7-minute read

Ah, Facebook! Ever since it graced us with its presence in 2004, it changed the way we communicate with others, consume news, do business, and I’d go as far as to say, how we live in general.

It’s 2017 and having a Facebook business Page is a must. With 1.94 billion monthly active users, and millions of photos and videos being shared every day, simply having a presence on Facebook is not enough to reach your target audience.

But what does it take to be successful on Facebook?

Truth be told, no one really knows.

Not much is set in stone on how to create the perfect Facebook post, but there are common patterns and factors that come into play with some of the best ones, which, repeated over an extended period of time, can bring a certain degree of success (reach and engagement) to the individual or business sharing them.

Let’s take a closer look at the four key elements that will help set your Facebook posts up for success.

 

What are the four characteristics of the perfect Facebook post?

1. It is brief but compelling

Think about it, if you were scrolling through your timeline, would the sight of a big wall of text entice you to read more?

Studies have shown that posts with fewer characters produce better results. According to Jeff Bulas and multiple other publications, the ideal length of a Facebook post is 40 characters, but most brand updates seem to be slightly longer than this.

Each Facebook post you publish should be creative and straight to the point.

Keep in mind that Facebook users have wised up to clickbait phrasing. Avoid the played-out headlines like “You’ll never guess why…” or “This one trick…”. In addition to turning your audience off, Facebook will block these posts thanks to its newly developed an anti-clickbait algorithm.

When you’re sharing a link to your Page, Facebook allows you to edit the link title and description. Use this feature to switch up the copy and tell a story with each status update you publish. Facebook’s link advert best practices can show you how, so check them out.

The world is becoming increasingly visual, so make sure to include images and videos to liven up your Facebook posts whenever possible. Humans process visual information faster than text, and you only have a second or two to make a strong impression that will make the user stop scrolling through their News Feed.

The above post by RadioShack ticks all the boxes: it has an interesting image, a compelling headline and a good call-to-action (CTA).

Video streaming services like Facebook Live are becoming increasingly popular on social networks and have shown to boost engagement when done well. You might ask why, but it’s simple. Live video gives businesses the ability to provide a more personal experience to their viewers, in real-time.

Since being introduced in 2016, companies of various industries are taking full advantage of the opportunities Facebook Live presents. Dunkin’ Donuts was one of the first mainstream brands to use it to the full effect. Around Valentine’s Day 2016 they shot a live stream video giving their followers a behind-the-scenes look into their kitchen.

Within 13 minutes, the live stream had 21,000 views. This ended up being one of the most popular videos they had ever released. It just goes to show how compelling a live stream can be. In addition to displaying an inside perspective, you can use live video for broadcasting events, product demonstrations, interviews or Q&A’s.

Lastly, companies with physical addresses would be wise to allow location tagging on their profiles. Doing so can serve as a powerful user-generated endorsement, as well as provide directions and store information to help new customers find your business.

With everything you publish, craft it in the mindset of the average user. What type of posts would you click on if you were in their shoes? What information would make the experience easier and more enjoyable?

If you need some inspiration for what your target audience is talking about or looking for, take advantage of social media monitoring. For instance, Sendible’s social listening tools enable you to gauge what users are saying about your brand, competitors, or the industry as a whole with the help of keyword monitoring. Engaging with trending topics in your niche is a great way to get noticed.

Use social media monitoring to learn more about your audience

 

2. It drives customers to take an action

If you’re running an e-commerce business, integrating your store with social media is a must. Most present-day e-commerce platforms like Shopify help you take retail beyond your website, and make it simple for followers to browse your online catalog without leaving Facebook.

If most of your posts are centered around promoting products or services that lead to your website, make sure that it all stays consistent with the look and feel of your brand. In addition, the tone you use in your post should reflect the one used throughout your whole marketing and content strategy. Consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy uses consistent messaging despite selling products from a large variety of brands.

Additionally, if you are producing posts with the intention of encouraging conversions, showcase the full variety of what you offer. This concept is especially important in the clothing industry. Here is a great example of a contemporary lifestyle brand, Olive.

