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1. Conversations starters.

This is just a better name for the standard “status update.” Posting just a status if fine, but it doesn’t request engagement from your audience. Sure, if you’re a celebrity you can post that you just rolled out of bed and it will generate interest, but as a business, your social media goals are different, just as your fans’ incentives for ‘liking’ you are different.

Questions are the key to your status updates. If you post something like, “We’re ready to start another day of great business,” tack on one extra piece at the end: a question. It can be generic or specific to your business. For example, if you’re a spa, you might say, “What best perks you up in the mornings: a facial or mani/pedi?” Or you can be less specific and simply ask, “What do you do to get your morning started out right?”

Fill in the blank posts are another easy conversation starter and one that gets great response. Again, this can be industry specific or general; however, if you go with something general, be sure it still targets your primary fan base. If you are a house cleaning business you might say, ” Fill in the blank: If there was one house chore I never had to do again, it would be_____.” Fans see it as quick and fun and the happy medium between simply ‘liking’ a post and writing out a comment.

2. Your Blog Posts (or content from your site)

Driving traffic to your website is not just critical so that fans learn more about your business, but powerful search engines like Google pay attention to your website’s activity also. Just like the physical location of your store, the more people that attend, the greater its popularity grows. Traffic and regularly updated content are two keys to increasing the likelihood that search engines will pick up your website and display them in the results when a consumer runs a search for a product or service that you can provide. However, it takes time and effort to become a top result on Google or any search engine, so in the mean time, start driving traffic where you have control: through Facebook.

Announcements, pricing and new services or products are probably things you add to your website (and if not then you should!) When these things go up on your website, post the links to them on your Facebook page as well. Let me say that again: Post the LINKS on your Facebook page. It’s great to make the announcement on Facebook, but always provide the link to where the information is located. It is likely that someone will want to go looking.

Blog posts are the other great resource of your own that you can post on Facebook. Again, it can take awhile for search engines to start indexing this content and you must be consistent with it (be patient!) so you need to get it public through your best resources: your social media. If you do not currently have a blog, consider starting one. Understand that it does not have to be a heavy undertaking. Even a post a week is a great start. It is likely you do online reading throughout your week on industry news and talk. A great way to begin the blog is to simply collect these articles through your week and and post “recommended reading” and share the link to the stories you found of interest.

3. External Content

On the topic of your weekly reading of industry news, are you sharing any of that currently through your Facebook? While sharing info about your business and what you are doing is great, sharing content you find outside of your own world is important too. Too much self-promotion can be a turnoff to your fans. It might give the impression that your Facebook is a free billboard tool as opposed to a means for communicating with and connecting to your customers.

Articles and blog posts from other resources are easy to find and you are reading them for your own benefit already; continue to do so but share the wealth knowledge. Post a link to articles you find most interesting or more specifically pertain to your customers than maybe those that you read that pertain to businesses.

Videos and infographics are things you may not have the resources to create but they easily spread through social media tools and we all enjoy them in the mix of the text articles. Even without the ability to create these graphics or videos yourself, you can be a part of providing them to your audience by passing along those that you find. You are not taking claim for the creation of the content, but just taking part in their viral spread, which is exactly what the owner of the content is hoping to achieve.

4. Special offers and promotions

This is not necessarily referring to Facebook Offers, one of their latest roll-outs (or still rolling out, most pages do not yet have the ability to create ‘offers’). The thing is, it does not take a special tool for you to post an announcement about a special sale or promotion you are running. Facebook fans said that they respond most readily to offers posted by fan pages more so than any other kind of post. Remember, if there is additional info or a way to purchase or claim the offer online then post the direct link for customers to be able to take action.

This article talks about several Facebook engagement tips but also points out that fans most readily respond to offer posts that use the number of dollars off. (For example, “$10 off”.) The author suggests that telling the percent off might sound great, but it still leaves the math up to the consumer. Sometimes the math is easy, but it still takes time. Coupon was the second most engageing word used when it comes to offer posts.

5. Photos

Digital everything gives us endless possibilities for posting photos on Facebook. While you do want sharp, professional grade images on your website, your Facebook page is a different story. Share photos of your employees and them in action. Show sample photos of your work if it applies or your products.

Customer photos are worth including also. Develop a theme around posting photos that include customers–giving them all the more incentive to not just “like” your page, but to pay attention to it, comment on things as well as share from your page. You can do a customer spotlight of the week with a photo. You might collect testimonials from customers and snap a picture of them to go with it.

Use free programs and you can add an extra touch to your photos before posting, if you do want to give them a less ‘point and shoot’ look. If you own a smart phone, use Instagram to quickly and easily add a filter on your photos that suddenly turns them into a magazine worthy photo. If you do not have a smart phone, try using a free tool online like Picasa.

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