The average human attention span online is eight seconds… this, partially, thanks to the digital revolution. In this social media age, the way to your consumer is through their social newsfeeds. One sure way to grasp their online attention is to increase your business’ engagement through Facebook posts. This can be achieved in a number of creative ways such as photos, videos, contests and even hashtags. Here are a number of ways to increase your company’s engagement on Facebook.
The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” still rings true. With eight seconds to grab your audience’s attention, it is the preferred way to engage for business. Facebook offers the opportunity for visual storytelling to communicate feelings, opinions or a break for humor. It’s not surprising photos are a major form of content posted on Facebook. Simply put, pictures are often much easier to quickly comprehend than text. Images are concise, clear and easy to digest. However, it’s important to note not all photos are equal. Blurry, badly staged or boring photos will not engage with your audience. Also, photos should always include relevant links to ensure click-through traffic back to your website.
For example, this post from Missouri Heart Center was one of their most successful, organic posts (meaning it was not boosted). It was a simple fact about a snack that is healthy for your heart (Dark Chocolate) and because it was about chocolate, people were more inclined to tune in, but as stated in the article, there’s only 8 seconds to grab your audience’s attention. This illustrates how adding an image (even if it is a stock photo and not one you took) can help increase engagement and views.
Another option in the visual storytelling arena are videos. Videos are among the most shared posts on Facebook and tell stories better than any other type of post. Videos that often gain the most attention contain funny or unusual content. This type of attention can quickly spread online overnight, or make your video go “viral.” When it comes to sharing videos online, Facebook is more popular than YouTube. This is especially true for business videos. You can post behind-the-scenes videos, educational videos, funny videos, thank you videos, inspirational videos… the opportunities are endless. To make sure you don’t miss your eight-second window, use autoplay. Facebook’s autoplay of videos instantly captures attention by eliminating much, if any, effort from your viewers. Additionally, the emergence of Facebook Live has created an even better opportunity for businesses on Facebook. Creating live video can be a chance to connect with your audience in a fun, new way. Additionally, Facebook Live videos will appear higher in users’ newsfeeds. Facebook says “live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live. This is because Facebook Live videos are more interesting in the moment than after the fact.”
Wake Up Columbia morning show on The Eagle 93.9 does a great job using Facebook Live to their advantage. They use Facebook Live frequently, which makes their page show up more on user’s feeds as well as driving their engagement rate up because the more views a video has, the more likes it generates for the page and the more traffic it will generate towards the page as well. See their videos here.
Still, it’s not enough to have visually stimulating posts. You must initiate dialogue with your audience. Ask questions; if you want more comments on your Facebook posts, dig deep into your viewers’ feelings, views and opinions by asking questions and creating conversation. Make people respond to your posts. This promotes interaction and lets your audience know their opinion matters. When you request feedback like this, be sure you are also responding to comments so your followers know you are listening. Examples of questions to ask can be yes or no questions based on their perspective of your product or services, questions regarding tips on how they use your product or services, or simple timely questions.
One example is this post from Clear 99 titled “Ask Questions Example." Instead of just posting the meme, Clear 99 included a question in the caption to increase engagement.
With time in mind, use this opportunity to create contests. These are some of the most engaging Facebook posts. Not only do they reward loyal followers, but they also generate excitement as users will visit your Facebook page often to check to see if they won. There is no limit to the types of contest you can organize. Create a difficult contest that makes users think, formulate a straightforward sweepstakes contest, or create a “vote to win” contest. You can also structure contests to determine the engagement you want from your audience. For example, a contest that would require people to comment or “Share” would garner more comments than one that would require people to click “Like.”
One great example of contests and engagement on Facebook is from Shiloh Bar and Grill. They created a contest to win a $25 gift certificate, just for users posting a picture of their dog in the comments. It generated 148 comments, just for $25. This is a great example about how contests can generate great engagement for your Facebook Page and your Business.
But what’s your end result? What is it that you want from users? Think about your call to action. One thing most marketers and business owners tend to forget when they update their Facebook pages is adding a call to action. Calls to action help users respond the way you want them to respond. When creating a call to action, think about what you want people to do. Do you want them to share specific posts? Click “Like”?” Comment? Tell your audience what you want from them. Facebook even has call-to-action buttons you can select to show up on your business page. They help marketers enhance their social media strategies and presence.
Here is a promotion from Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group’s Facebook page, created to generate “Likes” on the Page as well as “Shares” on the post. This was intended to feature one business or business owner’s story on Zimmer’s Website/Facebook. It generated 41 shares on the post, because there was a clear call to action and perceived benefit from executing that action.
One way to enhance your presence is to “trend.” Trending tells you what the buzz is online; what people are watching, commenting and responding about, and what they’re interacting with. One way to measure this is through hashtags. Hashtags can be used in a variety of different forms such as a call to action, or to gain attention to contests. For marketers, they allow you to gather the conversation around one topic in order to see how people engage with your brand.
A great example of hashtag use is #EatLikeALocal from Broadway Diner. #EatLikeALocal is a widely used hashtag, and utilizing it created a wider reach for this post.
The Facebook Newsfeed algorithms take many things into account- even variety. For example, Facebook users will typically see in their Newsfeed the same type of posts they interact with the most. If they interact with image posts, more image posts will be delivered to them in the Newsfeed. But what about your video posts? Are they even seeing your contest posts? It’s important to mix up post types to offer a variety in order to reach more fans.The more fans you reach, the more engagement you gain.
In 2000, the attention span of the average Internet user was 12 seconds. What will it be 16 years from now? To prepare for that (and continue reaching as many people possible), Facebook posts must include various content types and seek engagement with questions, contests, hashtags and calls to action.