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Optimising Facebook Engagement

Web Bureau


06 September 2012 by Web Bureau

Engagement is a critical issue for social marketers; consumer interaction has become a cornerstone of the new marketing landscape.

Facebook posts vary and can include anything from status updates to photos, videos to flash and questions or polls. 

They all impact engagement but which have the most impact?

For Facebook, Photos are King.

With regard to “likes” and comments, photos far exceed other post types in engaging consumer responses, with a response rate up to four times higher.

Photos provoke a more visceral response, allowing a more immediate reaction from consumers.   

Many organisations are consistently using the least effective form of Facebook post.

In terms of engagement, the least effective is the Link Post, where a link is posted allowing Facebook to construct the majority of the post from the content on the webpage corresponding to the link.

Merely passing on information is not seen as engaging.  For some companies, such as news organisations, we can see how news dissemination via link can be effective; however on Facebook, users are more receptive to varying types of content. 

Is video content for everyone?

Perhaps most surprising of all is the poor performance of video as an effective engagement tool.  The case can be made that video content is simply too demanding of the audience to generate engagement on a large scale but on the other hand it can certainly be said that once a fan interacts with a video, there is a deeper level of engagement, and this can prove much more valuable. 

Size matters with regard to Facebook Engagement.

People on Facebook are tired, busy, bored, hungry and utterly bombarded with a wall of chatter from friends, acquaintances and brands. They don’t have more than a few seconds to glimpse a message, mentally shrug, and move on.  Organisations need to use every means at their disposal to grab the attention of the audience, and draw them in.

It turns out that Twitter got it right! There is a distinct roll-off in Engagement level beyond 140 characters. Though roll-off does begin before that point, the now traditional 140 character size limit is probably necessitated by the need to for Urls, Hash tags and other references. 

The Timing of Posts.

Facebook users consume most content from their stream, and a typical stream moves fast. Perhaps the one thing all Facebook Posts share in common is the certainty and speed with which they will soon be replaced by new content.

Hitting the target consumer at exactly the right time - when they are in the right mood to not only take in your content, but respond to it - is the goal.

Response rates are higher on average after 6pm, with increased interactions on posts experienced during non-business hours.

Explicit calls to action get the best response.

The best way to encourage your audience to comment is to ask them to add captions, or fill in the blanks.  If it’s “likes” you seek then simply asking works best!

Message Content.

Remember that the most critical aspect of a post is what it actually says.

The 10 key points for optimising Facebook Engagement are...

1. Get to the point with short, punchy statements. Try to stay below 100 characters.

2. Where possible, let images do the talking.

3. Be aware that audiences in general are wary of video content or referred links.

4. Post when your audience is listening, not just when your business is open. Test posting on different days of the week and outside of business hours.

5. If you want an action, often asking for it directly is the best way to get it.

6. Captioning or ‘Fill in the Blank’ type Posts are a way of encouraging engagement less explicitly.

7. Use questions wisely. They can encourage increased response via Comment, but actually reduce response via Like.

8. It is possible to post quite frequently on Facebook without upsetting your audience. Increase posting frequency with care and monitor to find the frequency that is right for you.

9. Regardless of how often you post, your content has to be relevant and interesting to your audience.

10. Test and optimise constantly.  Poor response will decrease visibility via EdgeRank, which will then result in even poorer response. Hence, Engagement is critical in getting value from your investment in Facebook Marketing.

For advice on your Facebook Marketing or any aspect of Social Media Marketing, contact us at The Web Bureau on 028 9073 1190 or info@thewebbureau.com

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