You’ve developed a social media strategy, built a fan base for your company’s Facebook page, and promoted your online presence in your marketing materials, too. So, how do you motivate people to share more of your Facebook activity?
Here are five simple ways to get your fans to share more content from your Facebook page.
1. Strike during peak sharing time. According to Facebook user-engagement research by Buddy Media, publishing your posts between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. (when most of your fans aren’t accessing Facebook at work) is a key factor in increasing “shares.” The same research also indicates that fan comments, “likes,” and sharing activity is 8 percent higher on Wednesdays than it is on an other day of the week.
2. Take the focus off yourself. Facebook users share posts for the same reasons they’ll discuss something they read, learned, or heard about in a face-to-face interaction: It moved them emotionally or had personal relevance. Don’t simply share an image, article, quote, blog post, or update; ask what people think. When fans comment, nurture the interaction with a response. Beyond the importance of having two-way communication with your Facebook fans and uncovering invaluable insight into what makes them “tick,” fan interaction by way of “likes,” comments, clicks on links and images, and “shares” is critical to staying relevant. Facebook’s algorithm (EdgeRank) bases the content users see in their news feeds on such interactivity with pages and friends. If they’re not interacting with your page, most of your posts will soon “drop off” their feeds.
3. Say less. Just as you’d stop listening to a person who speaks incessantly, Facebook fans tune out overzealous posters. According to the Buddy Media research, retail brands that post fewer than three times a day receive a 32 percent higher “like” rate, and a 73 percent higher comment rate, than brands that post three or more times a day.
4. Quiz them. A May 2012 study by Wildfire research [PDF], which examined 10,000 social media campaigns, revealed that 39 percent of “pick your favorite”-style quizzes were ultimately shared with others in a network. What’s more, “82 percent of the users [who] clicked on a friend’s news feed post about a quiz they’d taken went on to take the quiz themselves.” To generate similar activity on your Facebook page, quiz users about information that’s creative, entertaining, and somehow relevant to your brand. For example, if you’re a shoe retailer, you might generate sharing activity with a quiz about a user’s favorite celebrity shoe maven. Poll, a Facebook app by Kremsa, provides the tools you need to design and execute Facebook polls, free of charge. Constant Contact also offers a free trial and affordable pricing based on your page’s total number of fans.
5. Give them a payoff. Emotional images, provocative statements, inspiring quotes, and entertaining quizzes and video can all draw fans’ attention on Facebook, but at the end of the day, you must understand your audience in order to recognize what it will deem share-worthy. According to the Wildfire study, Facebook users ultimately share content to the degree that it benefits their own social media persona — or literally benefits them in the form of a special offer or coupon. To be shared, you must be relevant to your customer. Ask yourself, “Would I share this content if I were a user?” Test various strategies using Facebook’s insights and activity metrics to develop a feel for what makes your audience respond, and spread the word.