There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours every week writing new Facebook posts for your business page…only to get weak responses from your followers.
Maybe a Like. No shares. And a comment like, “Great info. Thanks.”
Truth be told, updating a Facebook page with new posts every day can feel like a damn chore.
Before I tell you what I believe is the #1 reason most Facebook posts are doomed to fail before hitting publish, let me explain why I think most business owners struggle in the first place.
Most business owners and entrepreneurs (myself included) don’t have time to write new posts every day…and when we can find time, we’re throwing together a stock photo with a cheap quote to git ‘er done.
But ask yourself this question…are poor-quality posts better than no posts at all? I would argue no. In fact, I’d argue that poor-quality posts have a negative effect on your brand…leading to jaded readers who unfollow you immediately (but remain “friends”).
So here’s the dilemma: you understand the value of social media and how important it is to engage with your followers. There’s no question about that.
You also know building trust in your audience is important. (You don’t want to sound like an asshole when you’re ready to offer your products and services.)
But when you’re the only person in your business, there’s usually very little time to get a post out in the first place…let alone make it a high-quality post.
The Loss of Personal Engagement
To meet the demand for more Facebook posts, the solutions we fall into include some hack-combo of stock photos, post-schedulers, and shameful link plugs…and the reason is clear—these options save time and speed up the process when creating new posts.
Despite the benefits of these time-saving tools, “hack-tactics” don’t come without their own costs. And not just financial costs…
But the ultimate cost of personal engagement.
The more we separate ourselves from real-time and personal engagement, the more we disengage ourselves from an audience hungry for meaningful connection.
Let that point sink in for a moment. Go back and read it a 2nd time.
And a 3rd time…
"The more we separate ourselves from real-time and personal engagement, the more we disengage ourselves from an audience hungry for meaningful connection."
Every time we choose efficiency over real-time audience engagement, there’s a loss taking place…and that loss is the ability to engage in a meaningful way.
Don’t Feel Bad…I Do It Too.
Look, even I use stock photography (although I haven’t used a post-scheduler as of yet) and don’t want to sound like I’m calling-for-a-riot-on-the-streets against these tools. Not everyone has time to be a photographer.
But the important thing to keep in mind is that any artificial scent in social media will sound the “poor-quality content” alarm because it no longer engages in a unique way.
This is especially true when your post scheduler insists on self-branding your posts:
The #1 Reason Why Most Facebook Posts Are Doomed to Fail Before Hitting Publish
So what’s that reason? Here it is:
I ain’t gonna lie…been there. See for yourself on my Facebook page.
And if you haven’t yet fallen into the “throw-away Facebook post trap”…you’re probably a lurker on Facebook.
So to shed some light on the problem of message quality on Facebook, I decided to dig deep into what high quality posts looks like.
What Is Quality?
Let’s start off by defining quality.
I like the way Dictionary.com defines the word quality:
“Marked by a concentrated expenditure of involvement, concern, or commitment.”Dictionary.com
In other words—you give a shit about what you’re doing.
The more time and commitment you spend on each piece of content, the more quality and value your content will have. That means spending more than a few minutes thinking about what you’re trying to say in each post.
Now that we’re on the same page over quality, why should you focus on high-quality content?
9 Reasons Why You Need to Focus on High-Quality Content In Your Facebook Posts:
When you take time to review your written content for quality, you’re sending the message you know your topic well…and position yourself as an authority.
A great way high quality content positions you as an authority is because it’s usually heavier on research. Remember, high-quality ANYTHING is characterized by “concentrated involvement”…and few things are more involved than deep research.
The very fact that you’ve taken time to do deep research can do wonders for weaving authority into your brand message.
High-quality content increases the odds people will engage with your posts. There are some reasons why this is true:
- Affecting people emotionally (getting them to laugh, think, or feel empathy) is a great way to increase the desire for more engagement. Quote posts might net you some likes and shares, but if you want people to CARE about what you’re doing (enough to engage), you’ll have to dig deep into the emotions behind your message.
- High-quality content gets people involved in a conversation. Once you’ve created a post that has a strong effect on someone, you’ll encourage a subconscious call-to-action to engage in a conversation. You’ll get lucky on occasion with a random post, but if you want consistent results to spark engaged comments, you’ll need to work on the overall quality of your content.
