Facebook is all about the sharing: pictures of your puppy, memories of your wedding, invitations to parties and stories of your summer. Brands want to get in on the action too, but ever since The Social Network began cracking down on companies asking followers to share their content, it's become increasingly difficult to capture the analytics that drive marketing decisions.
Fortunately, the sharing experience is still alive and well between brands and their Facebook followers. It's all about creating content that makes your fans want to show it to others organically, i.e. without you expressly suggesting it. Here are some tips on how to make that happen.
1. Use Images
This tip comes straight from the Facebook team and is the first thing they suggest to companies trying to create compelling and shareable content. "Your photo should make people laugh, cry, or go 'awww!'" says Facebook expert Mari Smith. "When you do share photos, make sure they look great and are eye-catching in a smaller version, given most people will see a reduced size in their News Feed and/or mobile app."
2. Think Mobile-First
According to a recent Facebook investor's report, 655 million users - almost half - only ever access the service on a mobile device. Optimize your photos at 560 x 292 for the easiest viewing because, after all, your followers won't share what they can't see. Text should also be succinct enough to display well on smaller screens so users don't have to scroll around to read your headlines.
3. Choose Your Wording Carefully
Content should contain actionable information that makes people want to tell others about it. Words like 'discount', 'advice', 'inspire' or 'offer' have a natural appeal to our sense of discovery and curiosity. Remember to deliver what you promise, though - if you're telling an "amazing" story through words or pictures, make sure your content provides just that.
4. Consider the Timing
What time and day of the week you post content is almost as important as the content you offer. A sporting goods company may score the most shares by posting during professional sports events, while an alarm clock company might see the best engagement with early morning posts. Analyze your audience stats to find the best posting times for your brand.
5. Make it Relevant
Nothing steers followers away from sharing your content faster than stumbling upon irrelevant messaging. Your CEO might think a video of husky puppies playing in the snow is adorable enough to share with your brand's followers but if they expect to see pictures of the running shoes you sell, they'll click away before the idea of sharing even enters their minds.
Increasing the amount of shares on Facebook isn't easy, but engaging your followers can be a lot of fun if you think outside the box and get creative. Just like all other evolving marketing techniques, it takes some trial and error, but the payoff is worth it.
Main image via OmniArt/Shutterstock