Facebook: how to increase effectiveness and engagement on Facebook
Pictures and Albums
Pictures are very important in engaging Facebook users! As the graph shows, a photo gains 20% more engagement than a status and an album 80% more than a status – photos are very important! Better quality and colourful images attract more attention and therefore be more effective in getting across your message.
Picture captions are also very important – in order to create a “human” feel to your Facebook Page, personalise each image by adding a caption about what is happening in the picture.
|Photo credit to Oxfam|
When creating an Album, add as much information as possible. Adding the location and date taken is also important in telling your story of the pictures. You want to give the reader plenty of information in a short, well-phrased post that sells your cause. For example, the below post from Oxfam’s Facebook Page has the location where the pictures were taken, an informative but well-phrased album title that encourages users to click on it. The album description encourages engagement through phrases such as “find out how you can join”. The website link to the campaign that the album refers to is also very important.
It would be good practice to create a Facebook Album for at least one event for each CED program. For example, you can simply adapt the program description on the CED website for these Facebook Album descriptions. If you were creating an Album of photos from the FLEGT-VPA conference on 9th July 2014, it might look as follows.
As you can see here, the album title is informative and short, I have added the date and the location. The Album description is a brief summary of the event and contains the key words for the project “FLEGT-VPA”, “communication”, “timber legality” and “legal timber”. It also uses personal pronouns “help us” which encourages engagement and the album description also a link to the website of a specific project.
I have also made the privacy “Only Me”, which means that I am the only user who can see it. This is good to do while you are editing parts of the album and then you can change the privacy back to public once you have finished the album.
As you can see form this photo from the album, it describes what is happening in this picture. I have also tagged the relevant users which helps increases the posts popularity.
After every event relevant to a project create an album with pictures in as soon as possible. It is important to do this while it is still relevant.
It is also better to post all CED pictures from the CED Facebook Page rather than post them from your personal profile. This increases the professionalism of your Facebook page!
The use of infographics/relevant pictures
|Photo cretdit to Oxfarm|
CED could create a simple infographic with statistics about FLEGT-VPA in Vietnam, for example, or with the results of the FLEGT Needs-Assessment. This is
more interesting to look at than a long post of solid text and encourages shares. It also uses Oxfam’s main colour, Green, which is important in keeping brand image.
Just as with other pictures, it is important to have a caption. When posting just 1 picture, make sure that the caption is extra engaging so for example, with the above infographic something like “Gender equality is an important issue, and also an issue that our Gender Equality project aims to help. Have you ever experienced gender discrimination?”. Asking a question encourages people to reply to a post, which generates a discussion and helps to increase the popularity of your post and page!
Posts with 140 characters have been proven to be the most effective. So for example:
“Tomorrow is our FLEGT-VPA workshop for media and business representatives. We’re excited! Find out more on our website: www.flegtvpa.com “
This is an effective status because it’s topical, it is updating fans on events, it uses personal pronouns like “we’re” and “our”. Statuses with a link have also been found to be popular!
The Facebook event function is very useful in raising the profile on an event. Below is an example of a CSDS event. Guests can invite friends and this is a very easy way to publicise information about events. Having Facebook events like this for CED events are a great way of spreading awareness, you can also easily contact event guests by either posting on the event or sending them an email.
Comments/replying to posts
It is really important to reply quickly to comments, and also be as friendly and personal as possible. This reply from Oxfam UK is a good example of a good way to phrase a reply – use the name of the user and be as friendly as possible!
Sharing is an easy way to regularly post on Facebook and variety is very important for Facebook! Liking relevant pages and organisations means that CED’s newsfeed will be filled with potential posts that they can share! Sharing articles that News organisations post is also important and a great way to provide your Facebook fans with relevant information (an incentive to like your page)!
General Facebook Etiquette
● Do not like your own posts or comments.
● Only Tag people who are in the photos
● Stay relevant and topical to news and current events!
● Make sure posts aren’t too long
● Make sure posts are engaging – encouraging users to do something, and using personal pronouns and/or questions to engage them
The best times to post!
7am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm have been proven to be the optimal times for Facebook posts. Research also shows that posts towards the end of the week gain more popularity (it is more important to be topical, though so don’t wait till the end of the week if there is a topical news piece announced on a Monday! It is also sometimes better to post just before these peak times, so there is slightly less competition for posts.
How to schedule a post
Regular updates are very important and you don’t need to physically post at these times, in order to make them appear at these times. Facebook has a great scheduling system. You just type a post as if you were going to post it now, but then instead of pressing post, press the button highlighted in yellow below and then you decide when you want to the post the status. This saves a significant amount of time – you can dedicate time to writing lots of posts on Facebook, it also means that you won’t forget to post about a key event.
Adding a location to your posts are also a great way to tell your story, and also to make the posts more relevant. Just use the button highlighted in yellow below and type in your location – this is very useful for statuses about events too!
