Facebook posts come and go in a seemingly never-ending stream of status updates and shared information. From textual content to photos and videos, the human mind has a propensity for posts that appeal to a particular liking. But a social networking site as large as Facebook enforces its own filtering systems.
The Algorithmic Program
Facebook’s News Feed algorithm decides which types of content are suitable for display on users’ pages. Thus, to be a successful in social media, it is best to study the algorithm and the components of an effective Facebook post. Otherwise, each creative material you create will bury deeper into a pool of short-lived information.
An algorithm is a set of rules developed and implemented to specify how to solve a problem. In this case, the News Feed algorithm determines what posts appear in the stream.
From the words of Facebook, the placement of a post in the News Feed depends on at least three factors: engagement level, relevance and historical connection, and timeframe between new and old posts.
Some social media marketers think they can outsmart the system. But history has repeatedly taught us to abide by the rules. For example, when gullible online marketers tried to trick Google’s search engine algorithm, they eventually landed at the bottom of the heap. You will unlikely find them in the front page of search engine results pages.
For Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, keep it simple and follow rules. You must comply with the network’s standards and adopt best practices. Best practices provide recommendations on how to make easily consumable material. And followers will find it easier to digest, leading to more user engagement.
A Few Guidelines for Better Facebook Posts
1. Streamline strategies to brand identity.
As a rule of thumb, 80 percent of the content posted must be valuable or entertaining while 20 percent of posts are promotional. This is called the 80/20 rule.
You must concoct entertaining posts, in addition to promotional messages. But stick to your brand’s main objectives for Facebook.
2. Post high-quality content.
A stark contrast exists between a regular post and a high-quality post. Do not post for the sake of posting or because you are behind schedule. Your followers’ time is valuable. Make palpable, high-quality posts that can educate, entertain, or provide new information.
Though you have to maintain a constant flow of Facebook posts, flooding your followers’ news feeds may annoy them, especially if all you can deliver is clutter.
3. Visualize content whenever possible.
Everybody loves pictures – it takes less time to see than to read. Photos and videos receive the most user engagement and appeal more to users in social platforms such as Facebook.
Arguably, the ideal frame size for a photo on Facebook’s Timeline is 403 pixels by 403 pixels. If a particular photo does not use the ideal size, ensure to reposition it. Rearrange the picture on your Timeline after posting.
If you aim to share an excerpt from an article, upload a photo to denote the gist of the article. And then add the article link in the post.
4. Use URL shorteners.
From the previous guideline, you may delete the article link after Facebook shows a preview of the article. If you still want to add a link to the post, find a reliable URL shortener such as goo.gl or bit.ly and generate a shortened link to the original content.
5. Add a call to action.
A call to action serves as a guide for readers who want to know more about your Facebook post. It is a gateway that links the post to the original content, wherein visitors can consume more of the content you provided. Ensure that you include a call to action regardless of your objective. Do not leave readers hanging, wanting further information about your post.
Popular calls to action include “Read more” and “Click here.”
6. Take full advantage of @mentions and hashtags.
After a year of posting Facebook content, imagine the deluge of information you shared on the platform. Related hashtags help organize your Facebook posts while @mentions provide live links to a third party you want to mention. Type “@” and type the referenced Facebook account or page.
Facebook hashtags and @mentions help people looking for related content land on your post.
7. Be succinct. Drop the gibberish.
As mentioned earlier, people value time. Cut the chase and deliver your message in a clear manner. If needed, provide a concise explanation. But do not prune relevant words to save space and avoid verbosity. Short, incoherent sentences talk gibberish.
Studies have proven that Facebook posts with up to 70 characters receive the most levels of engagement, though I would suggest exceeding that figure if you want to sound intelligible. The statistic is just a rule of thumb.
8. Scrutinize and pick apart Facebook data.
It is best to conduct tests on daily, weekly, monthly, and annual bases. See how the posts you publish fare against each other. You will see that some posts did better than other posts. Study those posts and figure out a way to improve your writing, time of delivery, and so on.
Finally, keep track of Facebook’s monthly and quarterly reports on user engagement. These are valuable pieces of information.
These rules of thumb aim to bank on one thing: high-quality content. An effective Facebook post is but a small fragment of things you will achieve. If you keep up with high-quality content generation, your future will be a smoother climb to the top of the heap.