7 Ways To Craft Your Facebook Posts For Maximum Shares

Facebook recently changed the way users interact with content on fan pages: any user, including non-fans, can now post on fan page walls and like/comment/share fan page content. In other words, a Facebook user does not have to first like your fan page before they can interact with your content. This is a good thing!

Since this change, the emphasis has shifted slightly from gaining more likes (fans) to increasing the number of shares on each piece of content. When you craft your fan page updates in a manner that naturally inspires fans and their friends and visitors to your page to share with their networks, you set in motion ripples of viral visibility. Basically, free additional exposure.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been observing which posts from fan pages and from personal profiles (with Subscribe enabled) garner the largest amount of shares. I also recently asked my Facebook fans and friends for examples of great posts with large numbers of shares. Following are seven tips I’ve compiled for you that seem to help create the most shares:

1. Use an eye-catching image.

Your photo should make people laugh, cry, or go “awww!”

Photos on Facebook have always gotten a slightly higher EdgeRank score, which means better visibility in the News Feed. But, don’t necessarily use an image on every single post; keep it interesting by mixing in links, videos, questions (app), and text only updates.

A fun example is this “social network flowchart” by Breaking Copyshared on Facebook by “Caribbean King” on October 20th that garnered a whopping 14,642 shares – see screenshot below. (Hat tip to Susie Daniels for the link to the post).

Social Network Flow Chart by BreakingCopy.com

Example Facebook post with over 14,000 shares

The only narrative with the image was a smiley face “:D” – but, given the humor and relevance of the chart to pretty much anyone who saw it, the image gathered huge momentum. Currently, though the Caribbean King has just 673 fans (likes), his “People talking about this” number is 5,002. For most fan pages, to have a “talking about this” number over 7x greater than the number of likes is unusual. (I’ll save the in-depth discussion about the new public-facing “people talking about this” stat for a separate post. My quick advice, though, is do not waste too much time obsessing over this number. Instead, focus on posting quality, relevant posts that people naturally want to share.)

I came across Breaking Copy’s social network flowchart on November 1st when a friend shared it on my Facebook personal profile wall. I found the creator so I could give proper credit (Daryl Lang), and shared the image on my Google+ profile, where it ended up with over 1,480 shares. (And, an edited version by Carmelyne Thompson got 1,105 shares). Though Google+ is gaining in users and momentum, clearly Facebook’s vast userbase makes for significantly more shares. 10x in this one example if we just compare Caribbean King’s Facebook post to my own Google+ post.

When you do share photos, make sure they look great and are eye-catching in a smaller version, given most people will see a reduced size in their News Feed and/or mobile app.

Other photo examples with large numbers of shares include:

  • NFL Quarterback Tim Tebow’s photo from a friend in Afghanistan with over 2,800 shares. (Thanks to Amy Thomas Polk for the link).
  • A humorous map of Australia with funny Q&A from the Australian Tourism website, posted by Sam Bush, with 19,600+ shares! (Hat tip Mehdi Benaniba for the link).
  • Warren Buffet’s “How To Fix Congress” posted by Gene Vallee with 156,600+ shares. (Props to the Direct Marketing fan page for the link).
  • Disney‘s “Life is all about perspective” – cute photo of Bambi and possums with 8,200+ shares. (Thank you Hana Zima for the Disney tip). Note this post has a very short narrative (tip #2) and is written in a way anyone can share (tip #3).

2. Keep the narrative short.

A study by Buddy Media showed that posts 80 characters or less in length receive 27% higher engagement rates. Considering how much content flies by fast in the new moving Ticker at the top right of your Facebook home page, and also in the News Feed, it makes sense that a shorter post will catch Facebook users’ attention quicker.

A fun example is this post by my friend Melonie Dodaro with a cute puppy and teddy bear, which got over 1,700 shares. Melonie shared this on her personal profile – with 4,816 friends and 718 subscribers. Note the narrative Melonie included: “How adorable is this?! Go ahead and share it.” This one example, in fact, makes use of the first four out of my seven tips here: it’s a (cute) photo, the narrative is short, it’s not written in first person, and there’s a call to action to share it.

