What makes a Facebook Post great?
What makes Fans want to click, Like, share or comment on it?
It’s part science and part art. And for every Facebook Page, and their respective Fanbase, it’s slightly different. Over the past week I analyzed some of the top Pages on Facebook to see what common characteristics the most successful Facebook posts have.
In this article I’ll show you the top 10 characteristics of an amazing Facebook post – and how you can utilize them.
1. It’s short
If your post is a wall of text, your Fans won’t take the time to read any of it. Cut your messaging down to the bone – right to the core of the idea. It may take a paragraph to really explain the benefits, but unless its short enough, nobody is going to even read it. Check out this two-word post from Walmart:
If your idea requires a longer format than a optimal Facebook post allows, then make the post a call-to-action to read the full information.
My rule of thumb is to use Twitter’s 140 character constraint. Not only does this force you to keep your post short, but you can then easily make your Facebook post a Tweet with a simple copy/paste.
2. It gives the user ONE thing to do
Many businesses make the mistake of including multiple links or actions to take in a single post. This will force your Fans to take in multiple ideas at once – and lead them to not doing anything at all. You want to make it as simple as possible. As my old hockey coach used to say: Keep it simple stupid.
There are two main types of calls-to-action for Facebook Posts:
1. Social CTAs: These include asking your Fans to Like, share or comment on your post.
Walmart does an amazing job of creating fresh, innovative Social CTAs. This post actually creates a participatory mini-game by asking people to “Like” once they’ve solved the puzzle. This creates engagement within a temporary community directly around the post.
2. Link CTAs: This is the basic CTA found all over the web. Just a simple link to a landing page.
Getting people to click on anything and to leave the News Feed is tough – but by providing a great incentive it can be done. You can create this incentive using one of two things:
1. Monetary Incentives: These include coupons and contests.
2. Enticing Content: This is harder. The content needs to be incredibly relevant to the Fan. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Optimize these posts by writing enticing hooks.
This one from Lowe’s is perfect: People shopping at Lowe’s are most likely do-it-yourself homeowners without much building experience. This post shows how to solve a common problem that is extremely annoying:
3. It has a big image
Photo posts on Facebook receive 53% more likes than the average post. And the bigger the image, the more it will stand out.
Just like with your post text, the best images are simple. Try to keep it to a single focal point with a high-contrasting background. Oreo is famous for creating these types of images using its own cookies. Here’s a great one from last year’s “Talk Like A Pirate Day”:
How big can an image be shown in the News Feed?
Facebook caps image size at 403 x 403 px within the Facebook News Feed. Any larger than that and it will crop the image, only showing its full-size when clicked on.
4. It’s related to your business
The best Facebook posts are not only engaging, but they weave your business into the story you’re telling. It’s great to have a post that gets a ton of engagement. But if it’s just a picture of a cat then it’s not actually engaging anyone with your business.
Always keep the conversation focused on your niche. You don’t want to just promote your business of course, but the jokes, knowledge and stories you share need to be related to your business. Every story should provide a small nudge that pushes Fans to think more about how your products can make their life better.
Here is a great example from Charmin. It’s focus is on a rustically decorated restroom, not on their toilet paper directly. But it gets people thinking about that aspect of their life and how it can be made better with a custom “throne”(which of course includes a roll of Charmin).
How to utilize this characteristic
The best way to create this type of post is to think of an activity that uses your product. Focus on a funny or interesting aspect of that activity, including your product within it only slightly (or not at all!). Remember that people don’t buy products – they buy solutions. Instead of convincing Fans to buy your products, convince them to try an activity that requires your products.
5. It’s seasonally relevant
One of the easiest ways to make posts relevant to their audience is to post about things and feelings that occur naturally at different times of the year. Think about the types of activities, food and type of people that your Fans are thinking of at different times.
Here are a few examples of seasonally relevant posts:
1. Family members during the holidays
2. Friends during the summer
3. Piles of leaves in the fall
4. Resolutions at New Years
5. Flowers in the spring
This post from Target jumps on the season switch from winter to spring – capitalizing on people’s joy in having snow leave in favor of rain.
6. It’s Geo-targeted
Facebook now allows for much of the same targeting on posts as it does for Ads. This means you can target posts to Fans based on age, gender, location and interests. You can do this by clicking the Target icon on the post creator on your Facebook Page:
Targeting based on location is one of my favorites, as it allows you to focus on city-specific items, which is sufficient enough to create highly relevant posts. This includes local sports teams, festivals, neighbourhoods and schools.
Check out a post by Intel targeting the Bay Area:
If you have a multilingual audience you can even target based on language. Walmart utilizes this by making regular updates in Spanish that are targeted only at their Spanish-speaking audience:
7. It’s part of a great content schedule
No matter how great your post is, if its not part of a great content schedule, it won’t be successful. A certain level of engagement needs to be sustained to ensure your posts are seen. This is due to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, which determines how many people see your Page’s posts.
Facebook gives 4 main signals to focus on when optimizing your posts to be seen more:
1. How often your Fans interact with your Page
2. The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from user’s friends in particular.
3. How much your Fans have interacted with this type of post from your Page in the past.
4. Whether or not your Fans and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post.
As you can see from those signals, the amount of engagement your Fans have had with you in the past directly impacts their likelihood of even seeing your post in their News Feed.
How often should you post?
An optimal Facebook content schedule includes 3 posts per day – this is the most you can do without being annoying to your Fans. It maximizes the amount of Fans who see a post from you in a given day. But remember that quality trumps quantity. As you read above, unless people are engaging with your posts, Facebook won’t keep showing them every update. So keep them relevant and engaging.
8. It asks a question
Questions are what Facebook is built for: Two-way communication between you and your Fans.
IMHO there are two preferred types of questions to ask:
1. Questions that your Fans have, and want your expert opinion on:
Here is a great post from Mari Smith, asking people a question that they can answer in the comments section of the post:
2. Questions that ask people for their opinion or about an experience:
People love to talk about themselves – especially on a Facebook Page they trust and engage with regularly. Give people the opportunity to give their opinion, brag or complain about a problem. These types of personal responses engage both the writer and community. But be careful to moderate these comment threads carefully. If the topic is at all contentious, it’s easy for an argument to occur. So always be monitoring to mediate.
This post from Home Depot is a great example. It gives people a forum to vent about one of the most common problems – household cleanliness:
9. It makes Fans feel nostalgic
In a recent article I wrote about the power of using emotions to create engaging Facebook posts. One of the most powerful emotions is nostalgia. Even if the thing you’re remembering was not the best at the time, like the Lowe’s example below, it’s fun to reminisce and think about what it was like back in the day. It will give people an opening to comment about their memories from that time period or how thankful they are now that a certain fashion has gone out of style.
Check out a great example of a nostalgic post below from Lowe’s Home Improvement:
Here are 3 more ways to create Facebook posts that tap into people’s nostalgia:
1. Ask people how certain activities are different for kids these days than they were when they were that age (think technological advancements)
2. Ask people what their favorite (TV show, song, book, etc.) was when they were a kid
3. Post a photo of an old/obsolete product and ask people to name what it is
10. It makes Fans feel happy
If you’ve seen the 2012 film “No”, you know that the most powerful concept is happiness. The idea of happiness has the ability to propel people to do anything – even vote against an oppressive dictator.
Coca Cola embraces this idea throughout its entire marketing strategy, including its Facebook Page. Most of its posts are centered around doing some fun while drinking a Coke. Here are two great examples from their Page:
For any business looking to boost their engagement, utilizing these characteristics in their posts is a must. If you’re looking for more information on how to create engaging Facebook posts, check these out: