Kontera Publishers: how to improve your post engagement on Facebook

April 13, 2011

Facebook imageWhat is it that makes a post stand out in someone’s Facebook news feed?

Two recent studies, by Buddy Media, who surveyed the Facebook posts of their 200 top brand clients over a two week period of time, and by the social media management provider Vitrue, who analyzed 1,500 brand streams over a three month period, sought to answer that question. Here are their collective takeaways on the most effective ways to increase engagement with your content on Facebook:

Short is better, both for URLS and post size – Buddy Media found that posts of 80 characters or less improve engagement rates by 27%. Additionally, posts that use a full URL, as opposed to the type of URL shorter that are popular for Twitter get 3 times as many clicks.

Image posts generate the most engagement – 22% more than video posts and 54% more engagement over text posts.  In all, it’s recommended that you use posts with images or quality video. Posts using just text are ineffective.

It doesn’t work while they’re at work – 60% of the posts tracked by Buddy Media went on Facebook between 10am and 4pm Eastern Time. If you post earlier in the morning like 7am, after people start coming home from work around 5pm, or around 11pm, engagement will increase around 20%.

Day of the week matters – Both studies found that day of the week is important, but which day you should post on varies on what topic you’re posting about. For instance according to the Buddy Media, Sunday is the best day for Automotive and Sports posts. However, according to Vitrue, Consumer Packaged Goods posts performed the best on Thursdays; 51% better than on Sundays. Still, there are some general conclusions that can be drawn. Monday is universally bad day thanks to oversaturation, and Sunday is the most underutilized day relative to when people are active on Facebook. Overall, posting is most effective on Thursday and Friday.

Use “Softer sell” phrases – People on Facebook respond better to softer sell language such as “win” and “winning”, as opposed to  ”contest”, “promotion”, “sweepstake”, or “coupon”.

Ask a question – Facebook posts that end in a question have a 15% higher engagement. Among questions, asking “where”, “when”, “should” and especially “would” is a good idea. People don’t respond well to “why”.

Additionally, back in February, Facebook very quietly changed their default news feed settings, so users are only seeing items posted by friends or business pages that they interact with the most.  That means posting with regularity is just as important as which day of the week your status messages are updated. It’s recommended that you focus on sharing quality content at least a few days a week, making sure the optimal day for your topic is always one of the times you share.

For Kontera Publishers looking to promote their websites, there’s no question that Facebook is an increasingly valuable tool in growing your audience. A recent comScore study found that nearly 1 out of every 8 minutes spent online in America is spent on Facebook, and by focusing on SEO alone, you’d be missing out on one of the most effective ways to connect with potential readers.

Just remember to be very alert in monitoring the success of your tactics; what people respond to on Facebook is a fluid situation, and what works now might not work in 6 months!

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