Improving Reader Engagement with Your Brand on Facebook in a Single Step

We talk a lot about “reader engagement” on Facebook here at the Dream Local Digital offices, and for good reason. Setting up a Facebook page for your business may be an important first step in bringing your business into the world of social media, but it marks only the beginning of the work that your business must do to use Facebook effectively.

The term “reader engagement” refers simply to the degree to which your posts on Facebook are interacted with by your page’s fans. If your posts to Facebook on behalf of your business receive tons of comments, lots of people hitting the “like” button, and shares to your readers’ own networks, your reader engagement is high. If your posts are largely ignored and you feel like you are shouting into an empty room, your overall reader engagement is low.

Whole marketing consultancies are built around the simple goal of improving reader engagement. In fact, it’s a big part of the work we do for our clients here at Dream Local Digital. What I want to talk about today, though, is a dead-simple way you can immediately improve reader engagement for your Facebook brand page with a single step. It comes down to one simple thing: Remembering how and why people use Facebook.

[Photo: Flickr/Fbouly]

The most difficult fact for many businesses to accept when it comes to crafting compelling posts for their Facebook pages is that most readers simply aren’t interested in seeing them. Facebook users aren’t spending time on the site so that they can see your marketing message; they are on the site to catch up with family members and to see photos of their friends. Your best expectation should be that if users absolutely love your brand, they may be willing to tolerate seeing your posts appear in their newsfeed. To persuade them to interact with those posts (thereby increasing their visibility on the network), you have to consider their overall motivation for interacting with any post on Facebook: Users want to make themselves look awesome.

Because Facebook readers are aware that their every action on the site is broadcast to their personal network, much of their activity can be traced back to increasing their own status within that peer group. When a user likes, comments on, or shares a post, it’s a way of subtly communicating to their network that they are smart, funny, cool, or somehow otherwise in-the-know.

[Photo: M. Bedell]

A user who “likes” a photo of a beautifully plated restaurant dish is partly showing their appreciation for that dish, but also quietly letting their friends and family know that they know what gourmet cooking looks like, and that they have the kinds of refined palates that can appreciate the subtle nuance of the chef’s cooking.

A Facebook user who shares a photo of an adorable kitten eating a bagel or a video of a goat singing along to a Taylor Swift song is partly offering a stamp of approval to the creator of the photo or video, but is also communicating to their friends and family that they have a well-developed (if perhaps not always particularly refined) sense of humor.

I know it sounds a little cynical. But if you can find a way to appeal to your followers’ own well-developed sense of personal celebrity, you ensure a high rate of engagement for your Facebook posts.

For every post you craft for your Facebook page, ask yourself a simple, single question: “Is this post something my readers will feel proud to interact with, because doing so will impress their friends?” If you can answer “yes” to this question, you practically guarantee that a reader will engage with your posts.

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