Crafting the perfect Facebook post is like cooking the perfect over-medium fried egg — easy to get it close but difficult to master. It doesn’t require a great deal of skill to post something on Facebook or fry a perfect over-medium egg, but to do it well, there are some things you need to really pay attention to. But so-help-me Mark Zuckerberg, I will never stop trying.
To get it right, let’s break down a Facebook post into its three main elements:
- Brand voice headline (BVH): The blurb you put right above the image
- The image
- The headline
I put on my social media editor hat and found three branded Facebook posts where, for one reason or another, these three elements weren’t jiving and made some improvements.
DISCLAIMER: Different things work for different brands. This is merely a guide to help you think about balancing the different elements. Find what works for you and your brand and go for it.
Mic is a media organization with a Facebook audience of over 1.5 million users. They “engage more than 22 million readers with stories about everything from U.S. politics and global affairs to arts, music and relationships,” according to their description.
Here’s a post of theirs that fell a little bit short:
The Good: This headline is great. Simple, easy to read and interesting.
The Bad: The BVH implies that what makes good employees quit is that they, the good employees, hire and promote the wrong people. That doesn’t make any sense. A click into the content reveals that “they” is actually referring to the managers, not the employees. It gave me a little headache.
The Meh: The image isn’t terrible but it’s very generic, even for a stock photo.
What I’d do differently: Even though it’s a great headline, I’d suggest changing it to more accurately represent what the content explains — the things managers do to “send good people packing.” A headline like, “9 Ways Bad Managers Ruin Good Employees” would be just as enticing while matching the BVH and painting a clearer picture of what the reader is clicking on.
2. The Star Tribune
The Star Tribune is a legacy media organization and has been a Twin Cities staple since the 1860s. Its 1.4 million weekly readers (in print and online) make it “Minnesota’s #1 local source for news, information and community news.”
However, it is certainly not immune to social media head-scratchers:
The Good: I love the BVH here. It’s short, sweet and asks a question on the minds of many.
The Bad: One word to describe that photo: Uffdah.
The Meh: The headline is just kind of weird. It’s a little wordy and very clunky. Pay-TV? Who calls it Pay-TV??
What I’d do differently: I’d drag the image quickly toward my trash-can icon and tighten up the headline to read, “One Man’s Case for Cutting the Cable,” and call it good.
Yes, that’s the company I work for and, yes, this is a post that I myself published. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I completely missed the mark on this one:
The Good: On its own, the BVH is short, sweet and readable, and I gave Entrepreneur credit for the content.
The Meh/Bad: I’ll lump these two together because there isn’t much else to like about my efforts here. This headline works great forEntrepreneur’s audience but not for Brandpoint’s. And what’s with the Starbucks logo? Who is that guy? This piece of content is ultimately about telling a personal story and I failed to do that (and the numbers showed).
What I’d do differently: I’d change the headline to, “The Best Way to Brand Yourself,” and tell a better story in the BVH. In a redo, the BVH would read:
“Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story.” The folks at @Entrepreneur share sound branding advice from some of the most well-known brands in the country.
Sure, it’s a little long. But it helps the reader connect the dots and provides some context to the image Entrepreneur chose for the content.
BONUS: Buzzfeed put together a collection of absolutely terrible Facebook posts. It’s amazing.
Until you hit “Publish,” there’s no way to know exactly how far your Facebook content will move. But if you focus on balancing those three elements, you’ll achieve a much more consistent and reliable voice with your audience.