Most Facebook posts are written on the go, while you’re up to ears doing whatever it is that you do all day – and you treat them like little radio broadcasts. You approach each post as if it’s a chance to shout to the world something you know about your business! The end result? If your business page was a friend – you’d stop hanging out with them. All they do is talk about themselves! If your every post is about how great you are, how affordable you, how much better than the other guys you are, and of course, a grocery list of things you have on sale with prices, hours, specials, conditions, and so much fine print it looks like the bottom of a newspaper ad for a new car – than people are scrolling past your posts like it’s a race.
It doesn’t have to be that complicated. There’s a lot to be said about the art of writing better Facebook posts but we’ll limit this to a few things you can start doing right now that will make you stand out. But first, let’s talk about what we mean by “better.”
The best Facebook posts force engagement. When someone is scrolling through the feed and happens upon your post they stop and consider it without even realizing what they’re doing. At a time when we’re exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 marketing messages a day – you can’t assume people will stop, read, consider and retain what you’re written. You know yourself that you can’t recall most of what clutters your feed. You only remember the things you engaged with. With that in mind – stop tracking how many people your posts have reached. Thousands of marketing messages have reached you today – but how many have connected? How many have actually engaged your brain? They’re few and far between. So, when you stop shouting about yourself and start actually engaging with your followers – you’ll be amazed by the impact it can have.
Stop talking to the whole damn world.
While Facebook may seem like your chance to talk to all of your followers like you’re standing alone behind a podium in a room filled with however many hundreds or thousands of followers you have, that’s not how it works. Facebook is a personal connection. You’re in their hand. You’re surrounded by their friends thoughts and words and pictures. It’s a personal space. You’re just talking to them. With each post you’re talking to just one person a time. Rather than “For all of you looking for a place to grab a beer after work today” try “Why don’t you stop by for a beer after work today?” Keep intsingular and you’ll stand out because you’re actually talking to the person reading the post.
Keep it short
Ain’t no body got time for your rambling ways. Post about one thing. Keep it concise. Assume you’re losing 30% of your original audience with each sentence. If 100 people read the first line, assume only 70 stuck around to read the second, that 40 hung in there for the third, only one-in-ten made it to the fourth and only you have any idea what you wrote in the fifth sentence. It’s not an essay question. Get to the point and let the reader know why they should care about the next sentence.
With our brain processing so many marketing messages a day we’ve now got a well trained gatekeeper in there that keeps most of them from breaking through. When you see a sign in front of a tire store your brain expects it to say something about tires so as your eyes scan it and see a price – your brain shuts down, unless you’re actively in the market for tires. To the rest of the world? Wasted words. There are two awesome things you can do to force engagement: cause an emotion, or force consideration.
Using emotion you can deliver something unexpected or something expected but delivered in an unexpected way. I would not expect to see a poem about winter tires. Humor is unexpected in that situation. When your message is funny the gatekeeper gets distracted and the message gets through. Actually, genuine emotion is just commonly unexpected in marketing messages so anything authentic in your message generally leaves the gatekeeper flabbergasted and the message gets through to the brain.
The second form of forced engagement is consideration. As a question and the gatekeeper lets it past for the brain to consider. Present two options and they gatekeeper calls upon the analysts to automatically render a verdict and make a choice. Image that you’re walking down the street and someone pops out in front of you and without saying hello just shouts “What kind of underwear are you wearing?” The vast majority of us will be so shocked at something unexpected happening that we’ll stammer, we’ll blink, and quickly answer the question. The gatekeeper fell of her chair, the message got buy, and engagement has been forced.
The Relationship between features and benefits
Finally, I’m going to share the most transformative business writing tip I’ve ever learned. When you sit down and stare at the thing you’re trying to sell it’s easy to only think about it from your perspective as the person selling it. So if you’re selling a bluetooth speaker you starting writing down the features of the product: it’s got a long lasting battery, a waterproof case, and incredible sound for the size of the unit. You might be tempted to write a post that looks something like this:
“The BEM Bluetooth Speaker is on sale today for $129.99. It has a long lasting battery and a waterproof case. Get yours today – only at Speakers R Us. Open til 9!”
You’ve written a post like that a million times if you sell a product or service. You’re itemized the unique features of what you’re offering. You’re proud of how great it is. You’re hoping one of these features is what someone is looking for and that maybe they’ll stop in today and make the purchase. Before 9.
That post is all about your product and you – and not at all about the person that buys the product so that you have money to keep the doors open and the lights on. Now that you have the features of the product outlined – let’s imagine the broadest benefit a customer will enjoy because of that feature.
Feature: Long lasting battery.
Benefit: It’ll last all day at the beach and all night at the campfire.
Feature: Waterproof case
Benefit: You don’t have to worry if the kids get it wet
So – you could say things like
It’s long lasting battery ensures it will stay charged all day and still be going for the campfire that night.
The waterproof unit makes it safe for the kids to use at the beach.
Those aren’t bad – but they can better by making it about the customer first. Rather than write a feature followed by a benefit – just flip them and you’ll have content that is immediately more relevant and more engaging.
“You can blast your favorite music at the beach all day and around the campfire all night with the long lasting battery of our BEM Bluetooth Speaker. And don’t worry about the kids and their wet hands – the new design is completely waterproof. Come connect your phone and give it a try. We’re here until 9.”
Stop writing like you want to sell and start writing like you want the customer to buy. It changes everything!