Even though Facebook is the most widely adopted social network and has more than 1.3 billion users, it's not always easy for brands to know how to best deliver relevant content to the widest possible audience.
Facebook continually changes how it displays page content to fans; in turn, users daily find new ways to use Facebook.
Still, there are ways brands can create Facebook content that stands out and leads to more engagement.
1. Post visual content
A brand has only a few precious seconds to catch users' attention before they move on to the next item in their Facebook News Feed. Creative visual content is a great way to stand out. It's eye-catching and it takes up more real estate in the News Feed, giving fans more opportunity to engage with your content.
In particular, video works well on Facebook, which is now one of the largest video hosting sites in the world and accounts for more than 4 billion video views a day.
Shorter videos tend to perform better than longer ones, so keep your videos brief. Include something that grabs your audience's attention immediately—in the first three seconds—to get them to watch more instead of scrolling down their News Feed. Videos play automatically, but with the audio off, so include a relevant description in the post or a title in the video itself.
Photos also work great on Facebook, so consider adding more of them to your posts. Images of bright colors, people, and faces perform well.
Travel brands, such as Airbnb and Virgin America take advantage of the beautiful scenery associated with their products or service, showcasing photos taken from a plane window, unusual rental homes, colorful landscapes, and so on.
Even if you don't have such imagery associated with your brand, you can come up with some creative ideas. Share pictures from your office, your employees, your product in action (or, even, quality stock photography)—anything that can add color and visual interest to your brand's page.
2. Post more content when your audience is around
This tip seems obvious, but it is one of the easiest things to overlook on Facebook. Pay attention to what you can learn from Facebook Insights or other analytics about the days and times your fans are active on Facebook. Use that information to help decide when to post.
If you post most in the mornings, but your fans are active at night, are they still going to see your content? Test by deliberately posting at different times on different days, pay attention to engagement rates, and adjust for future posts. To test, you will likely need to schedule content outside traditional business hours, specifically in the evening and on Sundays, when many audiences are most active.
Also consider the time zones of your audience. If you have fans in other countries and time zones, be sure you're posting new content when they'll be paying attention. It's amazing what a difference even just a couple of hours can make.
Some brands work around this issue by posting frequently all throughout the day. This approach works great for BarkBox, for example, because it has a seemingly endless supply of dog photos and posts, but it can be difficult for brands that don't have as much content on hand.
3. Use hashtags effectively
Select the right hashtags, and use them sparingly. One or two hashtags per post works best on Facebook. Determining what hashtags to use will take some experimentation.
Different hashtags speak to different audiences and work for different types of content. So start with a test to find out what resonates with your audience; try adding 1-2 new hashtags to each of your posts over a week or two, then check on your results.
This approach really can work: We've seen brands increase engagement with their content just by finding better hashtags to add to their posts.
And if you can "own" a specific hashtag to help organize conversation about your brand or a particular campaign across Facebook, do it! Encouraging fans to use a particular hashtag when they post about your brand is a great way to expand the reach of your brand.
For example, Always has done a wonderful job with its #likeagirl campaign, racking up thousands of fan posts with the hashtag, spurring an entire conversation about the movement, and, of course, winning advertising awards.
4. 'Boost' some of your content to extend the reach of all your content
On Facebook, paid campaigns can actually lead to an increase in organic post reach and engagement. "Boosted" posts get more engagement from the paid impressions, but the other content on your page will also get shown more often. You'll also gain new fans, which can help increase engagement on future posts.
We've found that the best strategy is to run a variety of paid campaigns across Facebook to complement the organic posting and other activity. They'll work together to create the maximum brand lift across your pages.
5. Create content that works across channels
Even if you have unlimited resources to dedicate to creating Facebook-specific content, it's still a good idea to create materials that will make sense across the Web.
Ideally, you'd create striking images and useful links that will have maximum impact on social media, no matter the platform. Think about the implications of your post's being shared outside Facebook: Can it stand alone, and will it make sense?
Humorous, informative, and beautiful content works just about everywhere. Essie, for example, shares images of its nail polish in all kinds of situations across Facebook and Instagram. And to be sure the content is tied to the brand, Essie includes the name of the polish and the company logo on all images.
Such simple, elegant, and colorful photography performs well nearly everywhere it's shared.