26 Ways to Engage Your Fans on Facebook

social media how to Are you looking for new ways to engage your Facebook fans?

Do your current Facebook engagement tactics need a little more oomph?

With the addition of Story Bump, getting your fans to engage with updates from your Facebook page has become even more important.

Your visibility in the news feed depends on engagement like never before.

If your page is experiencing a drop in engagement, using different post types and making a few content adjustments can bump it back up.

In this article, you’ll find 26 tips, an A-Z guide, for engaging fans on Facebook.

#1: Attract Readers’ Attention to a Point in Your Article

Your fans see a lot of content pass through their news feed in a day and a great title isn’t always enough to spark engagement with an article you post to Facebook.

When you update your Facebook page to let readers know about your new article, include a statement or question that refers to a specific point from the article to drive more clicks, likes, comments or shares.

In this post, the author shared her reaction to a tip from the article to interest readers in clicking through to read the rest.

list article post

Highlight an update with one of the points from your list articles.

#2: Balance Various Types of Content

If every piece of content you deliver on Facebook has the same look and feel, it stands to reason that your fans will begin to pass them over for content that looks different and more interesting.

To make your Facebook page more engaging, share your content in a variety of forms. Experiment with photos, videos, links and questions, then track the engagement in Insights to see which types of posts do best (more about this in #7). Choose your top-performing post types and include a variety of each in your updates.

To avoid creating a news feed that appears to serve up more of the same content fans have already seen, Storify includes both large photos with descriptions and smaller images with linked articles in their updates.

storify

Storify posted a large photo that made good use of their page’s real estate and included a link in the description.

linkedin storify posts

Linked articles with smaller images add variety to the news feed.

#3: Craft Posts to Drive Click-Throughs

On its own, a link posted to your page won’t generate many clicks.

Move your fans from your Facebook page to your app or content with a combination of incentives and calls to action in your updates.

Lowe’s recently generated clicks on a link when they published an update to encourage fans to take a color and personality quiz.

lowes color quiz post

Lowe’s promises a color quiz that provides valuable information for the user.

#4: Develop Evergreen Content

If your content tends to be dictated by trends, you’ll find that once the trend has passed, so has interest in your content.

Evergreen content stays relevant for at least a good 6-12 months. Create a number of evergreen articles and you’ll always have something that generates engagement on Facebook.

HubSpot’s “36 Awesome Social Media Blogs Everyone Should Read,” was posted in spring 2010, but is still highly useful and relevant today.

evergreen content example

Social Media Examiner, which got its start in October 2009, made the list!

#5: Express With Emoticons

Plain text doesn’t always lend itself to expressing the humanity, enthusiasm or emotion behind a post.

Hubspot reports that “something as simple as a smiley face emoticon in your post can increase likes by 57 percent, comments by 33 percent and shares by 33 percent over posts without them.”

Show off your personality and help fans relate to you by adding an emoticon to updates.

A recent update from Zappos included a heart and received 718 likes, 22 shares and 8 comments in 22 hours. Compared to other posts the brand made that day, the heart post was more likeable.

zappos emoticon post

Zappos and their Facebook fans not only like UGG boots, they love them!

#6: Find and Share Timely Content

Engagement is engagement and the subject that drives it doesn’t always have to be yours.

If there’s a story you know your audience is interested in, share the details with your fans. For example, let your fans know that you’re going to attend an industry conference, then post updates and images from the event to create more opportunities for engagement.

When the Red Sox won the World Series, The Boston Globe knew their readers would be interested, so they shared information about the Red Sox parade in Boston. On the day of the parade, they continued to provide updates and photos, making them a good source for people to follow the parade.

boston globe red sox parade post

The Boston Globe provided coverage in advance and on the day of the event.

#7: Gain Insights From Facebook Data

Pages that post content blindly without learning more about how their fans react to it can find themselves posting furiously with no rise—or worse, a drop—in engagement.

Facebook’s Page Insights provide businesses with key information that takes the guesswork out of which types of content your fans like seeing most on your page.

Use the data from Insights to tell you which types of posts achieve greater engagement for you on Facebook and adjust your content to include more of them.

Mari Smith provides a great summary of the new Insights features.

#8: Have a Backup Plan With Notes

A few months ago when The New York Times website crashed, they needed an alternate plan. They turned to Facebook notes where they posted the entirety of several stories on their Facebook page.

While maybe not the optimal format to read a lengthy story, the key takeaway here is when an obstacle arises, look for a workaround. The New York Times was able to engage with their audience on Facebook during this time.

new york times facebook notes

The New York Times was quick on their feet and continued to deliver the news to their fans through their Facebook page.

#9: Include Facebook Apps

From contests to event listings and email signups, custom apps provide numerous opportunities for driving engagement, but many pages don’t take advantage of them.

Andrea Vahl provides a great roundup of eight customizable Facebook apps you can use to get your fans’ attention. Use them to drive traffic and engagement when you link directly to them from a status update, a blog post or even Twitter.

