You’ve already established an attractive Facebook following. Now you just have to funnel them to your website and landing page. But before you start begging your followers to click through, it’s important to create a well-rounded approach and connect with your audience so you can really make the most of your Facebook page. For the sake of degree programs, especially those online, maintaining a strong social media presence can be vital for success. A large majority of this youthful audience will likely be using Facebook multiple times per day. The following are a few of my favorite tips for improved Facebook page engagement:
1. Never publish a post without images
Include images in every Facebook post. Text doesn’t grab someone’s attention nearly as well as an image does. Facebook posts that contain images generate 104% more comments, 54% more likes, and 84% more click-throughs on average. Make sure your images are extremely relevant to your brand and consider including custom text or other elements using free online apps like canva.
2. Include a creative CTA
Guiding readers to make a decision through calls to action is a tried and true method of marketing success. However, words like “check out,” “see,” “read,” “like,” and “follow” are often overused on Facebook. When you’re promoting your school/brand, get creative and write something unique. For example, if you’re linking to a university curriculum page, consider using something like “Take a peek at our diverse curriculum.” It never hurts to dust off a thesaurus for help here.
3. Post around your followers’ schedule
There’s a running myth within social media marketing about the best time of day to post. The truth is, the only perfect time is the one that works for your specific page. Use Facebook’s page analytics to determine when your followers are online and strategize the best time of day to post. After checking the insights tab, click on “posts” to find a graph that will look like this:
4. Use events and holidays to your advantage
Whether it’s an academic conference or national cat day, you need to use events and holidays to your social advantage. Create a calendar of events and help your social team stay on target. Create posts leading up to big events as well as content on the day of.
5. Shorten text
The click-through rate on Facebook text that is roughly a paragraph in length is two to six times lower than posts that are close to 40 characters long. Keep posts short not only to maximize engagement but also to easily transfer the content over to your twitter feed.
6. Use a ratio for external vs internal content
I’ve found that an effective way to maintain a healthy content balance of sharable material vs. promotional pieces is dependent on the ratio between the two. You can come up with your own ideal ratio, but I’ve found that sharing content from your own site 30% of the time is ideal, while you should focus on sharable, entertaining content 70% of the time. Keep in mind, content that isn’t about you must be high in quality as to give your followers entertainment, information, and value. This really comes down to the fact that if you promote and advertise too much, people will lose a sense of value and find you to be too self-promotional.
7. Experiment with hashtags
A recent finding by Buzzsumo claims that engagement with Facebook posts decreased due to hashtag use. However, there are also several case studies supporting the benefits of hashtag use. Create your own or tap into trending topics, but most importantly, experiment with hashtags until you’ve learned more about how they impact your specific content.
8. Use video
While it’s time-consuming to film and edit video to post on your social channels, video has really proven itself to be the guiding force behind the future of social media engagement. Videos that are directly embedded on Facebook generally receive over six times the engagement of those directing followers to YouTube, so make sure you upload your videos natively to Facebook instead of hosting them on third party applications. The advent of live video has a lot of people talking as well. One way to take advantage of this would be a live Q&A, where prospective students can ask questions directly to a live administrator.
9. Ask questions
Asking questions is a simple and straightforward way to spark dialogue on your Facebook page. Questions can be added onto most posts if you think of a creative way to include them. Research provided by Buzzsumo has shown the effectiveness of question posts on facebook in the below bar graph.
In addition to this visualization, they noted that posts with questions AND images resulted in an average of 616.7 interactions, while posts with questions and without any images only received 144.45.
Here are some example questions to get you thinking:
- Get specific: What’s your favorite ___?
- Ask something controversial: Do you think/what is your opinion on ___?
- Highlight an upcoming event: Are you attending ___?
- Take advantage of time-sensitivity: Today is ___, how are you celebrating/recognizing it?
