Yesterday I was reading Brian Clark’s article 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work for the umpteenth time, and got inspired to do a similar article for Facebook. Brian’s article makes it easy by providing fill-in-the blank formulas for writing great titles for articles. I decided to create a similar list that makes for easy fill-in-the-blank status updates for Facebook Pages - not only for a catchy blog post, but to make my own life easier.
I define “engagement” as a share, like or comment, not a click (which I will save for a later post). In this article I will focus on showing formulas for making posts that don’t contain links, but have all of the content housed within the post - including images, video and text.
I analyzed a few of the world’s top Facebook Pages to see which posts were, on-average, creating more engagement with their Facebook fansthan others. I broke down the content in those posts to find the common pieces that remain stationary, and those that change with each new iteration. In this post I’ll discuss the 8 formulas that I’ve seen drive above-average engagement and show you some examples of how each is done:
1. One little-known way to [solve a problem]: [solution]
These posts need to include quick 1 - 2 sentence pieces of information to solve common problems. It’s better for them to be lesser-known, but even if people already know about the solution, they will still interact with comments such as “My mom showed me that!” or “I do this all the time, it works great!”.
Check out a few examples below:
- One little-known way to clean your makeup brushes: Soak them in vinegar and hot water
- One little-known way to save a wet cell phone: Leave it in rice to absorb the moisture
- One little-known way to get boys to wash their hands: Put Lego pieces in their soap dispenser to make it more appealing
This type of post has a double impact: It provides engaging content for fans and creates an image for your business as a knowledge information source. This will create trust for your brand and bring people to you to not only answer their questions, but also provide solutions that they trust in the form of your products or services.
2. Caption This! [Photo/Video]
This is fun and simple post that is 90% visual and 10% text. The only text that is needed it “Caption this!”. These work best with photos, but are also great to do with Vines or short-format videos.
Visuals can be funny pictures of animals or toddlers, or awe-inspiring photos of landscapes or human moments. The brand image you want to create will dictate the types of visuals you use. When choosing a visual, always think about the emotion you want to trigger within a person, happiness, hope, surpise, etc. Choose visuals that will hit people with a lightning bolt when they see your photo, and trigger them to engage with it.
Check out an example from Walmart below:
A great place to find photos for this is the Reddit “sub-reddit” /r/pics. The photos at the top with the most votes already have proven their power to engage people, so they’re usually a good choice.
3. “Fill in the blank. My [activity] must-have is ________.”
This type of post gets people thinking about upcoming events and times. And, if executed right, is awesome for getting people talking about using your products. Use an activity or time that is suited to your products, like cold winter nights, a family ski trip or a night out with friends. This will push people to suggest the types of products they like to use that you sell.
Check out how Target did it below for patio season:
Here are a few examples to try on your Facebook Page:
- Fill in the blank. “My New Years Eve must-have is ______”
- Fill in the blank. “My Monday morning must-have is ______”
- Fill in the blank. “My camping trip must-have is ______”
4. “Like” for [Option 1]. “Share” for [Option 2]
A “Like” vs. “Share” post is an easy way for people to voice their opinion by engaging with your brand. In a nutshell, this post consists of two competing options. A person can “Like” the post to vote for option A or “Share” the post for option B. The “Like” and “Share” counters on the post act a a built-in vote count to see which side is winning. It also acts as social proof of the number of people participating and pushes others to join in as well.
To execute this post, create an image, like the one below, that includes a side-by-side mashup of two images (with a descriptive title for each image) and a small graphic overlay that reads “Like vs. Share”. Then add a short description that reinforces how to participate and you’re done!
Walmart is king of this kind of post and regularly features them on their Facebook Page. Check out one of their recent “Like” vs. “Share” posts:
Here are few examples to try on your Facebook Page:
- Which is your favorite type of date movie? “Like” for comedy. “Share” for romance.
- What is your perfect Friday night? “Like” for a quiet night at home. “Share” for a wild night of partying.
- “Like” for IPhone. “Share” for Android.
5. “If [Enticing Scenario], I would _______”
This type of post encourages people to think about how they would act or what they would do in certain situations. It’s a fun way for people to use their imagination and engage with your posts in a purely friendly way.
Get people thinking about a fun or life-changing situation to get them talking about what they would do if something extraordinary happened. Or use an awkward or funny situation to get people to say how they would react.
Here a few examples to try on your Facebook Page:
- “If I had an unlimited marketing budget, I would ________”
- “If I had to live in any country other than my home country, I would _____”
- “If I was a frog, I would ______”
6. “When [Problem or situation is occurring], I ________”
Nothing brings people together like overcoming common issues. Allowing people to provide helpful tips to one another, or to vent about their frustration, is a great way to get your fans engaged. Choose issues and situations that your target market is likely to run into:
- Pet problems for pet owners
- School situations for young adults
- Marital issues for couples
Here are a few examples of common problems/situations to try:
- “When the kids are upset, I ______”
- “When my dog is going crazy, I ______”
- When I have a job interview coming up, I ______”
7. “Like” if you [do an activity]
These can be finicky, and require you to understand how your fans think. Make sure the statement you propose is one that is of popular opinion or a defiant statement for individuals to stand behind. It can be something to be happy about, like bacon or a mother’s love, or something people used to love, like this example from Sephora:
Remember to keep your target audience in mind and propose something related to their interests and attitudes. Favorite foods are usually a safe bet. Here are a few more examples to try:
- “Like” if you love blueberries in the summertime!
- “Like” if you are excited for our new Fall fashion line-up!
- “Like” if you’re going to an epic Superbowl party this year!
8. Remember when [old fad/tradition]?
Nostalgia is a great way to engage people. Even if the thing you’re remembering was not the best at the time, like the Lowe’s example below, it’s fun a reminice and think about what it was like back in the day. It will give people an opening to comment about their memories from that time period or how thankful they are now that a certain fashion has gone out of style.
Here are a few to try out on your own Page:
- Remember when the kids in Saved by the Bell seemed old?
- Remember when you had to actually remember your friend’s phone numbers?
- Remember when going to your friends house across the street felt like an adventure?
I hope this list of formulas and examples will help you through your writer’s block and engage your fans more on a regular basis! I know that it’s helped dictate my upcoming content schedule already.
Now it’s your turn to share. What types of posts give you the most engagement? Have you used any on this list?