Practical Ecommerce

Understanding the 6 Facebook Post Types

There are six types of posts you can make to your Facebook page: Video, Photo, Link, Question, Event, and Text. This article outlines reasons why you would use them and best practices for each post type.

1. Video

Videos are among the most compelling and popular formats for Facebook posts. YouTube reported that over 500 years of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook. Merchants can use video for product promotion, to drive awareness, and for branding.

  • Put compelling content up front. Use your strongest content within the first few seconds to compel people to keep watching.
  • Don’t just feature products. Instead, feature videos of customers using your product.
  • Feature Fans and customers. Request Fans and customers that they upload videos featuring themselves. This must be facilitated within an application or a destination outside of Facebook, such as YouTube.
  • Don’t put logos in the video. Harvard researchers found that the more prominent or intrusive the logo, the more likely viewers are to stop watching, even if they know and like the brand.
  • Keep videos short. Keep videos between 60 to 90 seconds. However, AdAge reports that videos two to three minutes long can produce a stronger viral effect.

2. Photo

According to Facebook, posts that include a photo generate up to 180 percent more engagement than the average post. Hence, use images whenever possible.

  • Use relevant photos. An eye-catching photo can draw Fans’ attention, but make sure that the photo relates to the brand.
  • Maintain high photo resolution. Use a photo that is at least 168×128 pixels and maintains a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Host your photos on Facebook in a Facebook photo album. That way, Fans can access images easier and quicker than if they are required to go to a third-party site such as Flickr.
  • Keep text descriptions short. Use photo captions and descriptions that are less than 90 characters, as text that is any longer will be truncated. If you have to use text longer than 90 characters, make sure your most critical information is included first.
  • Remember to link back. Use a URL in the text of your post to drive traffic back to your ecommerce website. Facebook recommends placing the link at the end of the 90 characters.
  • Get real. Facebook says in this PDF that its most engaging images are those that depict real people, real things, and real life situations. “Because such photos appear authentic and closely resemble images posted by individuals, they have the ability to trigger much deeper emotional responses than images that are digitally manipulated and contain large amounts of text,” states Facebook.
  • Don’t place text on photos. Text or text overlay in images may be perceived as inauthentic or impersonal. Instead, use photos that send a message or tell a story on their own without the use of words.
  • Use your brand logo sparingly. Your logo most likely already appears as the profile image. Facebook suggests that you consider including a photo of your product in action rather than overlaying a logo on the image.
  • Keep it simple. The simpler the image, the clearer your brand message will be.
  • Focus on quality. Make sure your photo is of high enough resolution to represent your brand in a positive light.

3. Links

Links are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your ecommerce site.

  • Don’t include a URL in the text of your post.
  • Include links to Facebook apps, custom landing pages, blog posts, and helpful content.

4. Questions

Use Questions to gather opinions about something related to your brand or products, and to drive engagement among fans.

  • Stay brief. Keep your questions short and concise.
  • Avoid specifics. Ask questions that are general enough that most people could answer. Use no more than three options in the answers, as others will be truncated.
  • Related to your company. Include your brand’s name or product in the question itself.
  • Include an option that requires no background knowledge. This allows any person to express their opinion even if they are not yet familiar with your brand.
  • Monitor user input. Only check the “Allow anyone to add options” box if you want to allow user generated responses and you’re positive it will result in a better post.

5. Events

“Events” are for mainly for those that take place at physical locations. But they are not restricted to that. Ecommerce merchants can use events for special product promotions, webinars, or seasonally related sales.

  • Image and date. Include an image and date with the event.
  • Avoid routine events. Don’t use Events as a reminder for people to check updates, complete a form, or make a purchase that can be completed at any time.

6. Text-only Page Posts

Text-only posts can be used for many reasons, such as announcements, questions that do not require polling options, or well-known quotes.

  • Stay relevant. Make sure the message is relevant to your brand or product.
  • Use fill-in-the blank posts. Ask your audience to fill in the blank when appropriate to encourage participation. This type of post is useful if you want to get people to talk about specific attributes of your products, such as explaining why they like it or how they use it. Fill-in-the-blank posts generate about 90 percent more engagement than the average post.
  • Make the post memorable. Don’t waste Fans’ time with insignificant or superfluous information.
  • Stay brief. Keep the copy less than 150 characters, as the rest will be truncated. Also, Facebook states that posts between 100 and 250 characters — less than 3 lines of text — see about 60 percent more Likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters.
Paul Chaney

Paul Chaney

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. Elizabeth Ball August 1, 2012 Reply

    Hi Paul,
    this is great info, but I am a bit confused by your Links entry, saying it is good for traffic to your website. You suggest putting links to useful content, blogs etc but also say not to put URLs in the text.
    Can you please clarify? Where are you supposed to place it?

  2. Paul Chaney August 1, 2012 Reply

    Good point Elizabeth. Allow me to clarify.

    First, this is a tad confusing because the only way to include a link is by copying and pasting it into the status update field. However, once that’s done, Facebook recognizes the link and pulls information from the source, which can include a thumbnail image (if an image is available in the source), title and some body copy. Once that occurs – which, normally, it does immediately – you can then delete the URL in the status update field.

    The reason I suggest removing the URL from the status update field is because many URLs contain long strings, which makes the post more jumbled looking and may divert the reader’s attention from the actual text in the post itself. It’s more of an aesthetic issue, however, but my preference is to remove it.

  3. Elizabeth Ball August 1, 2012 Reply

    Have you seen any usability tests on facebook posts with an without links?

  4. Paul Chaney August 2, 2012 Reply

    I have not, though I’m sure they exist. If you come across any, let me know. I’d be happy to report on it here.