Most of us see quite a few posts on Facebook a day, be they messages from friends or from brands. Some Facebook posts register with us (adorable photos of kids doing hilarious things) and some just simply pass us by (your friend who just posted the 36th wedding update.) Why?
What is it that makes a well crafted Facebook post stand out?
When analyzing what makes a well crafted Facebook post verses what makes just another message in a sea of millions that gets buried in a users' newsfeed, we must first consider Facebook's News Feed Algorithm.
What is it?
The News Feed algorithm determines what content shows up where in a users' news feed.
A post's news feed placement more or less depends on three things:
- Engagement levels.
- Relevance to the user (i.e. have they interacted with this brand or person posting this post before? how frequently?)
- And the timeframe of when this post was posted in reference to when the last post from that brand or person was posted.
There is no way to "trick" the system. However, you can follow a few best practices to help provide easily consumable content to your followers that will result in engagement.
Here are a few guidelines for making a well crafted Facebook post:
- Stay inline with your strategy and your brand identity. You should have a good mix of fun posts inline with your overall objectives for Facebook and your brand as well as promotional messages about your brand. Try to remember the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the content you post should be entertaining or of value, while twenty percent should be promotional.
- Post quality content. Don't just post in order to post. Be real. Only post something that is of value to your followers. Will this post entertain, educate or offer something else of value to your followers? Also, keep in mind over-posting and flooding your followers' news feeds can actually hurt you.
- Use a photo. It is widely accepted that photos traditionally get more engagement and are more appealing to Facebook users. The ideal photo size for a Facebook timeline is 403 px by 403 px. If your photo is not the ideal size, make sure you use the "reposition photo" option after it is posted to rearrange how it is displayed on your timeline. Even if you are aiming to share an article, use a photo that visually represents that article and then include a link in the copy.
- Use shortened links. When you do share a link either delete the link in the text copy or use a shortened link. To delete a link, but still get that article to show, (which you shouldn't be doing if you are abiding by tip #3) just paste the link in the post copy and wait for it to populate. Once it shows up you can delete the link from the text copy. If you are abiding by tip #3 and using a photo but still want to include the link, use a link shortening site like bitly.com.
- Include a CTA. Examples: "Click here." "Like this." "Share!" "What do you think?" Whatever the objective of the post, be it to get higher levels of engagement or to direct traffic to another website, make sure you include a call to action to that objective.
- Use hashtags and @mentions.Use relevant hashtags to categorize your posts. Use @mentions to provide a live link to another company, news website, etc. you are referencing. Type in the @ symbol and then start typing that company's Facebook page name. Using hashtags and @mentions will help other interested in similar content find your post.
- Keep the copy short. There is a direct correlation between post copy and engagement levels on Facebook. Posts with 0 to 70 characters get much higher levels of engagement. I would suggest not posting more than 140 characters of copy.
- Analyze. Test different times of day, days of the week, etc. Facebook's engagement reports offer valuable data. Don't just ignore the data! Check it out from time to time and see if a certain post did better than another and why.
All of these tips are best practices for creating a well crafted Facebook post. However, the most important overriding piece of advice I can give is to simply create good content for your target audience!