By Corey Smock
Navigating Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm can be a tall task for marketers. Organic reach is becoming more difficult to come by and engagement rates are plummeting. Facebook remains overly picky about what it does and doesn't like to see from brands. Luckily, there is still hope for us out there. We just have to be strategic.
Use these tips to help optimize your Facebook content marketing strategy:
Do: Determine a Goal
There are three types of Facebook posts: text, photo/video, and link posts. Each Facebook post should have only one goal, which then determines the type of post.
Goal #1: Web traffic/link clicks
Recommendation: Link post
Goal #2: Engagement (likes, comments, shares)
Recommendation: Photo/video post
Goal #3: Reach
Recommendation: Text post
Don’t: Over Saturate the Market
How frequently should you post?
On average, brands post once per day on Facebook. For example, the iTunes Facebook page posts about 2.29 times per day, whereas a brand like Coca-Cola posts about .44 times per day. Both brands have a huge audience. The sweet spot is 10 per week.
Mix it up with the type of post. Too many of the same style posts in a row will affect the type of organic reach and engagement your posts will receive. Mix in all three styles of Facebook posts over the course of a week.
Use direct call to action. Identify what it is you want people to do. When you drop a link into your Facebook text box, your link post field is pre-populated with information. Note: You can change this information. Optimize the text and upload your own photo if necessary. Here is a great "before" shot.
Now its time to optimize these fields:
Headline (under image) - This is the most important line of text as it's the biggest and boldest. Make it especially eye-catching.
Description (under headline) - Think of this as the support line; explain why this is helpful. Keep it to one sentence, ideally.
Also, if you have a better image, use it. It helps to upload the correct image size (1200x627).
Use short copy. The photo is the star of the show. Again, its best when using the correct photo size (1200x1200).
If you have the option, skip posting YouTube or Vimeo videos on Facebook and post the .MOV or MP4 video file. Facebook rewards you for uploading a video directly to the platform with great organic reach numbers and improved video analytics!
Text-only posts are still good for organic reach, but (due to their size) they can get lost in the Timelines filled with photo and link posts. Don’t use the words "like," "comment," or "share." Facebook users already know their options. Plus, it hurts organic reach.
Don’t: Leave Links
At this point, your link post will have an attractive well-sized image and bold headline, which are both perfectly click-able. You can now go back and erase the original link; there is no need for it anymore. Unnecessary text or links are no good when posting on Facebook.
For a photo post, keep in mind that your goal here is engagement, not clicks. If you want people to click on your link, turn your image into a link post. Clicks are very low when a link is included in the post text and a photo is attached.
Links with text-only posts have been proven to affect reach, which is your goal with this type of post. And again, link clicks are low when included within a status.
Check your insights. What times and days work best for you? What time is your audience most active? Does posting before 10 A.M.work? What about after 6P.M.? Only one way to find out.
Type of Post
What post typically best meets your goals? If your text posts aren’t getting reach on Tuesdays, maybe try Thursdays. If photo posts typically get good engagement on the weekend, scale back during the week. The Facebook user drives how brands operate. Follow along.
Don’t: Use Hashtags
Hashtags have been proven to not influence reach or engagement. In fact, they negatively affect organic reach and can be an eyesore. Facebook hashtags do not work like they do on Twitter and Instagram. Facebook still determines what posts you do and don’t see after clicking on a hashtag.
The days of getting any free reach on Facebook may be numbered. In fact, we may be approaching an era in which organic reach is zero.
Return on investment can be very high when advertising on Facebook. Check out this case study!
Remember to test your ads. Use an A/B format. Test different image options, text options, and audiences. See what is working best and capitalize on that.
Legendary sports broadcaster Dan Patrick coined the phrase “You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him!” No one can stop Facebook from changing with the times and increasing its investment from brands and marketers, but with these dos and don'ts, we can certainly try to contain this network.
Do you have any other tips for posting on Facebook?