Puppy and Teddy Bear - Facebook Post

Example Facebook post with over 1,700 shares

3. Keep first person to a minimum.

Even though I’m a big fan of writing in first person whenever possible, as it creates more warmth and connection with your audience, in order to increase your shares on Facebook, you might want to experiment with keeping the wording more generic. Write in a way that could sound like it was coming from others. As with Melonie’s example above “How adorable is this?!” could be said by anyone.

You can always use first person in your comments when responding to bring in the more personal touch.

Here’s a cute image I created using Snagit to illustrate one of my favorite Steve Jobs’ quotes: “You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” The upbeat narrative I included was, “A special thought for the day!! A good reminder to just GO for it. (Probably still a good idea to wear clothes though, hehee!).” 105 shares from my personal profile.

Follow Your Heart - Steve Jobs quote shared on Facebook

Follow your heart - Steve Jobs quote shared on Facebook

4. Include a call to action.

Invite your friends, subscribers, fans and their friends along with visitors to your page to share your posts with their friends, subscribers and fans. Simple calls to action such as “Click like if you agree” often work well, so long as the preceding statement/question is relevant. Asking people to add their comments is good too. But, it’s the Share that will likely create the greatest exposure for your page/profile.

This image of 3-D sidewalk art posted by Gallery 2166 simply says, “Dare you not to share this. It’s too amazing.” Yep – 11,449 Facebook users have shared the image so far! (Thanks Jamie Burnett for the link to the image).

Sidewalk art - Facebook post

Sidewalk art - Facebook post with over 11,000 shares

5. Write about timely topics with helpful tips and resources.

Given the rapid changes on Facebook and the constantly moving social media landscape in general, there’s often plenty fodder to share up-to-the-minute tips, new strategies, and useful resources on your Facebook page and/or profile. These types of posts can be any length and might include links and/or photos or videos. The point is your Facebook network and extended community will find extreme value in reading and sharing the post.

This example from my own fan page is a post with seven tips for staying safe on Facebook – which received 247 shares. I wrote the udpate on the back of Mashable’s blog post about Facebook stating that a staggering 600,000 log-ins per day get compromised. Note the use of the simple, eye-catching image.

7 Tips To Stay Safe on Facebook

Example timely post - 7 Tips To Stay Safe on Facebook

Here’s another example from my fan page where I dispelled a couple of erroneous memes flying around Facebook: one asking users to unsubscribe from their friends’ comments and likes, and another talking about Facebook’s plans to charge for membership (both are not accurate!). The post received 516 shares.

If you’re in an industry that changes rapidly, keep your finger on the pulse and see what timely topics you can write about. Then, with the Facebook posts that do well, repurpose by turning them into posts on your blog.

6. Experiment with longer content.

Despite tip #2 above, now that Facebook increased the maximum update size from 420 characters to 5,000 characters, try writing a “mini-blog post!” Per my tip #5 above, so long as the content is timely, relevant and helpful, you stand a greater chance of getting lots of shares.

7. Share a great cause.

Surf Dog Ricochet posted this precious dog photo with a call to action: pet supplies company Iams had agreed to donate 50 bowls of pet food for shelter animals for every comment on the photo, up to one million bowls. The photo broke the record in just over 24 hours. Though the one million bowls of pet food goal has been attained, the image is still gaining comments and shares. So far: 21,439 comments and 4,180 shares! (Hat tip to Kristi Robertson for the link to this post).

Surf Dog Ricochet and Iams Pet Food - Facebook Post

Example great cause with over 4,000 shares

By the way, keep in mind that Facebook has strict rules around promotions; the #1 rule to know is you need to use a third party app if you’re going to conduct any kind of drawing, sweepstakes, contest, or competition. Your own content in an iFrame app qualifies so long as you include the correctly worded disclaimers. See this post for more information.

