It’s no secret that all community managers want their Facebook communities to thrive.
Comments and shares are the currency of social media. The question that plagues community managers every day is “How do I spark more engagement on my Facebook posts?”
While I encourage you to post status updates and link to high-quality, highly-relevant content on your Facebook page, there’s no better form of engaging Facebook content than media, namely video and photos.
According to Doug Schumacher at Zuum (a social insight tool), video is the most-shared type of brand content on Facebook, followed by photos. But it isn’t enough to just post a video or photo. You have to get your fans to interact.
Here are seven ways to fire up your audience and motivate them to contribute to and share your brand’s content.
1. Design a custom image.
To show you why custom images are effective, why not start with one of the most engaging posts ever?
Oreo, which has one of the largest Facebook fan bases at 27 million fans, made waves with its multi-colored cookie to celebrate gay pride. What would be a risky move for most brands—taking a stance on a polarizing issue—Oreo’s post set the Web ablaze and garnered nearly 300,000 likes, more than 90,000 shares, and more than 60,000 comments for a 1.67 percent engagement rate. That’s impressive for such a huge community. All it took was a little Photoshopping.
2. Customize memes and pop culture.
Facebook fans have little patience for old news, but love to engage and share content that’s new. As memes and popular culture flow through our social streams, some become popular and fizzle in, well, a day.
You can stimulate a good deal of sharing when you create a custom photo that plays on a popular meme or news. Green Giant (our client) created its own cover of the popular Carly Rae Jepson song “Call Me Maybe” with a veggie spin.
3. Use photos to ask questions.
Why use a photo when a standard status update will do? Because people love to share photos! The next time you have a question to ask your fans, why not find a relevant image and design the question on top of it?
Coca-Cola asked its 45 million fans what summer days with Coca-Cola are like.
4. Celebrate holidays.
What does everyone talk about on Facebook when it’s a holiday? The holiday! Make sure your brand takes part in a unique way. Oreo goes so far as to celebrate Bastille Day and Twitter’s birthday. Converse celebrated with some cool red, white and blue Chucks, while Budweiser—a quintessential American beer—designed a slick cover photo.
5. Highlight product launches/updates with video.
Your brand’s most loyal fans get excited when you change or update your product or service. Just look at the hoopla surrounding the release of any Apple product.
Instead of linking to a blog post, why not put together a quick video?
When Facebook released its stand-alone camera app, it posted a one-minute video. Surprisingly, Facebook is not an avid poster on its page (it posts only once or twice a month), but fans shared this video 6,675 times, liked it 39,509 times, and left more than 25,000 comments.
6. Feature user-created content.
Who doesn’t love a few minutes of Facebook fame? Giving your fans a chance to be featured in your brand’s timeline or cover photo can be a huge motivator for engagement.
Warby Parker Eyewear, a Post-Advertising favorite, wrote the book on fan-featured content. Since Warby Parker will send you as many frames as you’d like with free shipping and returns, it has effectively turned its customers’ homes into its storefront. Fans take pictures of themselves trying on the frames, and post them to the Warby Parker Facebook page. They get feedback not only from the brand, but from the community.
7. Make it too good not to share.
This is probably the most difficult of the eight ways, but it’s possible.
Red Bull has made it a practice to post incredible videos and photos that are simply so cool your hand clicks the share button before your brain can tell it to. Fans shared the photo below 5,438 times, liked it 35,795 times, and commented on it 767 times for a 1.5 percent engagement rate.
If you’re a fan of Mario Cart or Big Wheels, you’ll want to watch this video Red Bull posted as well:
8. Offer incentives.
There’s no question that rewards motivate behavior. You want fans to engage and share your content, and the better the reward, the better their response will be. It’s not always appropriate, but at the right time, a prize (which could be anything, even a simple 25-cent coupon) can get fans to click.
There are a variety of Facebook contests you can host (though please don’t make me like another photo of my friend’s baby), but the better the prize, the more engagement you’ll get.
Of course, every brand is different, and not all audiences will respond to every strategy I’ve outlined above. As you would with any marketing activity, test and learn. Figure out what resonates with your fans, and work hard to deliver it to them every day.
How do you increase Facebook engagement?