Updated: Jun 17
So, first things first…what is Facebook engagement and why do you want to increase it? Engagement is any interaction that your audience has with your Facebook page, such as: likes, shares, comments, checking into a location or tagging in a post.
With changes in Facebook’s algorithm in the past two years, increasing organic reach through engagement has decreased, but it isn’t impossible. News Feed algorithm changes came in 2018, when Facebook decided to boost posts from friends and family decreasing the number of posts from businesses, brands and media that reach you. This just means companies will need to rethink the approach and use additional tools, which we will talk about throughout this article.
1 - Think like a billboard. Wondering what that means? Well, imagine you are driving along a highway and you see a billboard by the side of the road. How long do you look at it?
Research shows the average person looks at a billboard for six seconds. The research for Facebook shows people spend even less time scrolling through news feeds at no more than 2.5 seconds per post.
Eighty-eight percent of Facebook users are going through mobile devices. Facebook’s data shows that people scrolling through the News Feed on their mobile devices spend just 1.7 seconds to register basic content. Users who browse on a computer spend slightly more time at roughly 2.5 seconds per post. Source: Facebook
Some good news, according to Facebook data, is that people can recall content after seeing it for just 0.25 seconds. Much like the billboard mentality, you have to keep the post short and sweet to get your message across and draw your reader’s short attention span into more meaningful engagement.
2. Educate, entertain or inspire
The old model of “selling” doesn’t work as well as it once did. Catch their attention in a more subtle way through engaging their thoughts or emotions. Give them something they want or need. There are two main ways to achieve that:
1 – Appeal to their emotions by entertaining or inspiring.
2 – Educate or inform them on a subject or cause.
Desirable content makes them laugh, think or improves quality of their life or someone that matters to them.
3. Get to know your audience
Notice what your audience responds to. Do some test posts, and then check out Facebook Insights in the initial days after you post and take note of what gets your audience’s attention. You can learn a lot about your audience and see surprising results from that data.
To view Facebook Insights, click on the business page, then go to the Insights tab to view all analytics and see a summary of the specific page’s performance. You will be able to view results from one to 28 days.
Hootsuite recommends the following tips to develop content that resonates with your audience.
· Know your audience.
· Who are they and what do they want and need?
· Post what they find entertaining or inspiring, not just what interests you personally.
4. Use relevant content and quality images
We mentioned earlier that people spend less than three seconds on each post, so the need for high quality content and images is vital. If the text or the graphics aren’t clear, the viewer won’t spend much time trying to figure it out. They will simply move on the next post.
Simple, consistent, colorful presentations capture attention. A picture or video included in your post convey a lot quickly. It’s easy to produce high-quality photos and videos from a phone or tablet. The tools have advanced dramatically in recent years.
Use great photos. Simply stated, photos just increase the engagement rates – by a lot. Close-ups photos of a product or customer are effective and details are easy to see on a phone. Facebook recommends experimenting “with unconventional angles and perspectives to create interesting shots and be sure to create a focal point by putting a subject in the foreground.”
If you aren’t comfortable doing your own photography, there are other options. Stock photography is a moderately priced tool if you don’t have access to a photographer.
Video posts get even more views than photo posts. Like photography, videography can be done with your mobile phone if needed. The engagement window is even longer with video – viewers will watch up to 15 seconds, providing a longer opportunity to share a message than merely using text and a photo. Shooting video in portrait format also makes it easier for the customer to view while holding their phone in a vertical position.
Live video feed takes mere video to an even higher level than other media, attracting about six times more interactions than regular video. Brainstorm ways and reasons to mix live video into your posts. The results are impressive!
For more advanced options, check out Legend to help with editing your videos and animate text. Boomerang is helpful when creating a short looping video.
A newer tool that helps work with Facebook algorithm changes are the Stories feature. Stories appear at the top of the News Feed and include video, pictures or other images, and tell a brief story. They don’t stick around long though, lasting only about 24 hours.
Businesses can use the Stories format to post to News Feeds and increase engagement. You can reach an audience consistently, show the human side of your business and reach specific customers or audiences.
Facebook leadership expects the Stories format to eventually surpass the regular News Feed, possibly as soon as next year.
5. Ask a question to engage your audience.
An interesting question, survey, poll or quiz is a great way to activate a comment thread. Some suggestions include asking how they do something, why do they like something, do they agree with something or what is their favorite something.
Most people like to know that you care what they think, so asking to share their opinion is an easy one. Surveys are usually, but not always, reserved for more serious subjects or even what the customer thinks of you!
A poll or quiz can be light-hearted and humorous or serious and include topics ranging from the following:
· Do you have a pet and what is its name?
· What is the most embarrassing moment you have ever had?
· Do you plan to buy a new car this year?
· What do you think of the President’s stance on gun control?
You can even ask for input on what sort of content they want to see from your company? Then, deliver what they want to spark more engagement.
6. Drive traffic from other sources
As you are creating content for other platforms and social channels, make sure you tell people where to find you on Facebook. This includes adding links on other social media platforms, website, blogs and email signatures.
Also, don’t overlook printed items, which can also be a good source to promote your page. Consider business cards, event posters, brochures and marketing collateral and even packing slips.
Building engagements takes some work and consistency, but can be rewarding and fun as you more deeply connect with your audience. If increasing your Facebook engagement has been a challenge, try one of these tips and let us know when you do and how they worked for you. We would like to hear your success stories!