How to optimise engagement and email marketing using Facebook
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In this series of Smart Insights Best Practice Advice, Danyl Bosomworth and Dave Chaffey of share tips on best practice to get better results from digital marketing. This week, Danyl and Dave highlight the research that reveals how your brand should be using Facebook. 

With more than 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each month, have you ever wondered how to optimise engagement on your brand’s Facebook Page and get more people to come back? When’s the best time to post, how often and are there variances by industry?

I am currently working on a social media campaign for a client that will use Buddy Media to manage a Facebook page as a part of the project, having taken a look into Buddy Media (my first experience of using it) I came across this interesting white paper and thought that it was worth sharing and summarising for you.

Caveat first: The data Buddy media used is across 200 large brands, this data will change (effectiveness will alter if everyone does the same thing!) and it won’t be the same for all sizes of businesses and Facebook Page fan-bases. These reports are valuable for one reason – it’s gets us thinking and asking the right questions – just keep it simple and relevant to your fans needs.

Our summary of the six takeaways from the report – Buddy Media used the number of comments as a % of fan base and number of Likes as a % of fan base as the KPI’s to do their report.

1. Keep post length short and sweet

80 characters or less of a 27% higher engagement rate. It’s as simple as that.

2. Engagement rates are three times higher for posts that use a full length URL

Instead of a URL shortener. Hmmm, that’s a challenge for 80 characters or less! So, Buddy Media suggest it’s the ambiguity of URL shorteners and the answer could be a vanity (or branded) URL shortener – nice idea.

3. Post updates when your fans are listening

Brands posting outside of business hours had 20% higher engagement rates. Why? You want to be at the top of the news feed when people login.

4. All days are not equal in the land of Facebook

Consider pre-scheduling posts for when people are not at work, they’re more likely on Facebook – engagement rates on Thursday and Friday are 18% higher than other days of the week – check out the variances by industry though!

5. Fans follow instruction well

The simpler the better for our modern, attention-short mindset. Ask and ye shall (more likely) receive! When running promotional contests or campaigns it’s softer words that resonate, something that excites.

6. Ask your fans questions at the end of posts – don’t ask why

I mean literally, don’t ask 'Why…' – the best and least used words are 'Where', 'When' and 'Would'.

Also – this logic should have some relevance to Twitter, too!

How email marketing can learn from the words Facebook users like 

Selecting the best subject line, headlines and content types for emails is a constant challenge for email marketers as they write copy for their campaigns and newsletters.

Which are the most engaging words on Facebook post headlines?

I recently found a good source of insight for words to consider by the excellent Dan Zarrella who analyses consumer Facebook behaviour. I hope this inspires you when you’re next writing or reviewing email copy or trying to devise ideas for emails. Of course it should help with Facebook and blog posts too! These are the words that the research showed were popular for sharing.

Source: 7 Ways to Get Your Blog Posts Shared On Facebook

What can we take from this? Well, we have to remember this is an analysis across a massive range of posts and it is skewed to consumer preferences, but here’s what I took from this analysis:

  • Web users like to learn about the most popular topics – 'most', 'big' and 'best' are popular – these are often used in blog list posts which we know are popular.
  • Help readers learn and develop - 'how' and 'why' are some of the most popular terms.
  • Make it personal can help engage – include 'you' in the headline – email copywriters will know this also works well in the body copy.
  • Some content types are a turn-off - the analysis also shows that 'poll', 'review', 'vs'.

This analysis is part of a wider review of Facebook user preferences. This infographic from Dan Zarella's blog gives further food for thought – including the possibility of engaging consumers with email over the weekend – see my post on the best day of the week to send email.

Source: 5 questions and answers about your Facebook Marketing

Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO at Smart Insights (Marketing Intelligence) Limited, a digital marketing portal and consultancy who provide advice and software to help businesses succeed online. He is author of five bestselling books on Ecommerce including Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice and has been recognised as one of 50 marketing gurus worldwide who have shaped the future of marketing.

Danyl Bosomworth is co-founder of Smart Insights and a digital marketing contractor. His experience spans brand development, direct marketing and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side over the last 12 years.

About Danyl Bosomworth


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12th Aug 2011 18:01

It is interesting to see the strategical nuances regarding customer engagement for email marketing and facebook. There is a lot of data to take away from the facebook statistics that one can use for the purpose of email marketing. Personalization, timing, and coaxing the reader to develop knowledge about your product are all things I took away from this article.

Lastly, the presentation of this post was very well done. I especially enjoyed the graphs.

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