Once you create your Facebook page, the next thing that’s comes to mind is, “What Facebook marketing strategies will provide the best results?”
There are some interesting studies about marketing on Facebook, which can provide a detailed answer to that question.
Let’s break this down.
1). WHAT SHOULD YOU POST ON YOUR FACEBOOK TIMELINE?
People often get this wrong and their timeline is dominated by posts, which generate the least amount of interaction (comments, likes, etc.).
A study by Momentus Media illustrates this nicely. They found that links are posted most frequently but have the lowest interaction rate. While photos are posted less often, but have the highest interaction rate. It makes sense that photos generate the highest interaction rate as they draw the user in visually, are easily digestible and can elicit an emotional response quickly. Therefore, using photos can increase the interaction rate with your Facebook fans.
With regards to post length, studies point in different directions:
- On one hand, the Momentus Media study shows that interaction rate continues to go up with the length of the post. So they recommend that you shouldn’t be afraid to share longer stories with your fans. Longer messages can give them a chance to connect.
- On the other hand, research done by Buddy Media shows that the longer the post length, the less engaging fans find it. This finding supports the traditional best practice that concise copy increases readability and consumption. Posts between one and 80 characters had, on average, a 27% higher engagement rate.
- In such cases, I just take the middle path and so I’ve decided to post short to medium length messages.
There is more of a consensus when it comes to requesting people to take action and using certain keywords in your posts to get more interaction. To drive Likes, be direct in asking for the Like. Outright requests work most effectively. To drive Comments, ask a direct question and ask for the response. Here are the best words to use for your requests:
If you want to ask questions in your posts, then it’s better to end with the question. Posts that end with a question (rather than having it at the beginning or middle) have a 15% higher engagement rate. Given that the desired outcome of a question post is to invoke a response, placing it at the end of the post ensures that any additional information in the post does not distract the fan from providing a response.
Avoid asking “why” questions. “Why” has both the lowest ‘like’ and comment rates, and may be perceived as intrusive and/or challenging. The picture below shows the type of ‘question words’ that drive the most engagement.
Facebook has a decent analytics/insights section, where you can see how each of your posts is performing. After maintaining your page for a while, you’ll have enough data to see some patterns and identify the type of posts that are most well received/viral.
2). HOW OFTEN AND WHEN SHOULD YOU POST ON FACEBOOK?
To reach the biggest audience, you need to space your posts well. You also need to post when a large part of your audience is online. Getting the frequency and timing of your posts right, will increase the chances of people seeing your posts in the top of their newsfeed.
According to Edgerank Checker, a Facebook analytics company, the average post receives Likes and Comments for 3 hours after being published. Visibli found that on average, Facebook posts receive 50% of their Likes within the first 1 hour 20 minutes of being published, 80% within the first 7 hours, and 95% within the first 22 hours.
Therefore, it is recommended to wait at least 3 hours between posts, to avoid cutting short the lifetime of a post and overshadowing it with new content.
Do keep in mind, that a 3 hour gap does not mean that you should have 8 posts in a day. That is considered too much for most pages. Most people post 3-4 times a day and that is what is suggested by several studies as well.
While most people post during weekday office hours, the best times are late in the evening/night and early in the morning. The best days to post are towards the end of the week (Thursday and Friday), followed by Sunday. Buddy Media provides some guidelines on the best posting days for various industries:
- Entertainment Industry: Don’t Overlook the Weekend.
- Media Industry: Avoid the Monday Noise.
- Retail Industry: Take a Look at Sunday, Think Twice before Posting on Friday.
- Automotive Industry: Sunday Is Your Friend.
- Business and Finance Industry: Engagement Peaks Midweek.
- Fashion Industry: Engagement Peaks on Thursday.
- Food and Beverage Industry: Engagement High Midweek and Saturday.
- Healthcare and Beauty Industry: Look at Thursday.
- Sports Industry: Post More on Sunday.
- Travel and Hospitality Industry: Look Towards the End of the Week.
3). WHAT ARE FACEBOOK CAMPAIGNS AND RELATED BEST-PRACTICES?
You can run the following campaigns as part of your Facebook marketing efforts:
- Sweepstakes: Sweepstakes are similar to a lottery, where the prize winner(s) is/are chosen randomly. The odds of winning depend on the amount of entries.
- Trivia: Multiple choice question trivia where users can measure their knowledge. The results of a trivia campaign generate a number score, and typically display it alongside the average score of all the other users that have participated in the campaign.