10. Know when to use organic audience targeting
While targeting a specific audience can potentially limit your overall reach, it is a great way to target specific follower segments when you have the right content. Not to mention, unlike Facebook Advertising, it’s completely free. Knowing when and how to enable organic, custom audience targeting can help you dial in on certain demographics, but don’t use it for just any post.
11. Recycle good content
Scroll through your post analytics in the Facebook pages backend and look for posts that received high engagement rates. Consider reposting or boosting them to recapitalize on their success. Make a note of the types of content that received high engagement. Did the posts have high visual appeal? Were they covering a specific topic? Use this information when building out future content.
12. Respond to comments and messages
You’ve probably heard this countless times, but you should ALWAYS respond to comments on your media or messages in your page’s inbox. Even if it’s a simple “nice” on one of your posts, thank them for it. Engaging with your audience is a great way to show that you are a real person behind the Facebook Page, which is vital to engagement success.
13. Post every other day
Kissmetrics recently analyzed the science of social timing and found that 1 post every 2 days will achieve the most likes on Facebook. Additionally, they found that the most sharing done on Facebook happens on Saturday.
14. Boost already successful posts
It’s surprising to see what $5.00 can do. Don’t dig too far back into your posting history. (I’d recommend nothing past the last two weeks.) If you see a recent notable post stand out, however, consider spreading it out to more people by adding on a couple bucks.
15. Schedule content
Even if your audience is on Facebook at 6:00 a.m., that doesn’t mean you have to be online, early in the morning, writing posts. Simply schedule posts ahead of time, on your own agenda, so you can stay in front of your audience when they’re online. Scheduling can help organize your strategy, and it’s native within Facebook and simply requires you to click on the dropdown icon next to “Post.”
16. Show them your humorous side
Lightening the mood can provide a great break from all the academic, industry content you would normally push through a scholarly Facebook news feed. Show your audience your funny side and they will be more enticed to come back to your page.
17. Link to good articles
It’s perfectly acceptable, and even expected, to link to content you didn’t publish. Facebook users enjoy consuming content on other websites. However, don’t just link to the first article you find. Make sure the article’s publisher is a reputable, established brand. I don’t recommend linking to any untrustworthy mom and pop blogs, which aren’t as credible as industry verticals, academic journals, or major media outlets. Additionally, there is a resounding preference for the length of external content. As you can see in the graph below, provided by Buzzsumo, Facebook users mostly like to get involved in articles anywhere from 1,000-3,000 words in length. (This article is 1,676, right in the sweet spot.)
18. Choose sharable words
As noted in tip 3, selecting the right linguistics can have critical consequences on engagement. Below you can find informative charts on the most and least sharable words on facebook. Graphs are provided by Dan Zarrella of Hubspot who analyzed 12,000 articles shared to Facebook.
19. Engage with other pages
Consider getting involved in the community via social media. By giving a shout out to a local cafe or store as a great study area, you can potentially tap into a new audience segment. Mention specific pages in your post headline by using the “@” symbol.
20. Integrate with instagram
The same Buzzsumo study (previously mentioned) also points out that images uploaded to Facebook from instagram received a 23 percent increase in engagement.
21. Help people, don’t sell to them
Instead of bluntly explaining the benefits of your degree program, address a problem and offer a solution. This can be applied to any business online. For example, a working mother may not think twice about getting her masters due to time restrictions. Luckily there are flexible, online options. Genuinely helping your audience can provide an increased reason for them to click through to your site or landing page.
This covers a large majority of the tactics that I personally use to assist university brand’s account engagement. One of the most important things to keep in mind when building out content is that the human connection is invaluable on Facebook. Treat your audience like the guests that they are, don’t ignore them, and give them a valued reason to interact with you. If you have any other tips or tricks that you use to boost page engagement, feel free to share them below.
Jordan Opel is an accomplished, creative professional. He is responsible for managing and enhancing organic social media activities for our various clients. Additionally, as the leading graphic designer, he contributes to a significant portion of Circa Interactive’s creative endeavors through motion-media design, illustration, and content-creation experience.