Social Media Examiner uses Heyo on Facebook to introduce fans to SME’s podcasts.

heyo custom app

Social Media Examiner’s podcast app provides links and listener reviews.

#10: Join the Conversation On the Go

A large portion of successful social media relies on carrying on a consistent conversation with your audience. If you work on the go, but only manage Facebook from your desktop, you risk being out of the loop when important conversations happen.

Facebook administrators don’t need to be tied to their desk in order to post an update or respond to fans. The Facebook Page Manager for iOS and Android devices lets you check your page activity, view Insights and respond to fans right from your mobile device.

facebook mobile post

Update on the go as you think of something you want to communicate.

#11: Know What to Include in Images

While many businesses are incorporating images in their updates, it’s a good idea to see how different styles of images affect your engagement on Facebook.

An interesting research study conducted by Taggs suggests retail brands need visual content strategies that take into account their unique brand identity, objectives and audience.

Tagg reports:

  • Users prefer to see pictures of retail products without people, making it easier for them to visualize wearing or having an advertised product.
  • Casual images that show partial body shots like hands and feet are associated with higher Facebook likes.
  • If your retail business has a unique brand asset comprised of people such as the notable models at Victoria’s Secret and A&F, then images of people may indeed help boost engagement.

Experiment with images that show your product without people using them to increase engagement on Facebook. Remember to compare the engagement for both types of images in Insights and adjust accordingly.

In these two examples from Old Navy, there’s a striking difference in engagement.

old navy product image

This Old Navy update received 11,275 likes and 137 shares.

old navy product image with people

In comparison, Old Navy’s update with pictures of people received only 1,315 likes and 48 shares.

#12: Launch a Competitive Intelligence Campaign

Facebook sheds interesting light on what other brands are doing and can provide valuable competitive intelligence information.

You can check out how your competitors are using their business Facebook page and what their customers like and share, then apply successful strategies to your own page.

For example, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts got on the pumpkin bandwagon with an update welcoming pumpkin spice and the month of November. Several days earlier, Dunkin Donuts acknowledged National Pumpkin Day and received far more likes and shares.

Based on the response that Dunkin Donuts received, it’s fair to assume that Krispy Kreme should consider recognizing National Pumpkin Day in 2014.

krispy kreme pumpkin post

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts received 3,344 likes and 282 shares.

dunkin donuts pumpkin post

Dunkin Donuts National Pumpkin Day update received 20,171 likes and 1,574 shares.

#13: Manage Your Image Updates

Images command a lot of attention when it comes to engagement on Facebook, but how you publish your images can either excite or frustrate fans.

Instead of loading a mass of images to your page all at once, take the time to experiment with single-image updates, collages and albums to see which type of image update your fans prefer.

Darren Rowse found his audience responded best when he took the time to upload a number of images into an album.

facebook image album

The Digital Photography School’s album of great light painting images received 610 likes and 113 shares.

#14: Note When Your Fans Are Online

Pages that post when their fans aren’t online suffer from low engagement.

One of the most useful pieces of information you’ll learn from your Facebook Insights is when your fans are online. To find out, click on Insights, then Posts.

In this example, the chart below shows that the fans for this page are online in higher numbers between 10 am and 11 pm.

times fans are online image

Posts for this page should be published after 10 am ET.

#15: Optimize Social Media Tags for Facebook

By optimizing your blog posts with social media tags, your posts will be more likely to come up in search results, which can improve your engagement.

When fans share your blog posts on Facebook, you want to make sure that you have the most control you can by adding the required metadata to your page.

The four required properties for every page are title, type of object, image and canonical URL. The tags will define what text appears in the image, title and description codes. Note: Facebook requires an og:image of at least 200 x 200 pixels, so be sure that your thumbnails are at least that size.

new york times facebook notes

Social Media Examiner’s post will carry over all the required information for full optimization on Facebook.

To see how well your posts are optimized for Facebook, check out KnowEm.

knowem app

Social Media Examiner is fully optimized for Facebook.

#16: Plan Using Different Calls to Action

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for crafting a call to action (CTA) to tell your readers what you want them to do next.

Different CTAs may work better than others for your fans. Make sure your CTA matches the goal you’ve set for your reader.

Jayson DeMers outlines different kinds of CTAs to achieve different conversion goals:

  • CTA to encourage engagement—“Please take a moment to leave your comments or thoughts below.”
  • CTA to drive the reader to other content—“For an in-depth look, sign up to download our white paper.”
  • CTA to increase signups or lead capture—“To get regular updates, sign up for our weekly newsletter.”
  • CTA to nurture leads—“Watch this video for a more in-depth look at how this product can help improve your business.”
  • CTA for sales—“To get immediate access to this training and all the bonuses, click here.”

Take a look at your Facebook Insights to pinpoint the correlation between posts that created more CTA engagement and the wording you used in your updates.

facebook call to action

Example of a no-pressure, sales-oriented call to action.

#17: Quiz Your Fans About Their Interests

It’s hard to break the ice or start a genuine conversation when you don’t know anything about the person (or fan) on the other side of the table.