- Quiz: Quiz questions configured to result in a categorisation of the user based on the responses submitted. Results display an image and statement, i.e. ‘“I took the ‘Which Sex and the City Character are You’ Quiz and found out I’m a Carrie!”
- Coupon: Customisable coupons, vouchers or codes that consumers can print or redeem electronically.
- Giveaway: A sign-up form which allows users to submit the relevant information necessary to get on the list for a brand-sponsored giveaway.
- Video, Photo, and Essay Contests: Users can either be prompted to upload one or more essays, photos, or videos in order to win a prize. Winners are determined by merit as judged by the administrator of the contest, by popular vote, or a combination of the two.
- Pick-your-favourites: Let users choose a pre-determined amount of items from a larger set of brand-selected items to demonstrate their “favourites.”
A Facebook marketing study by Wildfire found that coupons, giveaways, and sweepstakes get the most entries. This is not surprising, as entries to these campaigns are closely correlated with low barriers to entry (as in a sweepstakes), high-value perceived rewards (as with coupons), and the popularity of a “sure thing” (as with giveaways).
However, the study found another significant trend: the most entered campaigns are not the campaigns which generate the most sharing. Sharing occurs when a user participates in a branded promotional campaign and then gives the campaign application permission to post about it to his news feed for his networked connections to see, or he invites certain friends to the campaign directly (instead of broadcasting it via news feed.). The campaigns types that are most “shareable” are “pick-your favorites,” quizzes, and trivia.
What about these marketing campaign types tends to influence more sharing?
The most-shared campaign types are designed to either:
- Allow the user to discover an aspect of his personality of which he was previously unaware, or
- display facets of his personality that he knows about and wants to share (such as his aptitude for certain trivia, or his favourite items from a selection of options).
4). WHAT TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE FOR DESIGNING FACEBOOK PAGES, RUNNING CAMPAIGNS, CREATING TABS AND OTHER SUCH FEATURES?
There are a few services to add a host of functionalities. Some of them are:
At the moment I’m using Short Stack because I think it has a good set of features, is easy to use and the price is reasonable.
5). WHAT ABOUT ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK? DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?
There are a few reports/articles about Facebook advertising not being effective:
- Four out of five Facebook users have never bought a product or service, as a result of advertising or comments on the site, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.
- WordStream Inc., a provider of search engine marketing software and services, released research comparing the value of Facebook advertising to Google’s Display Network. The comparison suggests that Google currently offers advertisers more value in terms of both options and results for advertisers, and that Facebook has a lot of catching up to do to provide advertisers with the best possible advertising solutions.
However, I think advertising on Facebook is a great way to get some activity going on your page, right after you launch it.
I’ve been using the advertising to get people to visit one of my Facebook pages. Over the last month I spent around $3-4 a day and got over 600 likes for my page. This has really helped me bring life to the page quickly. I plan on running the ads till I reach 1,500-2,000 likes and then I’ll stop. By then there will be enough momentum to keep the page alive-and-kicking without advertising.
In terms of process – You have the option of advertising a Page, event, story/post, app or a website outside of Facebook. I found that it’s better to advertise pages/posts/etc. on Facebook itself (as opposed to your own website), since that got me more clicks and also cost less per click. But you can try and see what works best for you.
After you decide what to promote, you can target who should see the ads. This is a great feature and given the information Facebook has you can really reach a very specific demographic and target things like:
- Location, Language, Education, and Work.
- Age, Gender, Birthday, and Relationship Status.
- Likes & Interests such as “camping”, “hiking”, or “backpacking” instead of “tents” or “campers”.
- Friends of Connections.
Then you need to create a few ads, set your daily budget and watch the people coming in. After a few days you can check out which ads are performing well and modify your ads accordingly. You want to show ads which are getting the best click through rate (CTR), since they bring more visitors and the cost per click for them will be lower.
6). WHERE ELSE CAN I MARKET MY FACEBOOK PAGE?
You can interact on related Facebook pages to gain more exposure. This is best done in a non-promotional way though. If you just post a link to your page or an article on your website, it might be deleted by the administrator. What does work is to leave comments on the page content. If people like what you are saying, then they will click your profile and check out your page.
Don’t forget to showcase your Facebook page on your website as well. If you are using WordPress there are many plugins for this, such as Social Media Tabs.