Many Facebook managers start the content creation process from their organization’s perspective, with a goal to share its story and its message.
Because the organization’s message is the most important thing, that seems the logical approach for beginning the creative process.
However, if you embark on content creation in exactly the opposite manner—with your fans’ needs first, with your organization’s messages, campaigns, and values as resources to serve up the content your fans need—your content will consistently reach and engage more people.
Here are seven habits of engaging Facebook content creators:
1. Understanding your audience
Before you begin posting content, evaluate and gain a solid idea of your audience: “Does it consist of women, seniors, Americans…?” If you have Facebook personae, that’s even better.
However, the people you want to be interacting with via your content may be different from those who are actually engaging with your content.
To have a well-rounded picture of the difference between your intended audience and people who engage with your Facebook page, head over to the “People” tab in Facebook Insights; you’ll find demographics for fans, the people your page reaches and those it engages.
2. Validating sense of social self
Think carefully about your message: what you’d like to say and how it maps to your audience’s motivations.
People engage with content on Facebook in part to show their friends who they are and what they care about. If your goal is to increase your base, your fans are in constant need of content that helps define their social media personae.
Before you post, ask yourself:
- When fans engage with this content, what will that say about them to their Facebook friends?
- Does this content align with what I believe my fans want their friends to think of them?
- If I were to see this in my News Feed, would I engage with it?
3. Reflecting audience preferences
Highly effective Facebook content reflects your audience’s preferences. From your fans’ point of view, which format would be best received—video, images, text with a quote, etc.?
Also, consider these content types to test and measure:
- Smile-worthy. Post things that Facebook fans can share with friends to make them smile. If you’re creating content for an organization with a serious mission, look for tasteful ways to inject humor.
- Inspiring. Content that inspires does consistently well. Many Facebook users want inspiring content to be a part of their personal narratives.
- Informative. One great way to build a network on Facebook is to be a trusted source of information. Dig deeper, and you’ll discover that your fans want to be a trusted source of information to their friends, which leads your fans to share your informative content.
- Timely. Some of the highest-performing content concerns current events and issues that people are passionate about. Keep your eyes open for content your fans care about, and help them be seen as the first to know about it.
4. No fear of failure
Don’t be afraid to test content types, and certainly don’t be afraid to fail. You will learn where your content strengths are to hone your understanding of your audience’s content preferences.
Use data to develop a sense of the base level of content engagement, and measure against it.
The “Posts” tab on Facebook Insights will be incredibly helpful, providing insight into engagement and reach.
To understand success at a micro level, look at metrics for individual posts.
Facebook provides data such as people reached, “likes,” shares and even whether someone “liked” your post via someone else’s shared content—a good way to see where extra shares and “likes” come from.
5. Posting at the right time
You’ll find a vast number of sources on the best days and times to post, but the right time for you should be informed by your audience.
Again, Facebook Insights has powerful things to say about when your audience is online and most active. However, use that information only as a general guide: That information deals with when fans are online, not when they are actually interacting with your content, and most posts are seen in a user’s News Feed, not on your page as soon as you post it.
Accordingly, I suggest page managers create (or buy) a tracking system that correlates audience engagement with posting date and time. Over time you’ll see which days and times perform best for your content.
6. Being goal-oriented
Successful Facebook content is goal-oriented—either as part of a bigger campaign or in the sense of a goal for the specific post itself.
Whether you’re looking to raise awareness or obtain email addresses from petition signers, each piece of Facebook content should work toward a specific outcome.
Make sure that desired outcomes are tailored to your audience. Ask: “Is this an action I would take if I were an audience member?”
7. Willingness to change
Over time, new people join your audience and bring with them new preferences; as a result, your audience preferences can change.
Keep tabs on your audience to check whether what you thought you knew about it still applies. And be willing to try new things as you audience changes.
If you’re effective at understanding your audience and posting content that fans want to share, your engagement should grow. If not, it’s time to analyze where you might be going wrong.
A version of this post first appeared on MarketingProfs.