- You can show you’re relatable. People really just want to know you’re easy to relate to. Not saying you need to please everyone (that would be impossible). But once you’ve demonstrated your authority and willingness to share your knowledge, you can increase the affinity with your “tribe” by validating comments and encouraging more discussion.
- Shares, likes, and comments can increase organic reach. When new visitors come across your post in their News Feed and see a ton of engagement, the social proof encourages them to participate in the conversation. No one likes FOMO, or the fear of missing out. The very fact that your post has a lot of engagement is an enticement to new readers. And once your post reaches a tipping point, you’re likely to see a surge of new engagement.
3. Facebook’s Edgerank
If you think all this talk of quality is a bunch of hoopla, keep in mind that Facebook’s Edgerank is actively pushing out poor quality content for higher quality content with high engagement.
If you don’t know what Edgerank is, it’s basically Facebook’s algorithm to eradicate poor-quality content to improve user experience. Get on the wrong side of Edgerank and you’ll find yourself on the bottom of the News Feed (in other words—the Facebook dead zone).
Here’s the bottom line: Facebook is moving towards higher-quality content for the sake of user experience. If people aren’t engaged with their app, it’ll be the death of them. So it’s in their best interest as a business to keep users excited about using their platform.
So if that’s Facebook’s ultimate goal, why try to fight the tide? It’s a better long-term business strategy to focus on quality for every single post.
When you make an authentic effort to spend more time with your friends and family, those relationships flourish. Why is that?
Because you’re demonstrating your time is well spent in their presence…which inspires the feeling of a genuine bond.
A parallel concept is true when posting high quality content—the more time and effort you spend creating your posts, the more you’re sending the message you genuinely care about your audience’s needs. Your sincere efforts will almost automatically feel more authentic.
The previous point spoke of authenticity—and that’s a bedrock for trust-building. Building brand trust is something of a holy grail for businesses. And this is more important today than ever before…because most people start off by distrusting a brand’s message.
When you spend more time creating high quality content, you’re sending a long message that you put the value of the relationship ahead of any call-to-action. An important message indeed.
Have you ever seen posts with a few sentences and an immediate call-to-action? Not saying these posts don’t work…but they almost always come off as click-bait…even when you’re providing real value.
6. Salesy-voice prevention
High quality content is an elegant way to disarm your audience…and keep you from the compelling need to sell your stuff like a Tupperware salesman amped-up on Columbian coffee.
(Bonus note: if you’re using more than 2 exclamation points in any post, stop it now. In fact, go back and edit them from the internet archives forever.)
The great thing about writing high quality content for Facebook posts is it gives you breathing room to make your case for an optin without rushing. The very fact that you’re leading with valuable content puts your audience in a position of listening and engagement…not in a position to protect themselves from a sales pitch.
And when your audience is listening and engaging…they’re not ignoring and scrolling.
7. Value expression
What the heck does value expression mean? Remember: quality is defined by involvement and commitment…so high quality content in a Facebook post expresses real value regarding how much time you’ve spent creating the post and how committed you are to providing useful knowledge.
One example of value expressed is a post from The Art of Manliness about the case for improving your cursive handwriting. After reading this juggernaut article (over 3,500 words), I was inspired to run out and learn how to improve my handwriting.
I found myself suddenly searching for a decent notebook and an oblique pen to improve my handwriting. This is coming from a man who could barely read his own handwritten notes specifically made for future reference.
I later analyzed why I had been so moved by that article…and realized it was because the quality of the research and the in-depth nature of the written content was unlike anything I had experienced on the internet before. The topic was interesting and they talked about it at an almost scholarly level.
Now I’m not saying you need to go out and do tons of research for a single Facebook post…but think of the results you could achieve if you took 5 minutes to consider the value expression of your posts.
To get the most relevant information for your posts, it will take some time and a deep knowledge of what your target audience is looking for…which is more than most busy entrepreneurs can bear in a pinch.
To help make the process of targeting posts for your audience easier, it’s a good idea to have an avatar or some other audience profile in front of you whenever you post something on Facebook. This can give you a fresh reminder of what your audience cares about and what they really want…and can keep you from publishing more and more posts that only end up in the dead zone of Facebook.
Highly-targeted posts are also likely to net you more engagement when you decide to run ads. Think of it this way: the more you focus on quality in your posts, the more content you’ll have for future awareness campaigns when you’re ready for outreach.