Share more videos

And a bonus tip, from Ryan Cohn of What’s Next Marketing:

Among large audience clients (celebrities and brands), we typically see the most shares coming from unique/interesting videos. Usually these are behind-the-scenes peaks, though we’ve seen great sharability from loved-but-forgotten YouTube videos too.

You may find that these tips are equally effective for increasing your number of shares on Google+ too.

…and, one more tip for you on the subject of shares: Whenever possible, take time to click through and thank those who share your content. On Facebook, this is really easy to do as the Shares show in a popup window and you can easily click like and add a quick comment. ;) People love to be acknowledged.

What have you found that’s working well on your own profile and/or fan page? What catches your eye on other profiles/pages and compels you to want to share with your own networks? Please do share below and feel free to include permalinks to examples so others may benefit. Thank you!

 

 

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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Posted in Facebook for Business, Facebook Marketing, Facebook Tips, Relationship Marketing, Social Networking
  • Amanda Johnson

    Your tips are always extremely helpful in the building of the company Social Media pages!! Thank you for doing what you do!

  • Kay Wilson

    Wow, Mari, not enough time in my day to read all the helpful tips!  You are certainly, one of the people, I am seeing lots of good info from and hearing more about you regularly.  Thanks for sharing this, I’m on Facebook and now Google+

  • Leah Kube

    Mari, this was so helpful and engaging!

  • http://www.danoday.com/blog Dan O’Day

    Great job as always, Mari.

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Thanks heaps, Dan!

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Sweet! Glad you enjoyed. :) 

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Awesome!!! hehee

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    My pleasure – thanks for your kind words. 

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

    Great question, share is a part of it. Facebook’s “EdgeRank” algorithm has 3 primary parts:
    1) affinity = the relationship the user has to you, to your page (or profile), how many mutual friends interact with you/your content, etc.2) weight = type of content whether photo, link, update, etc.3) recency = when the post was made. Hope this helps some!

  • Catherineulrey

    Great tip on monitoring the response from a Facebook comment, and then writing a blog about the most popular topics.

  • LLatipi

    Great article….as always!

  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com Mae Loraine Jacobs

    I never really like the concept of “liking” fan pages because that method is already abused by many. For some reason, a lot of fan page creators don’t understand that the number of likes doesn’t have to mean credibility or authority. So like you, I also appreciate the change. Thanks for the tips too. They’re all spot on. 

  • Anna

    Thank you ver interesting, shared on facebook, twitter and linkin

  • http://www.facebook.com/ssdpa Ssdpa Sada

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  • Coach Mary

    Mari, I set up a personal page a couple of years back. If I set up a page for my Self-image & Life Coaching business related to that, will I still be able to keep my personal page private?
    Also…I did set up a page that I haven’t been doing much with, for my business, but everytime I try to “like” anything from there, it makes me switch back to my personal page. Is this how it works, or is there something I can do to force it to post on my biz page?

  • MetroFax

    Great tips, Mari! We are a B2B company trying to ramp up our social media presence, and these tips were very helpful. Especially the idea to always use an eye-catching image. Thank you for sharing.

  • MetroFax

    facebook.com/metrofax

  • MetroFax

    Hi Mary. If you use the “Use Facebook as a Page” feature you should be able to post from your business page. Hope that helps! 

  • MetroFax

    Interesting comment, Juan. We are a B2B company and have found that the Insights has really helped us see which content our fans are responding most to. Since we are trying to ramp up our social media presence, the Facebook Insights, especially the virality score, has been quite useful. Any other tips you have would be much appreciated! 

  • MetroFax

    Agree! We are a B2B company trying to ramp up our social media presence, and I think we would much rather have people actually commenting on posts rather than just “liking” our page and never coming back. 

  • http://www.mirroryourself.nl Juan Felix

    Thanks! Do you use an editorial calendar and vary your content? What’s your experience with video? I think visualizing the process of your product / service would improve the experience of your welcome tab.