Olive Clothing brand sets a good example for retailers on Facebook

These posts work well because they keep the messaging short and informative while showcasing a range of their products. Also, the website links make it simple for users to click-through and make the purchase, or at least find out the price.

While it’s smart to keep the copy relatively concise, it’s also your chance to get creative and show your brand’s persona.

Clever writing on social media and great visuals are the key to making seemingly uninteresting products fun.

Let’s have a look at a brand who has created multiple viral videos and has repeatedly succeeded at engaging its audiences on Facebook.

Old Spice uses Facebook (among other networks) to advertise deodorants, shower gels and fragrances for men in a funny, light-hearted way. Every post oozes personality but fits into the story of their new product line Krakengärd and the general voice of the brand.

If your Facebook post is designed to drive sales, do your best not to sound overly-promotional. SMEs often make mistakes with their Facebook marketing campaigns, the most common three are inconsistency, content duplication and not investing enough time and resources in ads.

Social media isn’t the place for a hard sell. The sales tactics that worked in the past years are not nearly as effective on the marketing-numbed social media users of today.

 

3. It encourages likes, shares and comments

So far we’ve learned that the ideal Facebook post is short but sweet and is designed to encourage further action. But there’s more. Engagement goes beyond users liking your post or clicking through to your website page to purchase a product or service.

Your ability to consistently improve customer engagement, especially by way of social media, plays a huge role in the effectiveness of your online presence and community building.

Facebook is all about building a community and it’s a great medium for sharing news with family and friends. There are a number of reliable, widely-tested approaches to take when aiming to create engagement. Here are a few to get you inspired:

Starbucks creates polls to ask about customer preferences

  • Ask a question about a personal experience with your product, or the industry in general.

Social Media Examiner asks questions on Facebook to encourage engagement

  • Use “fill in the blank” statements that have some sort of connection to your business. For instance, let’s say you run a store that specializes in computer parts. A sentence like “The reason I built my own computer is ___” has the potential to reveal your audience’s pastimes and passions alike.

  • Caption this photo – this can be a fun way to drive engagement and make your followers chuckle. Test it out!

Ultimately, the objective is to get your followers involved. Doing simple things that get people talking is a great way to learn how consumers interact with your messaging and how you can improve.

 

4. It is timed correctly

So you’ve been coming up with all these amazing social media posts. And you’ve found the perfect balance of brand messaging and appeal to your target audience’s values.

Now, you’ve got to find the most optimal time to publish your Facebook posts to ensure they get as many views as possible.

This will take a bit of investigating. Start by asking yourself a few critical questions:

  1. Who is your audience for this post?
  2. When are they usually online?
  3. How do they typically engage with your brand’s posts?

Next, go to your Facebook Insights. Then, search for which times of the day you have previously received the most interactions.

Facebook Insights give you a lot of data

Facebook – or all of the social media networks for that matter – is all about proper timing. You can have the most compelling post in the world but, if it’s published at the wrong time, it will get buried by the constant flow of content posted by others.

Once you have the best times figured out, you can set up campaigns to post periodically at those times to have the best chance to garner the most attention.

It’s extremely important to note that gaining organic reach on Facebook is not as easy as it once was. While you may be creating industry leading content and sharing at the right times, putting your full faith in organic reach is no longer a completely viable option. Using paid advertising is a great way to ensure your posts don’t slip through the cracks and get the attention they deserve.

 

Over to you

Posting on social media is a form of art, mastered only by the best social media managers and content creators. Learning the ins and outs of what makes for a great Facebook post will prove most beneficial as it’s by far the largest social media network in the present. It’s true that nothing is guaranteed in the ever-changing social media landscape (platforms and algorithms

It’s true that nothing is guaranteed in the ever-changing social media landscape (platforms and algorithms alter by the day), but there are principles, such as the four above that are fundamental to creating the most engaging social media posts that you can put your trust in. Good luck!

Rohan Ayyar

Rohan Ayyar fits into dual roles at E2M, a digital marketing agency where he’s involved in creative content strategy and web analytics, and at Moveo Apps, where he devises UX models with a focus on increasing app usage. Rohan writes for Fast Company, Search Engine Watch, MarketingProfs, and other major marketing blogs. Follow him on Twitter at @searchrook.

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