Every business knows that Facebook is integral to a successful marketing strategy. But creating a winning strategy on the platform takes more than tossing random piece of content onto your Page and hitting publish.

The social network provides you with plenty of bells and whistles to help enhance your outreach strategy, but none of that matters if you don’t have a solid foundation to build upon. The content you publish sets the tone for your strategy, and without quality posts, you won’t be able to achieve your business objectives.

While there’s no such thing as the perfect Facebook post, there are ways you can optimize your content for success. Here, we’re going to look at 10 Facebook posting tips to help you improve brand awareness:

1. Use Tags for Additional Reach

An excellent way to put your content in front of users is to tag others in your Facebook Post. This is perfect for cross promotion with business partners and collaborators. It’s also a chance for you to acknowledge individual fans or customers. User-generated content is huge. If you’re integrating it into your Facebook strategy, tagging the original poster in your re-post is a digital kudos.

Now hold on just a minute. Doesn’t this encourage users to click through and visit other Profiles and Pages? Won’t it take valuable views away from your Page? It might seem that way on the surface, but tagging is a very smart strategy for Facebook marketers and here’s why: reach and engagement.

Tagging other Pages puts your content in front of users that might not follow you, thus increasing your reach. If you tag another Page, there’s a chance that post will appear in the News Feed of someone who Likes the Page that’s being tagged. It also gives you an organic boost when it comes to Facebook’s algorithm, which is heavily influenced by social media engagement. A click on your post counts as engagement. So by users clicking the tagged Page in your post, they’re actually helping to deliver your content to more News Feeds.

2. Leverage Trends

Trending Topics on Facebook show you the topics that have recently become popular on the social network. Based on engagement and location, Trending Topics are a powerful way to connect people around a major event and help them to engage in meaningful conversations.

Facebook posting tips like this will give you a glimpse of what’s being talked about and shared the most on the platform. One way you can get involved is by writing posts that are timely and include references—hashtags or keywords—to relevant trending topics.

Influenced by real-time happenings around the globe, it can be difficult to know what’ll be trending from day to day. That and these topics will change depending on your. That said, there are some trends that are easy to predict. For example, the presidential debates, popular sporting events (such as the World Series) and awards shows are among some of the live events you can expect to see trending.

3. Include Branded Hashtags, But Not Too Many

Hashtags play an important part in driving traffic to your Facebook Page. When used strategically within a post, they can also help you measure the reach and overall success of your marketing campaign. But while they certainly help with discoverability, don’t go overboard.

Research found that too many hashtags lower engagement, which can ultimately hurt your reach. In its study, posts with 1-2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions while posts with more than 10 hashtags averaged only 188 interactions.

4. Balance Stories & Promotions

Facebook is, without a doubt, a powerful marketing and sales tool, but not every post you publish needs to revolve around selling. Users want to see less promotional content and more stories from friends and Pages. A good content strategy will find a balance between promotional and non-promotional content.

Your Facebook Page should be about your business and products, but when crafting your content strategy, remember the 80/20 rule—80% of your updates should be social in nature. Try to stay away from publishing posts that only push people to buy a product, enter a promotion or sweepstakes or that reuse the same content from ads.

Instead, balance your promotional content with posts that are educational, entertaining or whimsical in nature. If you’re constantly selling, it doesn’t seem like you’re interested in building relationships or engaging in conversations with your customers.

5. Educate, Entertain & Repeat

Publishing posts for the sake of updating your Timeline isn’t a good approach when it comes to maintaining a successful content strategy. Instead, one of the better Facebook posting tips is to focus on creating content that fulfills your business objectives—remember those?

The Facebook posts you publish should add value in some way. Aim for updates that are educational, entertaining or conversational. Once you’ve found a balance that works for you, repeat. Then you can monitor your posts and their performance to see if one particular type of content is resonating with viewers more than others.

6. Say More With Less

Consider this statistic for a second: The average adult’s attention span is only eight seconds, which is one second faster than a goldfish. Customers are inundated with messages and content on a daily basis. Ensuring your posts capture and hold the interest of viewers is crucial.

On average, people read about 20-28% of the words in your post. When drafting your post, pay special attention to the first three to four words. Aside from any attached media you may have included, this is typically the first thing someone will notice about your update.

Your Facebook Page isn’t your company blog. Although some people are warming up to long-form content on the social network, not everyone is. In fact, Facebook posts between 0-50 characters receive the most engagement. Another study found that posts with 40 characters or less perform the best in terms of engagement.

optimal-facebook-post-length

Remember that you’re competing with updates from customers’ friends and families. Users will need a compelling reason to scroll past a friend’s update in favor of engaging with yours. Focus your energy on creating copy that’ll hook viewers and leave out unnecessary details.

7. Have More to Say? Use a Link

Not every message can be whittled down to a single sentence, and that’s okay. But you can’t assume that users will read through multiple paragraphs of text before reaching the call-to-action. Spoiler alert: they won’t. If you have a lot to say, then include a link in your Facebook post so people have the option of clicking through.

