Since it’s launch in 2004 (just a mere 13 years ago) Facebook has continued to dominate the world of social media. Originally a platform for university students to network, Facebook has grown to unprecedented levels, with more than 2 billion monthly active users reported in Q2 of 2017 (that’s just over a quarter of people on the planet logging in each month!)
Evolving from a ‘personal’ social network to a lucrative communications channel for us marketing and social media folks, Facebook now has more than 65 million local businesses using its free Pages product to connect with customers. As a result, users have been exposed to a phenomenal amount of content in their newsfeeds as organisations competing for user attention.
Over the past few years we have seen an enormous reduction in the organic reach of content - how many people you can reach for free by posting through your page. In fact, in 2014 Social@Ogilvy reported that business pages with more than 500,000 Likes were seeing an organic reach of just 2%.
This dramatic decrease in organic reach is down to the on-going development of Facebook’s algorithm that filters each user's newsfeed. The algorithm is constantly being updated to improve user experience, hide spam and ‘fake news’, and ensure users see content which is most relevant to them.
The introduction of Facebook advertising has given businesses an opportunity to proactively reach and engage customers with detailed targeting tools (combatting the issue of declining organic reach). In 2016, the platform’s ad revenue totalled $26 billion (a 57% increase from 2015). The UK is estimated to represent $1.8 billion of the total advertising revenue (a 31% increase from 2015).
But as marketeers how can we break through the noise to reach our potential and existing customers (without having to break the bank)? Below are our top tips for creating the perfect Facebook post to increase the chances of your content being seen organically by your Facebook fans.
Tailor your message
The first thing to consider when crafting your Facebook post is what is its purpose? Does it answer the ‘So what’ question? Ensure that it’s contributing to your overarching social media strategy so that your efforts are focused. For example, is the post about brand building or driving sales?
Secondly, tailor your post to your audience; consider their language, motivations and influences. The more relevant the post is to them, the more likely they are to engage with it! The more they engage with the post, the greater the organic reach that can be generated!
Thirdly, keep it brief. Our attention span is only 8 seconds long, that’s less than a goldfish (9 seconds)! Research has shown that ‘tiny’ posts which are 70 characters or less generate the most likes, comments and shares.
In practice: Speak the same language as your audience. Use compelling language to invite them to interact with your post, ask them questions or better yet, add value to them by solving a problem!
Using the right image is key to encouraging engagement and unlocking more organic reach. When people listen to information, they are only likely to recall 10% of that information 3 days later. When people see the same information in a visual format they are likely to remember 65% of it three days later!
In 2014, photos made up 75% of content posted to pages across the globe, and accounted for 87% of content shared on the platform. However, consider this, if a picture speaks a thousand words, a video speaks 1.8 million! In 2017, video will account for 74% of all internet traffic!
In practice: Ensure your images are picture perfect by getting the size right, here are the optimum sizes for images on your Facebook page.
Include a call-to-action
If you want your audience to take an action, ask them to do it! Given that your fans will be bombarded with hundreds if not thousands of pieces of information on their newsfeeds everyday, make the customer journey as simple and easy as possible for them. Use action language like ‘Read more’ or ‘Download’ to encourge users to click a link, or use ‘tell us what you think’ to encourage users to submit comments.
In practice: Only include one call-to-action in each post. Don’t forget to add a link if you want to direct users to your website or other content. Consider curating good content from other sources to compliment your own content - Facebook themselves reported that this style of sharing generates higher levels of engagement.
Time is of the essence
To maximise your chances of cutting through the clutter on Facebook newsfeeds, the timing of your posts is key. Focus on the behaviour of your audience (and not when it is easiest for you to post). Are they likely to be accessing Facebook between 9am – 5pm?.
Some studies have reported that posting content after 10pm is most effective (when people are checking their phones before bed), whilst others have reported that Thursday afternoons are the best times to post. Ultimately it will depend on your audience and their activity as to when is the best time to publish.
In practice: Use social media analytics and reporting to understand what days and times your posts are receiving the most engagement, and schedule your content to publish throughout those peak times.
However, before you get down to the nitty gritty of crafting your perfect Facebook post, it is important to consider how your social media activity is supporting your wider organisational objectives and ensuring that your efforts are not going to be wasted… this can be done by putting a robust social media strategy in place. If you would like support or advice in developing a social media strategy please get in touch with a member of the team.