If you want to reach out with a post on Facebook, but you’re not sure how to do it – here’s a simple guide to help you get started.
You’re probably used to using Facebook as a private person, but when you use the platform professionally – as a business owner or as a representative of an organisation – the threshold can still feel high. This article is aimed at those who are less used to handle social media professionally and who cannot afford to hire a consultant for this purpose. I’ll go through the basics that I think you should consider, and hopefully it will take you some way down the road.
To make my example clear, I’m thinking that this particular blog post will be published on Facebook and I’m applying my principles, so to speak, to what you’re reading right now.
What is most important when you want to reach people on Facebook?
The message is always most important. Maybe you have a new product that you want to get attention for or you need to recruit a new employee. Think about how you would react to your message if you hadn’t heard about your company or organisation. Start with the recipient.
But apart from the message, what is most important to consider about the post itself? I venture to make a rock-hard ranking:
- The text of the Facebook post
- The destination
The image attracts interest and carries the message of your post
Imagine a post on Facebook without an image. It takes a lot for you to not just scroll past. You simply have to have an image, a good picture. A good image that suits the format in which it will be published.
In this example, we assume that it is less important to get reactions and comments on the Facebook post itself. The purpose of this article – just like your message – is to get people to read the article on the website.
Therefore, we should not publish the image on Facebook. We should publish the image on this page and let Facebook display the image as a link to the article.
Normally, you should be careful about using royalty-free images that you find online (because you are hardly the only one using the image you find). But to make my example clear, I choose a photo from the image site Unsplash. Surely a picture of two persons who seem to be appreciating something on a computer is appropriate to illustrate this guide, which is, after all, about making a post successful?
I crop the image to 1200 x 675 pixels because it’s a format that works well on the website and will work well on Facebook. There’s definitely fine-tuning to be done when it comes to images for different social platforms, but here we’re taking a shortcut that gives an okay result.
The text should stop the scrolling and push the user to the next step
As you might have guessed, it’s in this very blog post where most of the action is – and we’ll be linking here from the Facebook post. But one thing is important to put effort into when it comes to posting on Facebook; the text you put in with the link.
Traditionally, evening newspapers have been good at enticing people to read them. Today, everyone seems to be obsessed with click-bait. Phrases like “you’ll never guess what happened next” can be effective, but there’s a good chance your audience will be over-saturated with the most obvious lures (even if it actually piques our curiosity). Another common trick is to ask questions, but when you succeed at that, you really only get interaction with the post – and in this example, the goal is to get readers to your website.
Along with the image, the text should stop the scroll. Keep in mind that it’s usually the first 1-2 sentences that are visible in a post, especially on mobile. Then the user has to click through the rest of the text. So it’s important to get something in front of the reader early on that sparks interest. Or simply to be really brief.
I’ll give it a try:
Have you always wondered how to succeed with a post on Facebook, but been too shy to ask? Get some hot tips in The Beginner’s Guide to Successful Facebook Posts.
Feel free to comment (further down the page) with your own suggestion.
The website should match your Facebook post
If we’ve done our job reasonably well, visitors from Facebook will start to trickle in to this page. Then it’s important to take care of the reader, both that the article is actually about what the Facebook post promised, and that the visitor can do something as a next step. If you, the reader, find the reading valuable, you might consider whether there are other articles on the same topic on this site. You might even look for the opportunity to subscribe to a newsletter or follow the article author on social channels.
Be sure to make the most of the visit you’ve received. Make it easy to take the next step. What’s the next step for you? Of course, it depends on what your goal is, but classic examples are to move on to a product or service that is close to what the article is about or to simply contact you.
Make the next step super easy for the visitor!
What do I do if it doesn’t work?
It’s not always easy to understand what goes wrong when things don’t work on social channels. You might have a decent handle on your own website, but Facebook is actually someone else’s platform. Here are some problems that can occur and are quite common:
- The image doesn’t show up in the post when I link to my article. Facebook trawls your website for images and it’s not clear if their spider understands what the main image is supposed to be or not. Sometimes Facebook shows your logo or even some peripheral image from an ad on the page. In the worst case, the most reasonable solution may be to actually publish the image in the post on Facebook, paste your text and also a link to the page. Facebook will treat the post as an image with a caption, so in this case you have to rely on people clicking on the text. Not optimal, but sometimes necessity knows no law.
- Facebook shows an image from the site, but it’s an old image. If you’ve edited an old article, it’s possible that someone has linked to it on Facebook before. In that case, Facebook has saved some data from the last time (so as not to have to retrieve the same information multiple times) and a common problem is that an edited web page gets its old content exposed on Facebook. The solution is to paste the address of your page into Facebook’s Sharing Debugger. This will clear the saved data. Publish your post again and the correct image should appear.
- Too little of the text is visible in the post. Facebook is unpredictable and also changes all the time. A golden rule, as mentioned before, is to keep it short – but there’s a tendency for a short post to be cut sooner than a longer one, so it’s hard to know for sure what works. You have to try it out.
Photo: Ilyuza Mingazova on Unsplash