This post covers some simple techniques to give your fans the content they want most and inspire more engagement. Many times we’re on the hunt for the tips of what to do and when we find them, we just implement them. But how do you know if those tips are producing results? To get more impact, you need to do some measurement to help you continuously improve and get more ideas about what to try next. This posts offers some tips on how to use measurement to share content on Facebook that your fans really, really want. You’ll enjoy more visibility, more interaction, and more conversions.
I found this wonderful infographic that takes you through the process of setting goals, making them measurable, picking your metrics, and making decisions based on your data. What caught my eye was that last step of looking at your data and figuring out if you have met your goal. The infographic offers a yes/no decision tree that I think is an excellent analysis framework that can lead to improvement.
Facebook analytics programs like Insights, Edgerank Checker, and Simply Measured free reports give you tons of data points. I only look at these:
Content Analysis of Comments on post and shares
I look at these on a per post basis. I also pay attention to and test these variables: Time of Day, Day of Week, Content Type
Here’s some tips on providing powerful content for your Facebook channel that you can improve with measurement.
1. Timely, Relevant, and Quality Content: I have found that using the technique of “news jacking” or piggy backing on breaking news that is relevant to your audience and giving it your spin, inspires more comments and shares. For example, when I shared this cartoon about PR disasters during the Komen’s flap, received a high number of shares and comments compared to other content post in the last month. I’ve learned by tracking my content against metrics that relevancy rules – and sharing relevant links with conversation starters produces interaction.
2. A Picture Can Inspire Many Shares or Comments: Again the visuals have to be relevant to your audience. I also know from tracking my metrics against content for years now that my Facebook audience responses to easily digestible practical information, especially tips expressed visually or relevant humor. For example, this post illustrating some simple privacy tips received a high number of post shares and comments. This post, testing the concept that babies and cute animal photos get shared more often, received a high number of likes and no shares.
3. Variety of Content Adds Spice To Your Page: Want to claim a space in your fans’ News Feeds? Vary the content you post. Facebook’s Edgerrank, the score that determines what content gets into users newsfeeds, rewards variety. Don’t just post links all the time. Make sure your posts vary and include photos, videos, polls, status updates, questions, and links. When I’m sketching out my editorial plan for the month, I column for “type” to make sure I don’t get stuck in a content type rut. I also look at the analytics for engagement by content type per post.
4. Consistency is Not the Hobgoblin of Small Minds: Research has shown that if you have a consistent posting schedule of high quality content that your audience wants, they will come to you. Dan Zarrella’s research suggests posting every other day is is optimal. This is a general rule of thumb that you should test and adapt for your audience. Watch for signs in your metrics that you’re posting too frequently. I use this rule: I don’t ever post content for the sake of posting content and if there is breaking news that I know from past data that my audience will love, I post more often.
Having a regular theme each week is also useful. I discovered this by doing a content analysis on comments. I posted this fun, but practical link to social media icons on a Friday. In the comments, someone shared it with their network calling it a “Fun Friday Geeky Share.” I started a regular post on Fridays to share a “Fun, Friday Geeky Share‘ which gets a high number of shares, likes, and comments.
5. Short and Sweet: Research shows that posts of 80 characters long perform well. But don’t be a slave to this rule. As Mari Smith points out in her post about encouraging more shares, now that Facebook increased the maximum update size from 420 characters to 5,000 characters, experiment with “mini-blog post” as long as the content is timely, relevant and helpful, you stand a greater chance of getting lots of shares.
6. Experiment With Timing: There are several research studies that look at averages for page likes and comments and have suggested that weekends and evenings are optimal times for posting – perhaps because there is less clutter in the newsfeed. My takeaway is to make sure that I am posting when my audience is there to engage, not when it is convenient for me. Again you need to test. When I experimented on posting on Saturday, I got the most ever shares on this post – but it is hard to say whether the timing was the critical factor or because it was a visual with practical information.
7. Include a call to action: share, like, comment: Many nonprofits have discovered that a simple, clear call to action to share some content results in their fans sharing content. Of course, the content itself has to be timely, high quality, and relevant.
8. Celebrate milestones, share good news: Audiences love to celebrate victories no matter how small. My Facebook Page recently welcomed its 10,000th Fan, so I posted an update to celebrate and thank everyone. It generated a higher number of likes than other posts.
9. Always be commenting: I had the pleasure of hearing Guy Kawasaki speak about his book “Enchantment” and one of his tips was “Always be commenting” was a big takeaway for me that I have tested and tested. It works. I always post content as my page administrator, but then I comment in the thread as an individual. I don’t have to respond in real-time to comments, but part of my work flow is to respond to comments in batches in two ten minute spurts a day. I use Nutshell Mail to make it manageable.
10. Repeat proven stuff: I don’t do cut and paste repeats. I look for themes that work and repeat those. If I repeat the same content, I try to do it slightly differently – like just a visual versus the link.
The most important practice is the sense-making of comparing my content to metrics and getting ideas of what to test next.
What have you learned about what works best in using metrics to give your audience the content they want?