We’ve all seen it before: One company deploys Facebook content that seems to dramatically grow its fan count and its level of interaction, while another business flounders, its Facebook campaign going absolutely nowhere. Often, these two hypothetical companies might seem—outwardly—to be doing roughly the same thing. Why, then, do some Facebook content campaigns result in increased engagement while others just fall flat?
It’s certainly not a matter of happenstance, and it’s not because some companies are just lucky, either. There is a real science behind Facebook content creation, and ongoing efforts are being made to explain that science.
Case in point: Search Engine Watch reports a recent study, undertaken by members of Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, that seeks to detect some patterns in what works and what doesn’t, Facebook-wise. The study takes into account the Facebook activities of some 100,000 separate posts, representing more than 800 firms—and some of its implications are broadly applicable to all Facebook content creation!
How to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
Of course, every company’s Facebook content creation is going to be a little different, and we generally try to avoid making broad, sweeping statements; with that said, some of the following trends, as noted in the study, are tough to deny.
- The best Facebook content is the content that builds an emotional bond. While it is often assumed that humor is the way to win comments and likes, the study reveals that witty banter and small talk actually work better—anything that has an emotional hook and helps the business in question to come across as more relatable.
- People want to see your company’s values. Whether it’s discussing your support of U.S. troops or of a particular charity or cause, philanthropic posts tend to get a lot of engagement—and given what we already said about the importance of an emotional hook, this is hardly surprising.
- Informative content has a negative impact on Facebook engagement. When the study says “informative,” it doesn’t mean educational content, like tutorials and how-tos. What it means is Facebook content that has pricing information, product overviews, discounts, and that sort of thing. That’s not to say that companies will not sometimes want to employ this sort of content, but, to offset those engagement-dampening effects, it’s important to combine the information with a strong emotional hook.
- Mentioning the holidays decreases engagement. Most brands mention the holidays, so the effectiveness of this messaging is diluted. Mentioning the holidays is okay, but it should be done in a clever or unexpected way—or else just done sparingly.
- Brevity is key. If your Facebook fans have to click the “read more” link, your likes and comments will surely decrease.
- Interactive posts work very well. If you want your Facebook fans to engage your posts, of course, the best way to motivate them is to simply invite them—by asking questions, offering fill-in-the-blank posts, or else posting a call to action. (You’ve probably seen examples of this, such as the “share for option A and like for option B” posts.)
- Images help. Finally, note that images get more shares and comments than status updates, and even more than videos. The next time you start to post a quote or quick fact, stop and ask yourself if you couldn’t make it more compelling by going into Photoshop and turning it into an inspiring image.
These basic tips offer some direction as to where you can take your company’s Facebook content creation. The decisions you make in crafting your content will ultimately determine how successful your Facebook activity is.
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Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.