Marketo published an eBook called Contagious Content: What People Share On Facebook and Why They Share It.
It contained 35pages of hints, tips and strategies, all laid out with clean examples. If don’t find yourself compelled to print it out and stick it to your office wall then you’re a pretty tough nut to crack.
While I suggest you read the whole thing I’ll draw your attention to just page 10 for now, where Brian Carter describes 7 Habits of Highly Engaging Facebook Posts (in their ebook, they titled this list “7 Functions of Highly Shared Posts”, but I like John Haydon‘s title better).
The 7 habits of Highly Engaging Facebook posts are:
- GIVE: Offers, discounts, deals or contests that everyone can benefit from, not just one sub-group of your friends.
- ADVISE: Tips, especially about problems that everyone. encounters; for example, how to get a job or how to beat the flu.
- WARN: Warnings about dangers that could affect anyone.
- AMUSE: Funny pictures and quotes, as long as they’re not. offensive to any group.
- INSPIRE: Inspirational quotes.
- AMAZE: Amazing pictures or facts.
- UNITE: A post that acts as a flag about how great your community is doing.
So let’s unpack these habits in more detail and discuss why they are important.
There are so many other brands and businesses clamouring for attention in Facebook that it’s vital to find a way that you can rise above the noise. One strategy is to be louder than everyone else – and that might work for some. My suggestion to is be more valuable than everyone else. You can do this by committing to giving value in every single post. With a ‘giving value’ habit deeply instilled your customers and clients will begin to look for your posts amongst the noise and that’s a great position to be in.
Consider the 70:20:10 ratio (that’s 70% valuable and relevant content, 20% other people’s shared content, and 10% your own promotional content) in your posting schedule. It will hold you in good stead. If this is too complex then just consider the WIFFT acronym (what’s in it for them) each time you share a post or a status update in Facebook.
I suspect you know more about your products and services than your customers/clients do. Leverage this. Find ways that you can impart some of this knowledge and advice in a way that really helps your audience. Maybe you’ve got some ideas on how they can cut their everyday costs, maybe there’s some maintenance tips that you can give regarding your products, maybe you can help them out in other ways. Be proud that you are an expert in your field, if only at the local level, and share your knowledge with your audience.
One easy way to do this is to list 20 questions that you wished your clients asked you. They are usually questions that you are uniquely placed to answer. My challenge to you is to spend a quarter of an hour listing these 20 questions and thinking about the best way that you could answer each of these (one per week) on your Facebook page.
If you’re like most business owners you already receive a host of emails and letters in the post describing upcoming changes in your industry or advising on new research. How much will your customers and clients love you if you consistently warned them of dangers in their day to day life. I’m not talking about the dangers of preservatives in your food (although if you are an organic grocer then this may be absolutely appropriate) or political dramas… but rather upcoming issues that could have a profound affect in the short to mid term future. Look at what’s trending or other relevant news and put it in terms that your audience will value and understand.
If you aren’t already getting industry updates then consider using a free service like Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts to distil the most relevant information for you and drop it directly in your inbox. If you have a look at this article I shared 7 ways that you can use alerts in your business.
David Nihill of Funny Bizz extols the benefits of being funny in business. Humour breaks down barriers, increased relationships and trust and most importantly it makes content memorable. I think we’d all agree that having memorable and lasting relationships on Facebook puts your brand or business far ahead of many of your possible competitors.
Whether you are seeking a deep belly laugh, a snort and chortle, or just a smile humour and amusement in your content will go a long way.
If advising (see above) is giving great intellectual value, then inspiring could be seen as giving great emotional value to your customers and clients. Both help position you as a leader in your field, but inspiration is often seen as the harder of the two to achieve.
To touch the hearts of your audience you first need to really understand your audience. Who are they? Are they male or female? How old are they? What are their values and beliefs? Where have they been? And where are they going? Completely defining your audience (or creating an avatar) is an essential step to being able to curate and craft content that really hits home and lifts their spirit.
Failing that, pictures of cute puppies, babies or natural wonders often do the trick!
If I summed this up in three words they would be – “over-deliver… over-deliver… over-deliver!”
A couple of generations go we could walk down to our local butcher and he’d know our favourite cut of meat, or the the grocer remembered what we bought last week. Deep down everyone wants to be Norm from Cheers “where everyone knows your name”. These days with so much of our lives online it’s really easy (and not “stalkerish”) to take a moment to tailor your conversations with your audience based on insight into their real life. Taking the time to do so has such a profound impact on most people, mostly because no one else bothers.
This is a really easy way to amaze and over-deliver.
When you consider the human element of social media you remember that people feel a sense of identity when they are part of a larger movement or group. Maybe its genetic, or maybe its because many of us feel small in such a large world and that by associating with a larger cause we feel we’re having a greater impact. Either way, being part of a group is natural and compelling. So why not leverage this.
How? Be transparent and forthright in your business values and motivations. Share the story about why you are passionate about your business, and the affect that it has on the local or broader community. In doing so you will give people the opportunity to align themselves to “the cause”. Make sure you offer your audience the means to have a voice and to share their views. By being tactful and tactical you can quickly unite some/all of your audience behind your cause. This in turn generates great relationships between members of your audience.
So there you have it, the 7 habits of highly engaging Facebook posts. Forget the metrics, tricks, strategies and other ways that you can try and beat Facebook’s algorithms and instead find ways (like these) that you can connect, inspire and amaze your audience. Being on social media isn’t about the quantity of people you can reach, but rather the quality of the relationships that you have with them… and these habits will set you in good stead when building those relationships.
But now it’s your turn. What habits do you use in your social media? Which of these habits hit a chord for you? Let us know in the comments below as I’d love to chat about it.