips that make Facebook posts great? If so, put them in the comments below. I'd be happy to hear them.

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