CED is already posting lots of YouTube videos! The most important thing for YouTube is to make sure that videos aren’t too long and are good quality. It is also important to use Keyword software (www.ubersuggest.com) to find the key terms and use as many of these as you can in the title! It is also important to share these YouTube videos on Facebook pages and websites to help them to gain publicity.
CED doesn’t yet have a Twitter page, but it might do in the future! Twitter is quickly becoming the best source of news and information on the internet – and all in one place. Many of the same techniques from Facebook also apply to Twitter!
Twitter is a bit like an entire social media website dedicated to just Facebook Statuses – you cannot upload albums or create events. Rather, you can post with a maximum of 140 characters (117 characters if you add a photo to your tweet) and can share other’s posts.
Above is an image of what composing a tweet looks like –it is important to put a picture or link on every tweet (or both!), and add a location if you think its suitable. When writing a tweet make sure that it’s engaging and involves the user, using personal pronouns is important.
Your Twitter Profile & Name
On Twitter, hashtags are also very important! Twitter shows you the current trends, the phrases that the most people are tweeting about (you can tailor this to worldwide, to a specific country or even town) at the current time. It is important to utilise these trends, so keep checking them regularly and if there is anything relating to CED work, then to tweet with that same hashtag. This will mean that there is a greater chance that more people will see the tweet. So for example hashtags like #eufao #flegtvpa would be useful for any tweets about the FLEGT-VPA project.
You can follow other pages (which is like liking them, they will appear in your newsfeed), and then you can Retweet them. For example, if CED thought the following tweet was something that their followers would want to see then, by clicking the Retweet symbol this causes it to appear on your newsfeed.Pressing the reply arrow replies to the tweet, and the star button favourites the tweet (like liking it).
Twitter as a search tool
Twitter is also a great research tool, using the search tool you can see people’s currents opinion about a topic. Below you can see the results when I searched FLEGT-VPA. This can help you to gather news articles and information about a topic, but can also show you general consensus about a topic. So for example, when FLEGT negotiations are signed in October 2014, a twitter search (even from a personal account) enables you to see people’s opinions about a topic. You can even reply to these tweets to help to solve any information gaps. So for example if somebody tweeted about not understanding FLEGT-VPA, CED could reply with the FLEGT-VPA website.
When to Tweet
Twitter requires regular tweets, and a mixture of Tweets, Retweets, replies & favourites. Variety is key!
As you can see from the two graphs above, the weekend and dinner time are the most popular times for Twitter.
If you reply to somebody’s tweet, it will only appear on a user’s news feed if that user follows you and the user you are replying to.
To avoid this and make it appear on everybody’s timeline who follows you can put something before their twitter name. For example, I only follow “Jason Ralph”, but his tweet in a conversation came up on my timeline because he wrote “disagree” before “@Alex_J_Bellamy”
Twitter is not as popular as Facebook in Vietnam currently, but it is very likely that it will become popular in the future!
Using a mobile app version of Twitter is also a really good way to make sure that you can tweet on the go!
Instagram is a smartphone app (you can view photos online on their website) but you can only upload pictures from a mobile device.
You upload photos to Instagram, and you can edit them by adding a “filter”, this makes the picture look a lot nicer! There are so many filters to choose from that really bring out the colours in the image. As you can see in the picture below, this can make any images of CED’s work look even more striking!
Just like Facebook you follow other users who are relevant, and when you post a picture you use hashtags. Try to think about general terms that people would be searching for example “Vietnam”, “education”.
You can add a location and directly share to Facebook or Twitter.
Just as with Facebook and Twitter try to make the post engaging (my caption below is not a good example!)
You can also like other user’s Instagram posts!
Instagram is a very popular photo app!
The most important points to remember when using Social Media!
● All of your posts on social media need to be engaging – use personal pronouns, ask questions and provide interesting information!
● You need to invest time into social media for it to help you.
● You need to give us much information in a well-phrased way – photos, links and locations are important!
● Always ask yourself “Is this relevant to a user?” you have to offer them something!
● Use Keyword software – (www.ubersuggest.com) to find the most popular search results for your topic so you can use the key terms when posting.
● Regular updates are very important – keep your followers updated!
● Stay professional by checking spelling and grammar on every post
● Make sure your posts show emotion – “looking forward to”, “thank you to everyone who came” etc.!
● Make the most of current resources – upload videos, photos and information after each workshop and event!
● There are always new types of social media, and the ones mentioned in this article only offer a snapshot to the wide-range of social media applications. These are some of the most popular that I think are relevant to CED!
● Cross-promote your social media pages, show links to your Facebook on Twitter etc. Also, promote your social media pages offline – put them on your business cards, mention them at presentations and workshops and show links. They are just as important as your website link!
If you have any questions, need some help or want me to check anything to do with social media email me at any time at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can always arrange a Skype call!
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