Does your small business have a presence on Facebook? If so, you’re undoubtedly wondering how you can get the most from this social media site. A new study by BuzzSumo has some valuable tips. BuzzSumo reviewed more than 800 million Facebook posts from 2016 to see which ones got the most engagement from Facebook users. Here’s some of what they found.

First, if you aren’t already on Facebook, what are you waiting for? Facebook is the largest social network, with 1.79 billion active monthly users last year, the study says. A whopping 79 percent of all U.S. adults who use the internet are on Facebook. That makes it by far the best social media site for most small businesses’ marketing purposes.

What types of Facebook posts get all those users’ attention?

  • Visuals rule. Questions, images and videos get more engagement than any other type of post. However, videos are the most likely to be shared.
     
  • Facebook posts get the most engagement on Sundays. While this might sound surprising, BuzzSumo found that engagement with posts rises when there are fewer public posts in users’ news feeds. In other words, there’s less competition on Sundays and at night, so posts that appear at those times get more interaction. Consider scheduling some posts during these “off hours” to see how they do.
     
  • Short posts (those with less than 50 characters) get more engagement than longer ones. However, when a post links to content outside Facebook, those that link to longer articles get more engagement.
     
  • If you’ve set up your Instagram posts to automatically post on Facebook too, you may want to reconsider. BuzzSumo reports that images posted directly to Facebook (instead of through Instagram) get more user engagement.  

BuzzSumo talked to Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith to help interpret the findings and to get her recommendations for how small businesses can learn from them. Smith’s advice:

  • Think visual. Create shareable video and photo content for your business Facebook page. If video sounds too intimidating, embedding relevant videos from outside sources in your feed is a good way to attract attention. Smith also advises trying Facebook Live. Since people expect live video to be “loose” and unedited, this can be an easy way to get started with Facebook video.
     
  • Use paid promotion to amplify reach on some of your Facebook posts. Smith recommends that you wait 24 hours to let a post accumulate organic reach and then pay to promote it. Wait 24 hours after the paid promotion and, if necessary, pay to promote the post again. By waiting 24 hours between each action, you’ll maximize results from each paid promotion.
     
  • Include call-to-action buttons and links in your posts. By asking users to take action, you’ll automatically boost engagement compared to posts that don’t ask for interaction. Calls-to-action should support your ultimate goals for your Facebook marketing, Smith says. For instance, you might ask users to subscribe to your emails, go to your website, sign up for a webinar or watch a video about your product or service. Don’t use Facebook just to get more Facebook fans—that doesn’t lead anywhere.
     
  • Posting five times a week will help you get the most from your Facebook page. You should also include a wide variety of types of posts. While most of your posts should include a call-to-action, Smith notes it’s also important to include posts that don’t ask for anything from users. Posts that educate, inspire or entertain your Facebook followers will help build a relationship by showing them that you care about their needs—not just about getting them to do something.

Need more help developing your Facebook marketing strategy? Ask the experts at SCORE. Visit www.score.org to get matched with a mentor and start getting free business advice and consulting.