And by that point, you’ll know which posts resonated with your audience so you can multiply your brand’s reach with only the best posts.
9. Essential reading
With everyone time-strapped and looking for short hack-tactics, it’s not easy to hold anyone’s attention these days. But long-form content, even on social media, is known to work well and engage readers. It’s hard to believe, but there’s evidence that content well above 800 words does well on social media.
So how do your followers perceive long-form content in their News Feed? The research on this subject shows that readers are happily enjoying longer content on social media. It seems clear that even on social media, high quality content sends the message—this is essential reading.
And if you think people don’t consume long-form content on mobile devices…think again. Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer for the Content Marketing Institute, had something to say about long-form content consumption on smartphones: “People will read longer #content on phones if it captures their attention & provides value.”
“People will read longer #content on phones if it captures their attention & provides value.”Robert Rose, Content Marketing Institute
That doesn’t mean you can just write a bunch of rambling words and weak arguments…and expect to get great results because your post meets certain length guidelines. The content still has to be good. But for anyone who’s afraid that in-depth Facebook posts will lead to nowhere…fear not. The stats are on your side.
Now that you have a better understanding of why you should focus on high-quality content in your Facebook posts, let’s talk about 3 important goals for a Facebook post.
3 Goals of High-Quality Content in a Facebook Post
Let’s think about what we’re trying to achieve every time we publish a new Facebook post:
Increase brand awareness and engagement…without needing to post every day
It’s safe to say that if a single post netted you hundreds of likes, comments, and shares…you probably wouldn’t post every day. You’d get so much engagement from that one post it would take you several days to manage the response and encourage further discussion.
I mean, once you have an awesome post with tons of engagement, you could ride on that mini-success for a few days and tease out more engagement. And doing that 1–2 times per week is the same as getting only a handful of engagements from 5–6 poor-quality posts.
These are all words that describe what we really want to achieve with every Facebook post:
Sure it’s nice to think of something funny to say every now and then. You’ll get a few LOLs or maybe some HAHA reactions. But if you’re like me, you want your post to move people…to give them a reason to think…a reason to change…a reason to get out of their chair and DO something that can alter their lives forever.
Maybe that’s a lofty goal. But why not?
Make a significant impression on your reader.
Sadly, many people will forever judge you based on your first impression…and a bad impression can be damn near impossible to overcome.
That’s why you need to think about every single post you send out…and evaluate whether or not it will make a nailed-down impression on your reader…or if it’s likely to be ignored or flagged.
By now you might be thinking, “Okay, I understand the importance of high quality posts. How do I write them?”
Let’s get into that next.
The 11 Principles of High-Quality Content
Before you fill up your post-scheduler with random stuff, here are 11 reliable principles of high-quality content:
1. Understand What Your Audience Wants
Before arching your thumbs to write an epic Facebook post, take a moment to remember what your audience is actually looking for. Do they really want videos of your cat walking across the banister in a pirate suit? Or are they looking for glimpses into the human aspect of your business?
Not saying the pirate suit doesn’t work. If that’s what your audience likes—go right ahead. But if you start losing followers because you’re ignoring the needs of your audience…don’t be surprised.
2. Know Your Ethos-Logos-Pathos
Here’s a crash course on the three main rhetoric styles of Aristotle:
- Ethos — the appeal to ethics, concerning the credibility and character of the author
- Logos — the appeal to logic, concerning the ability of the author to persuade by reason
- Pathos — the appeal to emotion, concerning the ability of the author to invoke emotional responses in the audience
Every engagement (even on Facebook) is an opportunity to persuade others to your point of view. Whether you’re trying to get someone to buy your products or simply trying to convince the public that IPAs are the best beers ever made—understanding the ethos-logos-pathos of your argument can turn you into a persuasion master.
3. Spotless Spelling and Grammar
I’m not gonna pretend to be your 8th grade English teacher (which would be weird).
But poor spelling and grammar look bad on social media.
To state the obvious—run your content through a spelling and grammar check before you publish. You’ll save yourself the embarrassment of someone dedicating an entire comment to say, “You misspelled calendar.”
One fast way to show people you really don’t care about quality is with poor spelling and grammar. With tools like Grammarly now available to keep your spelling and grammar in check, there’s really no excuse to create Facebook posts that look like your thumbs suddenly stroked-out mid-sentence.
