Using News Stories To Increase Interaction On Your Facebook Page

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is by Lynne Melcombe, a communications consultant for nonprofits and small businesses.

If your nonprofit is on Facebook, chances are you’re constantly trying to interact with your audience in a way that gets them excited about your mission.

Chances are you’re also constantly tweaking your strategy – if you have one – to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Dan Zarella, a social media scientist with HubSpot, recently analyzed 1.3 million Facebook posts to get an idea of the logistics regarding when to post what in order to get the most action out of it.

Social media is about conversation, and to use conversation as a promotional tool, you need participate often. But if you have something in particular to say, you may be able to maximize the chances of having your post liked, commented on, or shared—in other words, in having readers engage in conversation with you—by paying attention to length, type of content, and timing.

A great way to involve your followers on Facebook is to use news stories relevant to your cause by creating content around them.

Suppose there’s been a recent development in the news and your nonprofit wants to take advantage of the opportunity to share your organization’s position on the matter. If it’s a breaking story and you have to get a response out, you don’t have a lot of control over timing.

But Zarella’s infographic suggests that you can increase the chance of interaction with your posts by observing the following general tips:

1. Include a photo

Posts with photos usually get more action than posts without them.

2. Keep updating

If it’s a breaking story, communicate developments as they arise over the day (presumably, when people are busy) with short, pithy bites of text (i.e., 50 characters or less).

3. Take a stance

As the story unfolds, develop an opinion and release it between 6 and 8 PM. At this time of day, people are more likely to like or share a post that’s between 700 and 800 characters long.

4. Keep the story alive

If possible, develop an opinion over a few days and release it on a weekend evening. This is when people are most likely to like, comment, and share, probably because they have the time to do so.

5. Talk in first-person

In developing your opinion, use first-person pronouns, like “I” and “me.” (Zarella’s research doesn’t mention whether the same applies to “we” and “us.”)

6. Focus on visual content

If you use promotional videos, be aware that they’re far less likely to be liked, commented, or shared than photos, but they’re more likely to be shared than text or links. (Assuming from this that time is a factor, keep videos short and to the point).

What People Don’t Like

A few don’ts emerging from Zarella’s research suggest that readers don’t tend to like anything lukewarm.

For example, they don’t:

  • Like, comment on, or share links without accompanying text.
  • Like posts that are more than 50 characters but less than 400.
  • Interact at all with sentiments that straddle the middle of road.

While readers are significantly more likely to like positive sentiments, they’re also more likely to comment on posts that express a negative sentiment than none at all.

Keep in mind when following these suggestions that they’re designed to increase interaction on your Facebook page.

Translating that into other terms, like donations or volunteer recruitment, is still up to you.

Lynne Melcombe is a writer, editor and communications consultant from Port Moody, B.C., where she runs Lynne Melcombe Communications. You can find her on twitter and Facebook.