From choosing the right length to whether to use emoticons or not, here are our tips on writing a perfect Facebook post

There’s a fine art to creating a Facebook post that not only gets your content read but also gets people talking about it and sharing it. Here’s how:

1. Get the right length

Ideally, you should be aiming for fewer than 80 characters. 40 is the ideal length but, in reality, this can be hard to achieve.
 
“This is what 40 characters looks like in reality”
 
Short, right? But these ultra-short 40-character posts received 86% higher engagement than others, according to analysis done by marketing expert Jeff Bullas. However, posts that were double the size at 80 characters or fewer still received 66% higher engagement.

2. Ask questions

Go for posts starting or containing words like ‘should’, ‘would’, ‘which’ and ‘who’, as these get the best engagement, according to analysis by marketing software company Hubspot. However, try and avoid ‘why’ and ‘how’. You don’t want people thinking too hard about what the content will be – you should instead be answering the question in the post or offering a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For example, go for:
 
‘Should I be planning for my retirement now?’
 
Instead of:

‘Why is retirement planning important?’
 
For questions, you can make them longer than normal posts as these they get better engagement figures when they're between 100 and 119 characters, according to BlitzLocal.

3. Try emoticons

We know that it might seem like you’re trying to be down with the kids, but emoticons do increase engagement. Posts with emoticons can get 33% more comments and are shared 33% more often, according to an infographic on BitRebels. Posts with emoticons also get liked 57% more often than posts without – according to the stats. 

Obviously, it depends on your company’s tone of voice, so make sure you use them wisely and sparingly.

4. Use an image

Try to choose a picture that both represents the content and your company – but know that photos are all-powerful in the world of social media. Photo posts get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more clickthroughs than ones without, say analytics experts Kissmetrics.
 
To boost engagement further you could ask your followers to caption the picture – this increases engagement by 5.5.

5. Post at the right time

While it’ll differ depending on your industry, for Facebook the best time for engagement tends to be between 1pm and 4pm on weekdays.
 
The peak time for engagement is thought by some to be Wednesday at 3pm. It's also worth trying Thursday and Friday according to another study on optimum posting times by social tool provider Buffer.
 
As a test, try posting the same link at different times or on different days to see which gets the best response.

6. Launch a competition

Everyone likes a freebie and companies have long been using such lures to get people on their Facebook pages. In fact, 35% of fans said they 'liked' a Facebook page specifically to compete in contests.
 
Contest-related words like ‘winner’, ‘win’, ‘entry’, ‘contest’, ‘enter’ and ‘promotion’ were all also more likely to engage users, says a data report from Buddymedia. Another mechanism that prompts 42% of Facebook fans to like a page is to get a discount or coupon.

7. Check it on a mobile

With Google downgrading non-mobile-friendly sites and 189 million of Facebook’s users claiming to be mobile-only, it’s time to consider how your headlines and posts will look on a mobile device. Short works well here too because of screen sizes and readability issues.
 
Mobile users generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue while 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them, research for Facebook reveals.

8. Consider your audience

Like with all good content, you should be considering who your audience is and what they want – not what you want.

41% of Facebook users liked a page to receive regular updates from a brand, which is nice. But it also means that 59% didn’t sign up as your content hasn't grabbed them, a study by social intelligence company Syncapse shows. So make sure you’re not overloading your users with irrelevant, unwanted content. Which leads us to…

9. Follow the 80/20 rule

Facebook posts should follow the 80/20 rule – 80% social, 20% product-related, says social media management tool provider Engagor.

Any social posts can be linked to your business thematically but shouldn’t be promoting products directly otherwise you’re going to get a lot of people unfollowing – put off by the hard sell.