Facebook: It's Copywriting

If you own a business, or work for a nonprofit or church, it’s likely you’re an administrator for at least one Facebook page. As it’s increasingly difficult for brands and organizations to get traction on Facebook without paying for ads, it’s more important than ever to use your time on the platform in an effective way. Users now have to choose to show your posts in their news feed, and the average Facebook user isn’t likely to think through this consciously.
Your best chance to get seen on Facebook without paying is to create shareable content that others will pass along to their friends. According to a random sample of 5000 Facebook posts (between April 21 – May 21, 2013) by Social Bakers, 93 percent of the most engaging posts are photo posts. Not surprising — everyone loves a photo.
Obviously every post doesn’t lend itself to a photo; you’ll also post links, videos and plain text statuses.  You may link to a new blog post, a great video that highlights your product or service, or just ask a question designed to get a response. Here are some screenshots from Facebook pages that I think do it pretty well.

Ah, a favorite. A local bakery that makes the best sweet treats in town. Prominent words: Christmas, chocolate, peppermint. Yum.

Clever use of a photo by a local restaurant; no copy is needed, but the fa-la-la adds a sense of fun.

Here’s one that’s good, but could be better if they had deleted the link from the copy.

So how do you increase the chance that your readers will engage with a non-photo post? I have three ideas.

  1. Be a copywriter, not a copy-paster. Being on Facebook isn’t the same as using Facebook for business. You must think like a copywriter. Write headlines that generate interest, don’t waste words, and whatever you do, don’t copy and paste paragraphs into a text or link post. If the post isn’t read, it won’t be shared. Text posts and text for other types of posts should be no more than about 80 – 120 words.
  2. Get rid of the link in the copy. As you’re typing the URL, you’ll see that the headline of the post or page will appear below the entry window. Once it does, you no longer need the link in the copy, so delete it. You’ll have a cleaner post that isn’t confusing. See the baseball link post above.
  3. Be reader-focused. Even if you’re a nonprofit that feeds hungry children, ask yourself “What’s in it for me?” from the point of view of the reader. Don’t talk about how much help you need, or how awesome you think your event will be. Show them how they and others will benefit. It’s not about you.

What types of posts do you prefer to read? What works best for your organization page?

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