Research by Quintly found that links are the second most common type of content posted by Facebook Pages, accounting for 30% of posts worldwide. That percentage has likely shifted over time as photos, videos and links continue to compete for users’ attention. That said, Facebook is a consistent driver of referral traffic, responsible for about 40% of traffic sent to websites.

facebook-referral-traffic

People are including links in posts in two ways:

  1. In status updates where the link is the main focus of the post. In this case, the link appears with a large picture, a headline and some text that provides context on the link.
  2. In the text captions above photos. When shared this way, the link appears as a URL without any context.

Facebook found that people prefer to click links that are displayed in the link format rather than those included in link captions. The social network even prioritizes links displayed in the link-format within News Feed.

The link format offers viewers additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which can influence whether someone wants to click through. As such, you must ensure that even your blog content is optimized for Facebook. Use strong headlines and leads.

8. Use Clear Calls-to-Action

You need to make it clear to users that you want them to do something and provide them with the necessary tools to do so. If your goal is to drive awareness and reach, then getting people to share your post should be a top priority. Creating compelling, high-quality content is the first step to meeting that objective. The second step is to tell viewers what you want.

In the case of shares, sometimes asking for what you want is the best approach. Posts that include the word “share” receive almost twice as many social actions (comments, likes and shares) compared to those that don’t.

Just make sure that your call-to-action aligns with the copy included in your post. For example, if your post is all about the benefits that come from subscribing to your newsletter, your call-to-action shouldn’t encourage people to shop now or download an app. Every asset included in your post should support the main objective of that post.

Here’s a great yet subtle example from Fitbit. This post is engaging because it appeals directly to viewers who feel like they need a little extra motivation or a challenge. It asks a direct question, provides a solution and links back to the campaign it’s promoting.

9. Use Original Photos

Posting photos is a great way to get attention from fans and drive engagement. Images account for 87% of the content shared on Facebook. This shouldn’t be surprising because images are much easier to digest than text. But not all images are created equal. When it comes to dressing up your business’ Facebook Page, focus on using original pictures rather than stock images.

Facebook posts that contain original photos feel more personal and organic. One of the reasons you’re using social media in the first place is to humanize your brand and help your customers learn about the people behind the logo. If you’re relying on generic images, you’re actually working against that objective.

Almost every, if not every employee has a smartphone. Leverage this by asking them to take some real pictures within their departments or while attending company-related events. Add these photos to your Facebook Page and use them in posts throughout your content cycle.

And when it comes to images of your products, the occasional standalone product shot is acceptable, but spice things up a bit by showing people actually engaging with your product. Reach out to customers for some user-generated content and create a more compelling story for viewers.

10. Target Your Posts

Depending on what your goals are, you might want to publish something that will interest people of specific ages or genders, or in specific locations. The easiest way to control who sees your content is through targeting. Facebook’s Audience Optimization tool, which replaced the older Interest Targeting feature, provides you with an organic way to reach and engage select segments of your target audience.

This is really important, especially for local businesses who want to appeal to people in specific locations. Getting started is very easy. If you have more than 5,000 Likes, Audience Optimization features were automatically turned on for your Page. If you haven’t reached that milestone yet, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to your Facebook Page.
  2. Click Settings in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Select General in the tab column on the left side of the screen.
  4. Find Audience Optimization for Posts in the middle of the page and click Edit.
  5. Check the box that enables you to use the feature.
facebook-audience-optimization

We recommend that you explore your Facebook Audience Insights before diving too deep into your targeting practices. This free tool provides you with behavioral and demographic data for your audience, which will give you a much better idea of who is engaging with your Page. Also, we should note that when you do target a post, it only affects how it’s delivered in News Feed. The post will still be visible to anyone who visits your Facebook Page.

A Few Parting Pieces of Advice

If you’ve followed the Facebook posting tips outlined above and posted with intent, your Facebook Page should be an engagement hub for your business. Don’t let messages from customers fall through the cracks. Our Smart Inbox brings messages from all your Facebook Pages into one, filterable stream, enabling you to easily monitor, engage with and reply to Timeline posts, comments and private messages.

Analyze What’s Working

You must track how your content performs. Effective data analysis will allow you to adapt your Facebook content strategy over time and deliver more of the content your audience responds to. A Facebook management tool like Sprout Social will help you measure, monitor and track your social activity.

analytics-report-facebook-pages

Dig into Facebook Insights data on the post level—including dark posts—to track performance. Through visualizing this data, you’ll better understand impressions, fan growth and content behavior, which will only make your future posts stronger.

Stay Organized

A great publishing strategy is more than just stellar content. Timing is everything, and without the right tools to effectively plan, organize and manage your content calendar, even the most engaging campaigns can fall flat.

A content calendar takes some of the guess work out of your strategy. At the very least, you should never be caught scrambling to find something to share. With Sprout, it’s easy to manage all Facebook posts from your team and make changes or add content. You can also draft posts for one or several Pages, attach images, edit meta data and apply organic targeting.

A successful content strategy on any social network weighs heavily on the relationships you build. Don’t just publish content and walk away. Focus on creating conversations about the things that you post and respond to users when they comment.