Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
Certain types of Facebook posts tend to see higher engagement than others. Here are eight post types with examples to help you get higher engagement on Facebook.
People love quotes. They wear them on t-shirts, put them on walls, get them tattooed, put them on their desktops and desks, and post them in every nook and cranny of the Internet. Motivational and whimsical quotes from figures like Gandhi, MacArthur, and Oscar Wilde appear daily in newspapers and magazines, and they’re a great way to get attention on Facebook too.
There are multiple searchable online quote libraries to find quotes from. Search through Pinterest and Tumblr to find inspirational visual quotes.
2. Ask a Question
Asking a question is a great way to increase engagement that doesn’t require searching or resources. You just have to ask. A divisive question is often the best way to go, because it stimulates conversation between fans. Ideally, choose a question that divides your readership on the issue rather than one that divides them from you because you asked it. Here are some best practices for asking questions for engagement on Facebook.
Keep it short.
Ask multiple choice and yes or no questions, and remember that light-hearted questions get the biggest response.
Most people are eager to get into a conversation, but they prefer a fun one. I don’t recommend using the “Questions” feature on Facebook. It won’t really help your EdgeRank even if the question is popular with your audience, and many people who answer it won’t even see where it’s from.
A tip is an idea that doesn’t require much new thought. It’s a helping hand in dealing with an issue you’ve already identified and are working on. As such, it’s a great way to generate engagement on Facebook.
Tips are engaging precisely because they’re relevant to your audience’s concerns; which makes your audience more likely to react.
If your tips work, you’ll get positive feedback.
Even better, you might get to generate a conversation in which fans share their own tips with each other.
4. Caption This Image
People love to add funny comments to photos and images. It’s been a casual “sport” for a long time — people used to do it over magazines and newspapers — and the juxtaposition between the imagery and the language used to describe it was the reason behind the success of the long-running cult show Mystery Science Fiction Theater 3000. Just because you don’t want your Facebook page to be attractive to chortling 3 a.m. nerds doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this same idea.
When people caption a photo or image they create a new piece of content.
Their friends are notified, they share it, like it, contradict it, or take part themselves and you get boosted engagement, reach, and EdgeRank in the process. If you’re looking for a place to get photos from, try Twisted Sifter, TotallyCoolPix, petapixel.com, Pictory, or create your own image or find one from popular posts on Tumblr. Remember to provide proper photo attribution when necessary.
Using images that you just happen to like is a valid tactic, at least until you figure out what your audience likes, but identifying memes can help here too — see more below.
5. Fill in the Blank
Fill-in-the-blank posts feel incomplete until they’re engaged with. People love filling in blanks, and the most effective fill-in-the-blank posts are the ones that let fans share their creativity or ideas.
Ideally they’ll generate some short comments that other fans will react to.
Make fill-in-the-blank posts relevant to your fans and the space you’re working in to see the best results.
The number of people exploiting memes on the Internet is incredibly high. From Charlie Sheen’s peculiar pronouncements about “Adonis DNA” to “rage comics” to “Chuck Norris facts,” the Internet is the natural home of the meme.
A meme is the cultural equivalent of a gene. First posited by biologist Richard Dawkins, memes are supposed to survive, replicate, and thrive in social and cultural spaces the way genes do in the biological world. I don’t think Professor Dawkins was thinking about memes like “Y U NO Guy” when he came up with the idea, but it sounds custom-made for marketers, and a successful meme guarantees social virality. How much better to let your marketing ride on one that already exists?
The best way to fall flat with memes is to use any of the ones I identified above; they’re all played out, and using them would be a sign that you’re not keeping up. Instead, try looking through your fans’ Facebook conversations to see what memes feature in their discussions and posts.
7. Ask an Either/Or Question
Either/or questions define respondents, placing them into one of two opposing camps.
Their opinions may be nuanced and they may discuss the finer points but if you can get them to be either for or against something, you’ve got a discussion going.
Finding something non-contentious, relevant, and suitable is more difficult for some markets than others. But a question like “should lead shot be banned in wildlife areas?” will give hunting enthusiasts plenty to talk about while actually reminding them how much they have in common.
8. Topical, Trendy Questions
These types of posts rely on a sense of what is currently topical or trending. For examples, here are two posts from Kickstarter and Timberland just before the World Series.
Think of them as the place where “newsjacking” and “memejacking” meet. Ask questions about what people are talking about. Check Google Trends to find topics to newsjack and remember to not just repeat the news but to use popular commentary on the news.