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  • Anonymous

    This is so informative. Thank you very much for posting a link to my profile. Much appreciated :)

    Warmly,
    Susie

  • origami

    Another great post. I would like to Thank You for good job.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Thanks Mari for sharing these very helpful tips. Expecting more pots like this!

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  • Mike

    Thank you for sharing.

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    FB is playing  a pivotal role for several users .A slight care of security is a must for better results…Mari a nice job and a gr8 share with effective tips

  • Anonymous

    There is so much good stuff in this article. Thanks Mari – it’s wonderful! Warmly, Susie Daniels

  • Goal Planning

    I appreciate you for the above information that is useful for us…!

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    http://www.laboratoryes.com is the solution of all kind of efforts we are making to make this world the economic world…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Jordan/5241997 Michael Jordan

    When I check out Tim Ferris’s facebook page I know I’m going to see something cool. I think getting people in the habit of seeing cool content on your facebook page from the get go is important. Also take angry birds, they have very engaging content. When I see a cartoon from angry birds and they want the audience to leave captions for it, right away I know I can engage and am encouraged too. Also when there are call to actions from the people who post, there is a much great response I see. 

    I think tip # 2 is important, there is such an overload of stuff to take in on facebook and when you go to someone’s page and they keep it short and sweet you won’t get burned out from that person. I have someone who is very inspiring on my friends list, but man, he spams a lot of videos on the feed, sometimes 5-6 different videos, total overload. Keep it short like you say gets great results. 

    Images I think are the way to go also, like the teddy bear with the dog image, you can’t beat an amazing image like that. Also, the one you make with the naked kid and the quote, people love that stuff, its inspiring.

  • http://www.takeitandgo.ca/ TakeItAndGo.ca

    Mari, first of all, just want to say I love you, seriously my role in social media at my current job is much easier with your guidance, advise and teachings – your provide the best , i mean the best great social/content candy that I cant thank you enough. My bosses are impressed with me getting up to speed and doing some cool things- sshhh  I just stay hush, if they knew about you they’d try to hire you :) Great post, I visit you 1-3 X daily for my fix, to learn from the pro – keep up all the stuff you are doing, helping so many of us! God Bless Mari

  • http://twitter.com/VictorDairo victor dairo

    super Author, with a super smile. A nicely designed blog with great content. Mari, this might be just a comment from nowhere, but i so mean this: your tips are awesome and pragmatical. I’m forced to open your emails, because you’ve never spammed me, nor bored me. you’re one of the queens of social media or whatever it is called. thanks for the super tips. really I mean it. wait wait wait!!! this blog’s got an awesome design.

  • http://twitter.com/petertrapasso Peter Trapasso

    Well done Mari!  And great work on yesterday’s webinar.  I wish you great success.

    Peter

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1493560483 Michelle Fontaine

    Mari, I love the tip you gave recently about adding your blog posts to Facebook notes. And I understand that Facebook is searchable by Google so gives good content. My concern is that means adding duplicate content to both your blog and on Facebook. Google doesn’t like duplicate content like that. What are your thoughts?

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  • http://aaronhardyblog.com/ Aaron

    Thanks for the strong advice. This post pointed out a couple of things that I now know that I can do better.

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    http://www.notemaking.tk this is great website, you need to earn at home….

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  • Wendy

    Mari- An Angel’s Heart(greeting cards) has a SHARE AND CARE program. Each time someone shares they get points. When they get up to a certain amount of points they get some of my greeting cards. If they share more and get up to another level of points they get an even more attractive prize!! It seems to be working except they forget to set their SHARES to public so I can see who shared the posts. I am posting the greeting cards on An Angel’s Heart with some pertinent text so they get a little mini blog post- It is working like a charm!! http://www.an-angels-heart.com

  • Peteradel
  • http://www.kronikmedia.co.uk Web Designer, London

     I have come across many successful examples of social engagement centered around charitable causes however the “Surf Dog Riochet” example you have quoted is by far one of the simplest yet greatest.

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