Yes, Image Posts Drive Engagement – But Choose Your Images Carefully
Most of you know that images perform well on Facebook and have been leveraging image posts to drive engagement & click-throughs for quite some time. So we aren’t going to throw out a generic statement surrounded with some stats telling you to use photos.
You’re a smart and you know images and larger images drive more engagement, but the real question is: which images, more specifically, can drive engagement?
“Post pictures that are meaningful without having to read any text next to it.” – Leo Widrich, Buffer
The team at Buffer discovered that posting a stand-alone, self-explanatory image outperforms a photo that needs additional explanation in the description.
Steal Ideas From Your Other Channels
Discovering what will perform well on Facebook can often be right in front of you. This is another tactic that seems very obvious, but it doesn’t get mentioned. Nobody says it out loud.
If you have a blog post your audience is raving about on Facebook, try and turn it into a series on Facebook. Look at what performs well on your other social media channels and think of how you can incorporate it on Facebook. Maybe it’s a quote that you tweeted that received a lot of response, maybe it is a stat from an interesting industry study that was well received in your community. Oftentimes they can be turned into a weekly series or a monthly campaign.
Hashtags Are Cool If You Use Them Properly
Everyone is excited that hashtags have come to Facebook, but most people don’t get that they aren’t used in the same way as they are on Twitter. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to the cause entitled, ‘This is not Twitter. Hashtags don’t work here.’
Simply Measured said it and a recent EdgeRank Checker study reported the same thing. Both studies found that Engagement per Facebook fan decreased with hashtags and Facebook posts with hashtags had less viral and organic reach, on average, than posts without hashtags.
On Twitter, hashtags act as a search tool helping users discovered content and shared interest which is aimed to increase the posts’ viral reach. And like we stated, on Facebook, users just aren’t treating hashtags the same way. Facebook users are the root of the problem as they are conditioned to scroll through their news feed to receive information versus search for information.
When you are using hashtags on Facebook, think carefully about what you are using them for and how you can use them. If your intent is to increase virality and reach, you might not receive the outcome you were hoping for.
Instead think of hashtags on Facebook as:
- a way to express an emotion or sentiment (somewhat like an emoticon, which we will talk about below)
- a campaign or contest which allows you to unify your posts, promote across different platforms and depending on the nature of the campaign or contest, has the ability to encourage users to share their own posts with the hashtag of the campaign
Not All Emoticons Are Equal 😀
According to AMEX OPEN, using emoticons increases comments by 33%. The fact they increase engagement makes sense since their very definition ties into and derives from social media. It seems silly, but these two, sometimes three character expressions have played a significant role in communication through technology.
Buddy Media says posts with emoticons receive 52% higher interaction rates and have a 57% higher like rate, 33% higher comment rate and 33% higher share rate. Emoticons, when used properly and sparingly, can be a great way to express your tone and humanize your brand.
And get this, not all emoticons are equal. This graph from Buddy Media shows the interaction rate across each emoticon with 😀 coming out on top.
If You Are Asking a Question, Ask it at the End
According to KISSmetrics, questions receive 100% more comments than standard text posts. And you’ve most likely heard it before: when it comes to engagement, especially comments, asking a question on Facebook is very effective. But we aren’t here to tell you tactics you already know. It isn’t about asking a question. It’s about where to ask that question.
According to a research study by Buddy Media, if you are asking a question, where you place the question in the post is equally as important as what you are asking. Posing a question at the end of your post increases the interaction rate by 15% and will double the comment rate compared to those with a question asked in the middle of the post. A question that is placed at the end of a sentence is asking your Facebook fans to respond immediately. When you ask a question at the beginning or in the middle of your copy this distracts your fan from answering the question.
Does placing a question at the end of your sentence increase your engagement? What type of images does your community respond to? Which type of emoticon, if any, increases engagement? How do people use hashtags and how can you leverage them to make them more effective? The devil is in the details when it comes to Facebook marketing. Not all these tactics will work for you, but remember, it’s important to dig deeper, analyze and implement & experiment with small changes that can drive engagement and make a bigger impact.