As promised in last week’s post on the importance of content in your social media strategy, today we’re kicking off a two-week Content Roundup. We’ll begin with the biggest fish in the social sea: Facebook. We’ll cover what to post, when to post it, how to introduce it, and why you’re doing this in the first place.

What. There are 4 major categories of content that marketers post on Facebook: Photos, videos, statuses, and links.  Facebook’s ranking algorithm – EdgeRank – has different ‘weights’ for each of these categories, which determine how much visibility your post gets based on its type. (Wildfire EdgeRank Study)

1. Photos are the easiest content for viewers to consume. They require no action on the part of the viewer, and they stand out from the river of text on a user’s newsfeed. Obviously some small businesses’ products better lend themselves to images, but get creative and see what you can come up with!

2. Videos are tricky, because they are just as engaging as images (if not more) but they do require action from the user. Clicking, loading, determining if volume will be an issue in their surroundings – all of these decrease the likelihood of interaction, thus making videos less positive in Facebook’s ranking.

3. Status messages are easy to digest, but not as visually appealing as images and videos.

4. Links are a great way to drive traffic to your website and share useful info that your fans might appreciate. However, they are often not accompanied by a photo, AND they require further action from the viewer.

When. While the results may vary slightly from market to market, conventional wisdom says that your Facebook posts must be frequent and consistent in order for users to interact with them. Studies have shown content is most effective when posted one to three times per day, and between 1pm and 4pm. The best day? Wednesday. (Mashable)

How. Make it visual. As we touched on above, visual content is the most highly valued. If your business does not necessarily lend itself to photos, don’t worry about it. Post something that appeals to the kind of people who like your company, and they will engage with it. The Ellen DeGeneres Show does a great job with this. Sure, there are posts about upcoming and past guests, and other show news, but there are also tons of engaging posts like quotes and photos with caption request for Ellen’s fan to interact with. With over 8 million likes, they’re doing something right.

Also, it’s important to keep your posts brief, but with enough information to give people a clear idea of why they should read them. Wildfire’s study showed that the ideal length for a photo caption was 141-280 characters, while videos and statuses performed best at 281 characters plus.

Why?  Two important reasons to have a great content strategy on Facebook are engagement and SEO. Fans engage with your brand or content by liking, posting, sharing, checking in, etc. A collaborative report by Comscore reports that people are far more likely to engage with social content in these ways than they are to engage with more traditional marketing, like display ads. And what’s the benefit of engagement? Aside from endearing fans to your brand, engaging content drives social discovery through amplification. If you share an announcement about your business’s revenue last year, some proportion of your fans will see it. But if you share a photo of the adorable puppy your coworker brought in wearing a tiny jacket, your fans might actually engage with it by sharing it with people in their network, who might also share with THEIR network and so on. Those extra sets of eyes translate into more likes, and eventually more leads.

The other purpose of social content is that it can link back to your website and create more entry points through which search engines – and customers – can find you. The more times your name and website are mentioned online the greater your search rankings will be.

Stay tuned for Thursday, when we’ll be talking about the best ways to use Twitter to maximize engagement for your small business.

More from this series on content marketing:
Why Content Gets The Royal Treatment
Content Roundup: Leveraging LinkedIn in 4 Easy Steps
Tweeting Your Way to #Success
Using Pinterest to Drive Traffic and Engagement

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