Look at this selfie and try not to hit “Like.” It will haunt your dreams.

Social media is changing everyday. Feature updates, algorithm adjustments and shifting user behavior require us to regularly revisit our social media strategies to ensure what was working six months ago is still working today.

On Facebook, the news feed display changes that began in January and accelerated through the Cambridge Analytica scandal have had the result of severely lessening the unpaid reach of social media marketing for all business pages. Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook would change to emphasize personal relationships and show users the content that was most relevant to them, and the metrics in the intervening months have certainly borne that out.

Your business needs to be on Facebook. It’s not a question that’s up for debate. So how can we work to counteract these Facebook changes to make sure our hard-earned content is still seen by the largest amount of people possible?

Thankfully, the easiest answer (outside of paying Facebook to simply boost posts) is relatively obvious:

Post awesome content that your followers would want to engage with, not just scroll by.

With that in mind, here are four actionable tips for creating more engaging content for your Facebook business page:

1. Make it short.

Facebook is a social media, so try to look at it as you would a social function.

Think cocktail party: Nobody wants to get stuck in a long-winded conversation they really don’t care about.
Think punchline:
You don’t need to be the life of the party (see photo above), but you should have a point, make it, and get out.

According to Buffer Media, the optimal length for Facebook post engagement is 40 characters. 40! That’s nothing! That’s less than the old Twitter limit. This paragraph alone has 199 characters in it!

This is just a best practice. There is a time and place for everything, sometimes you really should weigh in with a lengthy explanation or opinion to display your expertise, but in general recognize that your real estate is precious, attention spans are short, and you need to work to be concise. If you consistently find yourself going long ask yourself, “Could this be multiple posts?” Series of posts scheduled out over time are an effective way to consistently deliver quality content to your audience.

2. Include an image.

No matter how great your copy is, a post with an image is better. Forget the the studies that show that posts with visual content are 40 times more likely to get engagement — that’s beside the point. Facebook is a visual medium, your posts need to be visually appealing. The good news is that the images don’t need to be perfect 100% of the time. Live videos and photos are one of the best ways to encourage engagement because it adds elements of urgency and immediacy to your content. Many successful brands use only amateur or fan generated photographs to promote themselves on social platforms — because their audience views these types of images as being a more authentic representation of their brand. The bottom line is that while there are many opportunities to experiment and be creative, all of your posts should be visually appealing.

3. Start a conversation.

Asking questions is a great way to inspire comments, people love to share their opinion and trust me they are all too happy to answer any form of quiz. But if your goal is to grow your business page don’t just ask pointless questions and hope someone has a lot of free time on their hands to answer.

Again, think cocktail party. If you were at a party with nine other people in your particular niche, what would you all talk about? Work? Golf? The 1993 Whoopi Goldberg film Sister Act II: Back in the Habit? Work backwards, think about these conversations and find the questions you could ask to start them. Real conversations around posts can last for days or weeks, and get picked up by anyone interested in the topic.

Think of conversations, not questions.

Consider the tough choices you have to make in your daily business life and ask your fans for their opinions. Which software is best? What kind of sting-less paving system do you prefer for concrete gutter work? Where should we go for lunch? Your goal is to build a sense of community around your page (different than actual Facebook groups) so that your followers will be accustomed to interacting with your content. Take a long game approach, build a reciprocal relationship with your followers and they will grant you increased viral reach every time you post.

4. Generate evergreen content.

It can be challenging to continually come up with fun and creative ideas for social media posts, particularly if you work in an industry that’s considered somewhat less than glamorous. (I think pictures of excavation sites are cool — but others might think it looks like a hole in the ground…) A great way to solve the content generation dilemma, and increase the overall efficiency of your posts, is to consider developing evergreen content.

Just as a coniferous tree stays green all year round, “Evergreen content” is any type of content that remains fresh and relevant to your audience for an extended period of time. Evergreen content never seems dated (so maybe don’t mention the latest internet fad) and will remain relevant longer, allowing your followers more time to engage with it. Whats more — evergreen content can be re-purposed easily to get you more engagement in the future:

For example, let’s say you have a successful little post about food:

  • “My 5 Favorite Tacos.”

You’re followers are engaging with this post at above average levels. With a little bit of work (ie. a new image) that post could take a multitude of forms:

  • “My 6 Favorite Tacos.”
  • “3 Kinds of Tacos You Should Avoid.”
  • “Why You Love Tacos and I do too.”
  • “No more Tacos. Burritos forever.”
  • “The Big Reason Why I’m Back on the Taco Train, and You Should be Too!”

You know your audience is interested in your subject from your increased engagement rates, and with subtle tweaking you have turned one successful post into six. The great thing with this type of content is that tacos will be just as amazing next year as they are now, allowing you to continue to deploy this theme.

If you are aware of what your audience is responding to, and consistently endeavor to produce evergreen content, over time you will develop an engaged audience and a catalog of material you can use again and again.

Focus on engaging, evergreen content for long term results.

You’re ready to get your engagement on.

Of course there are many more ways to improve the engagement rates for your Facebook posts. (I didn’t even mention the use of emojis — 😬.) We’ve found it’s important though, regardless, to pay attention to your own social media habits, to be aware of what you yourself are engaging with, and try to emulate that style of content.

Social media may be challenging because it’s constantly evolving, but it’s also full of fun, fresh and creative approaches to reaching new audiences. So, just keep that in mind as you utilize the four fundamental tips above, and watch as your Facebook engagement rates continue to grow.

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