To learn more about your fans and encourage them to engage with you and other fans, ask questions that invite them to share about their interests or what they enjoy doing in their free time.

In an update honoring National Family Literacy Day, SME posted, “Tell us what you’re reading this weekend.”

social media examiner community question

Questions allow for engagement between you and your fans.

#18: Read About What Others Are Doing on Facebook

Social media marketing is both an art and a science. It’s always helpful to take some time to see what others are doing on Facebook, and also read about what big brands are doing and the lessons that can be learned from their efforts.

Several interesting reading resources about brands include:

A fantastic example is the 100th birthday campaign for Oreo cookies created by DraftFCB where they created a daily update for 100 days leading to Facebook interactions going up by 195%.

Check out the video to learn more about the campaign.

#19: Survey Fans on Facebook

Almost everyone likes to share his or her opinion. Surveys let you give your fans a voice and create engagement at the same time.

Ask everything from “What’s your favorite color?” to “Whom will you vote for on election day?” As a bonus, when your fans share their preferences, you learn information that helps you create better targeted updates.

There are a number of easy-to-use third-party survey applications, including Polldaddy and Poll.

poll survey tool

Example of the survey interface from Poll.

#20: Try Uploading Video to Facebook

Video is becoming increasingly important to brands that are looking to engage with their audience.

Earlier this year, Socialbakers found that post updates with videos uploaded directly to Facebook received 40% higher engagement than posts that linked to a video on YouTube.

Experiment with where you upload your videos, and if there’s a difference in engagement levels when you post them in an update, you’ll know where to make the change.

facebook video

This update shows a video that was uploaded directly to a Facebook page.

video from youtube

This update shows a video that was uploaded to YouTube.

#21: Update Your About Page

An incomplete or out-of-date About page can leave prospective and even existing fans with the impression that something’s not quite right. When that happens, their engagement will begin to drop.

Revisit your About page often to make any needed changes like adding a new email address, product updates or a life event.

about page life event

Social Media Examiner added a 4-Year Anniversary to Life Events on their About page.

#22: Vary Where You Spend Your Time Online

Sometimes the best-laid plans will go astray. The most important thing is to remain flexible about where you spend your time online and create strong, active presences on social networks where your customers and prospects hang out.

You may have a personal connection to Twitter or Pinterest, but your customers may be more inclined to spend time on Facebook. It’s a good idea to vary where you spend your time to see what combination receives the highest level of engagement.

plan b istock image

Maybe it’s time for Plan B. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Be sure to seek out engagement where your customers are willing for you to connect with them.

#23: Widen Your Reach With Scheduled Weekend Posts

If your target audience is online during their free time on weekends and you’re not posting, you’re missing out on engagement.

Schedule posts to publish over the weekend and be prepared to answer any questions that arise come first thing Monday morning. Better yet, find someone who can keep an eye on the activity over the weekend and respond as needed.

To schedule a post, simply click the clock icon in your status update.

scheduled facebook post

Scheduling a post for a time in the future is very easy.

#24: eXamine Comments and Shares as They Happen

Some of the most active Facebook page admins are guilty of going missing in action as soon as their update is posted.

Studies have shown that likes, shares and comments are generally made within the first few hours after an update is posted.

Check back early and often to see if users are engaging with your update so you can answer any questions and encourage further engagement.

facebook engagement response

A Zappos fan commented on this update at 1:58 pm and Zappos responded 6 minutes later. Impressive!

#25: Your Promotions on Facebook Provide Customer Data Via Open Graph

A Facebook promotion created through a third-party app provides an added benefit of being able to collect user data including age, gender, location and Facebook likes of a user (available via Facebook’s Open Graph).

This information allows brands to analyze who their users are—and send targeted emails by segmenting users based on these data points. Use this tactic to stimulate further engagement from these segmented user lists.

The caveat is that you must abide by Facebook’s policies for data collection and use.

pishposhbaby app

Data fields on a Facebook promotion.

#26: Zero In on Users Via Mobile App Ads

As the number of people who use Facebook from a mobile device continues to grow, reaching those people has become a priority for many brands.

Facebook recently announced that they’ll be rolling out new ways to reach people who have visited your website or mobile app by expanding the capabilities of Custom Audiences. The new features will be available to a limited number of test partners initially, then rolled out globally in the coming months.

Use these app ads to remind people who’ve downloaded your Facebook app but haven’t used it in a while to revisit the experience.

hotel tonight app

Ads delivered via mobile apps are coming soon to mobile devices.

Over to You

These are just a few ways you can tweak your content and change your delivery to create stronger engagement with your fans on Facebook. Check them out and try a few. See which ones spark your fans’ interest and add them to your strategy.

What do you think? Do you see any tips that you’ll consider using soon? What other engagement tips can you share? Please leave your comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Debbie Hemley

Debbie Hemley is a freelance writer and social media coach. She helps businesses develop and maintain social media content strategies. Follow her on Twitter @dhemley & Facebook. Other posts by »




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