Let’s keep it simple. There are five things you should be doing on your Facebook pages to help ensure that you grow your fan counts, engage your fan bases, and ensure that those fans see your posts in their Facebook news feeds.
1. Provide Value
People love tips and helpful information. Give them useful nuggets and give them timely information.
As well, be sure to engage users by asking questions when you post on your Facebook pages. Once fans respond, keep them talking by asking related types of questions to drive conversation deeper. The more they engage, the better your Facebook page reach extends going forward with that fan.
TIP: If you need to post a news source that everyone else is posting, try to personalize your message and deliver it differently, not simply a share (regurgitation) of someone else’s information but add your own take and insight on the third-party article and post with your own image!
2. Be Responsive
Watch your page and answer posts fans make. There is simply no reason for not responding in a timely manner to posts and comments. There are all sorts of monitoring tools and third-party tools to alert you to comments and messages that can send you email alerts. Use these and respond. The more timely your response, the more fans will comment and return in the future! Care = Loyalty.
A study by the team at ExactTarget identified that the average response time by page administrators to comments was seven hours, and that 51 percent of the time, other fans jumped in to respond faster than brands. Do not let this happen to you. Respond to comments and likes on your page in a timely manner. Acknowledging the individual is a way to connect with them.
3. Post At Best Times For Your Audience
This is where your Facebook insights comes into play. Your “best times to post” are going to be driven by your industry (when your fan base is most likely to be on Facebook and most likely to engage) and, more specifically, by your audience (when are your fans on Facebook?). Facebook insights allows you to see interaction patterns for your pages over time.
General page post studies by larger companies such as Buddy Media have shown those posting outside of business hours had a 20 percent greater engagement rate than those only posting in the 9-5 daily work hour times. As well, a more recent Bitly study in May 2012 showed that traffic on Facebook begins to pick up at 9 a.m. daily locally, and begins to fade somewhat after 4 p.m. They noted that 11 a.m. can be a good time, in general, to reach people (11 a.m. for the user) in terms of visibility, but noted that engagement by users (taking a action to interact with your post such as like, comment, or share) happened best between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
While some of these reports can seem to have conflicting data and even polar opposite tips, the reality comes back to your industry and, most important, your very own page insights.
When are your Facebook fans engaging with your posts? Your answer to these questions guides your Facebook page posting strategy:
- When are you getting the most reach to your posts?
- What type of posts (status, image, link, video) are getting the most engagement?
4. Posts With Images Drive More Engagement
We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” right?
On Facebook, a picture is worth much more than that! Images have been the No. 1 driver of engagement on a page since timeline launched. Images drive engagement more than links (which are the most used format of a post), more than video, and more than text-only status updates.
According to an internal Facebook study, “Posts including a photo album or picture can generate two times more engagement than other post types.”
Images, both on desktop and mobile, now show prominently in Facebook users’ news feeds. So take your content from your blogs and learn to express it visually in images you can post on Facebook. See our step-by-step best practice guide for posting images to Facebook’s news feed.
5. Use Tab Apps To Drive Engagement
Last, but definitely not least, use custom tabs that offer something of value to your fans and that have social sharing built-in capabilities.
People like deals. Deals invite users to come and become fans.
According to this RocketMedia infographic, 40 percent of Facebook page fans say they like businesses on Facebook in order to get promotions and discounts. One important consideration for tab applications is to use apps where users not only opt-in to email lists, but that require some type of social sharing. By adding an element of social sharing, fans then extend the reach of the promotion to their network, thereby adding a viral and significant growth element to promotion that enables it to reach far more users.
So, in this day, incentives work. Here’s the cycle visualized:
- Post offer to Facebook page news feed with an image, text less than 80 characters, and smart URL to tab app on page.
- Attract user to like your page with a like gate on tab app.
- Offer contests, sweepstakes, coupons on the tab.
- With offer on tab, capture email opt-in for future marketing.
- Enable easy sharing on tab to friends to extend reach.
- Repeat posting process next day at different key time.
BONUS Facebook Marketing Tips:
Here are a few extra tips to help your Facebook page create more engagement:
- Pin posts you want people to see for a while – Pinning posts allows you to keep your more important messages at the top of your Facebook pages for seven days.
- Highlight your best posts - Highlighting posts give you the opportunity to make certain things stand out more than others on your Facebook pages.
- Promote posts that need to reach the masses - Promoting posts with Facebook’s promoted post ad tool gives businesses the opportunity to reach a much larger portion of their Facebook fan bases. You can often get 25 percent to 60 percent boosts with this for-pay Facebook tool.
Readers: Anything to add from your experience? Share in the comments below!