Social Media Best Practices Guide: Facebook
With social media moving so rapidly, it can be overwhelming and confusing for many business owners to keep up to date on best practices. In our “Social Media Best Practices Guide” series, we will cover platform-specific techniques, optimization tips, and tricks to help boost your status updates.
For the first installment, we will cover Facebook tactics you can apply to your status updates.
Utilize the Timeline
- Use Timeline Event updates for big announcements or important events in order to highlight and draw more attention to those occasions. Timeline Events are given more weight in Edgerank (Facebook’s algorithm) so save them for key announcements.
- Add ‘milestones’ to your Timeline where applicable, as this can be a great way to tell the story of your brand (e.g. launch date, important developments). Populate earlier space with new product launches, company advances, and memorable moments. These, too, carry more weight and help add a human touch to your brand.
Your Timeline cover photo is prime real estate as consumers pay more attention to this area than any other content on your page.
Previously, Facebook had fairly tight guidelines on what businesses were allowed (and not allowed) to do with their cover photo. However, back in March, they lifted restrictions and gave businesses the go-ahead to include location and contact information, website URLs, and calls-to-action in their image.
While guidelines are much looser, keep in mind that Facebook still enforces a 20% rule – only 20% of the cover photo can be text.
Since the 20% restriction can be hard to measure, Facebook created a tool to help you determine if your cover photo meets its standards.
A few things you can do with your cover photo:
- Use it to showcase current projects, behind-the-scenes shots, sales, special events, promotions or exciting news.
- Change it often – cover photos carry the most EdgeRank weight and tend to show up on the Newsfeed at a much higher rate. Consider changing this photo bi-weekly or monthly in order to help engagement.
- Aim for 1-2 posts per day (19% higher interaction with this frequency) and play with timing when you schedule your posts to see when your fans are most active.
- Where possible do not shorten your URLs, keep them recognizable so users know what they’re clicking on. If the URLs are long, include them at the end of the update so they do not get in the way of your message:
- Use emoticons where relevant. Posts that contain emoticons receive 52% higher interaction rates. Posts that employ them have a 57% higher like rate, a 33% higher comment rate and 33% higher share rate. NOTE: The best emoticons to use: “:D” and “:P.” Such emoticons have a 2.4X and 2X higher response rate, respectively, than other emoticons.
- If most of your Facebook users are consumers, don’t forget to utilize your off hours as they are the best times to post – consider scheduling a few posts for 8 pm or later during the week to see if your fans are online and engaging at that time:
- The news feed of a Facebook page typically contains a lot of information so as to attract attention and drive engagement spend time developing a good headline for the post.
- Keep the text of the post short (less than 250 characters) to generate 60% more interaction and engagement.
Build Community & Encourage Discussion
- Facebook will promote posts in the Newsfeed that generate the most engagement – so pay attention to which posts engages your Fans the most and repeat those types of posts.
- Encourage discussion by varying your content types e.g., posting links, videos and photos.
- Play with various content styles to see what your fans respond to best. Ask fans to caption a picture, fill in the bank, mini-contests, and calls-to-action (Like, Share, Yes or No, True or False).
- When using questions in your update, make sure the ‘ask’ is at the end of your comment. Posts with questions at the end have a 15% higher overall interaction rate and a 2x higher comment rate than those asked at the beginning or middle.
When starting out on any social media platform, keep in mind that “best practices” are those that are best for your audience. Pay attention to your community, what they react to, and what seems to resonate most.
What are some common techniques on Facebook that you respond to best?