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Wednesday 12 February 2014

The 8 Commandments of Facebook Content Creation

“Quit it with these long posts! I just ignore them!”

I recently posted a status on Facebook sharing my opinion of long posts (specifically on Facebook), backed up with a study of course. However, I believe content creation, in general, is such an important subject that I’d like to harp on about it a little more.

So in this article I’ll go into more depth regarding ‘post lengths’, but also provide you with 8 golden genius drops* of content creation advice.

*Golden Genius Drop: A piece of priceless advice that one’s mind may chew on.

Long posts SUCK (most of the time).

99% of those using social media are doing so for the reason described in the title – to be ‘social’. They’ll come on to check out what’s happening with their friends, maybe skim over a few news stories, watch a video or two, or check out a new restaurant. They don’t come on to read lengthy articles or to learn, in great detail, about any particular subject - We have blogs and news sites for that kind of stuff. At most, people will interact with links to articles that have a brief description before-hand to help them decide whether they want to spend time reading on.

According to Track Social, Facebook posts of more than 140 characters attract a significantly less amount of engagement (Figure 1.). However, this doesn’t mean you have to start cutting all of your posts down to Tweets. The beauty of Facebook is that there are no limitations here.

A long post can still gain a healthy amount of engagement IF it’s structured in the right way; but when I say long, I mean long within reason. My rule of thumb is that if a posts runs over 100 or so words write a blog article. Any more than 100 words and you enter into the boring/ignored category described at the start.
Figure 1

To find out about how to structure these longer posts that still provoke engagement, read on!

The 8 Commandments

Here are the 8 rules I follow when creating Facebook posts:

1.       Write an attention grabbing opening statement:
Think of your post like a newspaper article; the headline is the hook for readers.

2.       Good grammar and perfect spelling:
I shouldn’t need to explain this one. Poor grammar and misspelt words just looks careless, so be careful.

3.       Shorten links:
These save space and look far tidier (I have slight OCD…). Use Google URL Shortener to help you here.

4.       Use bespoke graphics:
Something I try to do as often as possible is use bespoke graphics or original photography. These present a professional image to followers, and will keep you out of copyright trouble!

Simply saving images from Google is lazy and risky. So if you can’t create bespoke graphics, or have no unique photography, then use websites such as Flickr to source images.

5.       Use Hashtags to label the subject, but that is all:
Unfortunately the introduction of hashtags into Facebook didn’t quite work out. According to EdgeRank Checker’s research, Facebook hashtags are actually less likely to make a post go viral. People also don’t tend to take part in public discussions on Facebook the same way they do on Twitter. So again, this makes the Facebook hashtag redundant.

However research aside, Facebook hashtags are a great way of labelling what your post is about. Think of them like labelling a blog article... These labels may attract your audience to read your post.

6.       Get to the fucking point:
As previously explained, people have short attention spans when spending time on social networks. Don’t bore your poor followers…

7.       Include a call to action:
Studies show that people are more likely to engage if asked to.

8.       Sign off with your website URL:
Not only does this make a post look professional, but it drives potential customers to the point of transaction.

If you’re purely using social media for PR purposes the same rule applies. The majority of your service/product information should reside on your website.

Let’s wrap it up

So there you have it, eight ways you can create more professional looking Facebook posts that will encourage engagement. All you need to do now is discuss an interesting or useful subject.

To give you an example of what a good post may look like, I thought I’d sign off by following my “8 Commandments”:

A Sweet-Ass Blog Article Sign Off:

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and, as always, would really appreciate any feedback. So who’s going to start the discussion? Comment below chums.

If you’d like to check out some of my Facebook posts then join me here: http://goo.gl/5nbmAV

#FacebookPosts #8Rules