In late 2013, social media giant Facebook announced that organic reach for business pages was going to be reduced. This meant that marketing on this platform would no longer be as simple as setting up a page and sharing content.
Does that mean Facebook marketing is a lost cause? That the era of free social media marketing is drawing to a close? Should you just close up shop and focus your efforts elsewhere? No way. Not when you’ve got 654 million users that log in every single day and an average of 1 billion searches being conducted every 24 hour period.
All it means is that savvy marketers are going to have to be a little more creative in order to continue to achieve results. One thing we’ve learned since this change is that reach is related to engagement, which on Facebook equates to likes, comments and shares. The more active and engaged your audience is with your brand, the more likely you are to be found by your prospects. So, it stands to reason that if you focus on improving engagement, your reach will also increase as a result.
That said, let’s take a look at 6 simple but highly effective ways you can boost your Facebook engagement for improved performance.
Photo posts perform dramatically better than normal posts.
Did you know that Facebook posts containing a picture receive an average of 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than posts with no photos? Those are some impressive numbers! Take advantage of this by making sure all posts are accompanied by high quality, engaging photos.
Post Engagement is Correlated With Post Length
The goal is to capture and hold the attention of your audience in order to get them to interact with your posts, so keep them short and sweet. This isn’t just our opinion. One study showed that posts that are below 250 characters receive 60% more engagement. Shortening your posts to 80 or fewer characters can garner 66% more interaction. Focus on bite-sized fun, which is what social media is all about.
Don’t wait for engagement.
Generate it. Sitting back and hoping your audience will interact with your brand isn’t much of a strategy at all. The best way to get people talking is to give them something to talk about. Ask questions, start discussions, encourage feedback… whatever it takes to get the attention of your audience and get them actively involved.
Invite engagement from other sources.
You don’t have to only focus on your own Facebook activity to garner more interaction there. Try eliciting engagement from other avenues, such as your email newsletter and blog posts. Encourage readers to share their feedback, opinions or comments on your Facebook page and include a link. It’s that simple.
Host a contest or promo – the right way.
It’s important to preface this tip with the fact that a once popular way of getting more page likes through contests, giveaways and coupons will no longer be allowed. As of this November, the practice also known as “like-gating” will be banned by Facebook. Their reasoning is as follows:
“To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”
You can, however, still garner more engagement with your existing users by running contests and promotions on your page. There’s still no ban on asking users to like, comment on or share a particular post in order to participate. You just can’t make liking your actual page a caveat.
Strategize the timing of your posts.
There’s been a ton of research conducted over the past several years to determine whether there’s an actual “best time” to post on Facebook. What’s been determined so far is that, indeed, there are certain days and times when social media posts are more likely to be seen and engaged with.
Taking into consideration some variance based on industry, generally speaking engagement rates on Facebook increase by 18% on Thursdays and Fridays. Another study found that weekend posts receive 32% more engagement. You can do your own digging, and also conduct some of your own analysis to see which days and times are most effective for you and then focus on maximizing that opportunity.
Of course, your other option would be to allocate some of your marketing spend on paid Facebook ads, which many businesses find to be highly effective and an important component of their overall marketing strategy. If you prefer to focus on organic results, however, these tips should help you boost interaction with your audience, thereby increasing your reach and the overall performance of your Facebook activities.