On the world’s largest social network, it’s all about the Likes and Shares. But it’s not easy to get them, especially after the new changes to Likes. Sure, you’ll get a few for every update, but how do you really maximize the engagement on a post? Researchers have a few ideas.
We’ve already talked about a few do’s and dont’s to increase Likes on your FB, but those are best practices that apply generally. Here, we’re going to focus on data-driven tips and tricks that have proven to be successful.
The Best Time to Post on Facebook
That old nugget of wisdom has some truth in it: post when most people aren’t posting and aren’t working.
Now, we think you shouldn’t pay any attention to your Klout score, but the social analytics firm recently conducted a study of a million Facebook users which found that people seem to spend more time on the social network in the evening, around 7-8pm.
While this research used the EST time zone, a quick check of with Wolfram Alpha’s personal Facebook analytics showed that this data matched with my own profile, which is based on Indian Standard Time. There was significantly more activity between 6 and 9 pm.
In fact, posting when people aren’t working seems to be the best idea.
“Facebook activity seems to be less affected by weekends. It is interesting to note that Facebook is most consistently used throughout the day on Sundays,” the Klout researchers note. Other research in the past has also found that posts on Sunday get more engagement.
Social media scheduler app Buffer also tried posting at non-peak times, and found a lot more engagement for posts going up at 11pm: “The 11:00 p.m. window was stellar. There were 25 percent more clicks on content, and every measure of clicks and reach increased.”
How Frequently You Should Post on Facebook
Here’s the secret about how often you should update your Facebook status: it doesn’t really matter.
You’ll hear a lot of people say you should only post 1-2 times a day, while others recommend posting much more often so that the Facebook news feed algorithm pushes one of them through to your friends and followers. But no-one has hard data on how the news feed algorithm works with reference to frequency of posts.
Hubspot was surprisingly forthcoming when they said there is no magic formula to how often you should post. “It depends,” the analytics firm says. “Truth is, this response isn’t wrong, as frustrating as it is. It does depend—on your followers’ age range, interests, Facebook habits, and so on.”
With this one, the best strategy would be to just use your own data and see what works for you. Use 1-2 times a day as a starting point of reference, and experiment with different frequencies. See which one has the best result for you and stick with that.
The Best Length for Your Facebook Post
There isn’t one single ideal length for a Facebook post. Instead, the best length is determined by whether you want more shares or likes. Short posts get more likes, long posts get more shares.
Social media analyst Dan Zarrella found that short posts of less than 100 characters had the highest chance of getting a Like. Facebook ad firm BlitzLocal’s study of 120 billion Facebook impressions found that the magic character count was between 80-120 characters. So aim to be around the 100 character mark.
Zarrella also found that posts with more than 400 characters were shared much more. Just for reference, 400 characters is the cut-off mark after which you get a “See More…” link to expand the post. Messages that were roughly 450 characters or 700 characters got the highest shares.
One important tip: If you are sharing a link, keep the text short and once you see the preview, delete the actual text of the link.
According to Facebook, “people often prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format (which appears when you paste a link while drafting a post), rather than links that are buried in photo captions.”
The Best Images and Videos to Insert in Your Post
Posts with images get 37% more engagement, according to Trackmaven, so try and include a photo or a video in your updates.
When you are sharing an image, use scientific tips to make photos more appealing, thus increasing the chance of getting Likes. In fact, photos with motivational/inspirational quotes are always popular. Pablo by Buffer creates stunning images with text easily, formatted perfectly for Facebook.
As for videos, ever since Facebook started autoplaying them in your news feed, videos are now overtaking photos as the most engaging type of content. SocialBakers analyzed data from October 2014 to February 2015 and found that videos had the highest organic reach and fan reach, compared to text, links or photos.
“Shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed. Keep in mind that auto-play videos play silently in News Feed until someone taps to hear sound, so videos that catch people’s attention even without sound often find success,” Facebook says.
Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, you can now use the Instagram app to shoot unforgettable videos and share them directly to Facebook.
The Best Topics for More Likes on Facebook
The more people Like or comment on your post, the higher it will be pushed in the News Feed. It’s kind of a vicious circle, but you can also cheat your way into higher visibility by talking about some trending topic.
With Facebook’s new algorithm, timely content appears higher-up in the News Feed, so it’s more likely to be seen by others: “Early testing of a small percentage of posts has shown that this update on average leads to a more than 6% increase in people engaging with these stories (e.g., more people share, comment, like or click).”
There are plenty of ways to find out what’s trending on Facebook at any given time. Once you have that information, tie in what you want to say to one of those topics to get a quick boost.
It’s also a good idea to use hashtags in your post. Trackmaven reckons posts with hashtags see 60% more interactions on average, but you need to use them strategically. Don’t abuse them or no one will pay attention to hashtags.
Which is the Best Tip, According to Your Experience?
Research is one thing, but the biggest factor is how it fares in the real world. Have you used any of the above tips and found it to work splendidly? Tell us about your experience in the comments!