PR News Hotlist: 8 Tips to Boost Engagement on Facebook


Whether a brand has 50,000 or 50 fans on their Facebook page, when that weekly “Weekly Facebook Page Update" e-mail lands in a PR pro's or social media manager's inbox, they want to see their engagement numbers consistently increase week over week.

To boost results, Tim Haran, who'll be speaking at PR News' Oct. 2 Social Media Measurement Conference in New York and who serves as senior manager of social media, USANA Health Sciences (which just wrapped a four-day 20th anniversary celebration event with thousands of independent distributors in Salt Lake City), says brands have to engage fans on a consistent basis, and not just when there's and event or initiative to promote.

Priya Ramesh, director of social media for CRT/tanaka and also a speaker at PR News' Oct. 2 conference, says that deep engagement on Facebook is about balancing rich content with push-pull tactics to keep the audience engaged. Here are Haran’s and Ramesh’s tips to supercharge your Facebook engagement numbers, starting today.

  1. Photos Are Key: Use images whenever possible. “Facebook is increasingly visual, and the more eye-popping your updates, the more apt people are to share them,” says Haran. “Our audience especially likes behind-the-scenes type photos that make them feel as if they are part of a special club.”

  2. Include a Call to Action: Come right out and tell readers to “please share” or “like this.” “It sounds silly, but people are more likely to follow through when you ask them to do something specific,” says Haran. “Informal polling through like vs. comment also has worked for us (i.e. a photo of two products: Click like if you are a fan of Product A. Leave a comment if you’re fonder of Product B.)”

  3. Schedule Posts: Take advantage of Facebook’s “scheduled posts” feature. Keep time zones in mind—if you are on the West Coast but have a pocket of fans in New York or even internationally, schedule an update to go live when those folks are waking up or walking into the office. This works for weekends and holidays as well. Just because you have the day off doesn’t mean your audience is taking a day off from Facebook, says Haran. Keep the momentum going.

  4. Keep Your Posts Short: "Our experience shows anything longer than three lines [will prompt readers to move] to the next item in the news feed before even thinking about liking, commenting or sharing it," says Haran. Even better, keep the post to a few words and include a photo (400 pixels wide and about the same depth to fit nicely in a single column if visitors see it on your Timeline).

  5. Content Rules: You can strategically time your posts all you want, but if the content isn’t shareable or likable, it won’t get shared or liked, says Haran. With that in mind, be judicious about what you’re posting. Make each post count and give visitors a reason to like it, comment on it or share it.

  6. Timing: Facebook activity peaks at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day—people are starting their days on Facebook and then come back home and engage on Facebook after dinner, says Ramesh. Retailers and brands that want to maximize engagement should keep Facebook peak times in mind and not consider it as a 9-5 kind of schedule.

  7. Content Format: Photos and now social videos are becoming the best Facebook content formats to get the most likes, comments and shares. “Recently, CRT/tanaka client Rioja Wines posted a licensed photo of Betty White holding a giant wine glass, which received the most ever engagement resulting from a wall post: 262 likes, 92 shares and 27 comments,” says Ramesh. Other good examples of brands using inspirational photos on Facebook are Life is Good, The North Face and Walgreens.

  8. Make It Relevant: Instead of talking solely about yourself, your products and services, brands must also find ways to make their updates more timely and relevant to events/activities at the local/national level that affect their friends and community on Facebook. “I have seen some good examples of brands leveraging the recent London Olympics into their daily updates making a connection between the games, the brand and their audience,” says Ramesh.

     

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg; Tim Haran: @timharan; Priya Ramesh: @newpr

To learn more about engagement tactics and how to measure the success of your social media campaigns, register for PR News' October 2
Social Media Measurement Conference in New York City.

 




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