There’s even evidence that spelling and grammar mistakes are a major turn-off for your readers.
4. The Right Word Count
The overall trends for content length seem to be moving in the direction of long-form content…with content greater than 2500 words getting the most average social shares.
But does this trend translate to long-form content posted directly on Facebook? The answer appears to be yes—but with certain conditions. For one thing, you shouldn’t write more than you need to. Say what you’re trying to say as concisely as possible. If it takes you 1500 words to make your point…fine. But don’t ramble on for the sake of long-form content.
Another thing is staying focused one one topic per post. If you start going off on tangents in a single post, it’s time to hit publish and start a new post.
Content ideas need to be outlined.
If you’re a genius writer who can write compelling content in a single sitting without edits—so be it (I hate you). For the rest of us common-folk, create a quick outline and sketch a plan to present your ideas…and make sure they flow well.
No one enjoys talking to that person who idea-hops all over a conversation. You know what that sounds like—first he talks about the time he jumped out of the boat midway through It’s a Small World to retrieve his vodka-filled Mickey Mouse bottle…then he talks about the time he had the chickenpox so bad he had to bathe in a tub full of corn starch and calamine lotion for a week.
Not even related dude.
Don’t idea-hop in your Facebook posts. Find the flow.
6. Visual Appeal
Images are a great way to enhance your Facebook posts…but the keyword here is to enhance. Your message should be the primary focus of every post. The image is merely a visual reference of the core emotion in your content message.
I’m realistic…I know relevant images take time to find. Even I have trouble in this area. A good way to deal with this is to download royalty-free images from a site like pexels.com and store them in your phone for future use in your posts. That way when you’re ready to post something on the fly, you have a curated album of relevant images to choose from.
7. Provide Value
At the core of high-quality content is real value. But how do you provide value in a Facebook post? Here are a few ways:
- Answer a question — Pick out a common question you see people in your market asking and provide an in-depth answer on your Facebook page.
- Provide a framework — Lots of people struggle with getting a “big-picture view” of certain aspects of their business. Spend some time outlining a framework that’s useful to your prospects.
- List the options — Sometimes there are more available options for a decision than we are unaware of. List every possible option for a particular goal and create a quick list post. As an extra bonus, you could also turn this list into a poll to get a detailed picture of which options are important to your audience.
- Share a light-bulb moment — When you have a sudden epiphany that unlocks a ton of new ideas for your business…share it! This can be a great moment of connection because you’re sharing free ideas to people who weren’t even thinking about them…and this can show your audience that you’re always thinking about giving free value.
- Tell a story — Stories are a great way to convey helpful information…but there’s a caveat—your story has to be relevant to your audience. A brilliant way to “screen” your story ideas for relevance is to ask yourself this question: “Why does my audience need to hear this story right now?”
- Solve a common problem — Hang out in Facebook groups for a while and you’ll start to hear people asking the same questions. Pick out a common question you hear from your target audience and write a detailed answer to that problem.
8. Split From the Norm
The easiest way to stand out is to do the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing. For example, copywriter and email marketing genius Ben Settle uses a phrase that goes against the grain: “shallow dive surveys.” Most of us have heard the phrase “deep dive surveys” to describe detailed survey strategies, but Ben’s twist on a familiar phrase catches your attention right away for two reasons:
- It sounds like something new and interesting
- It’s cliché-free
Pick out words and phrases that you know are clichéd and put a spin on them.
9. Cut the Fat
If a sentence doesn’t move your argument forward…cut the fat. Your post should be a lean slab of sirloin…not chicharrones (fatty pig skin…deep fried).
If you run into sentences that sound clunky or forced…spend no more than 1 minute revising it for better flow. If that doesn’t work…ax it.
10. Emotional Appeal
We care about stories that affect us emotionally. I’m not suggesting you get all feelzy, but we like stories that bring us:
- Heart-tugging (ok…some feelzy)
Wherever you can, make it a point to appeal to emotion at some level to invoke a deeper connection with your audience.
Poor-quality content isn’t always incorrect…but incorrect content is always poor-quality.
You’ve seen the National Enquirer at the grocery store checkout aisle. Now I’m not categorically calling the magazine hypey-propaganda-reminiscent-of-fascist-Italy…but it’s not exactly credible.
Take some time to check your sources before you post something. It will save you a few comments about being dead wrong.
So there’s a drone’s eye view of high-quality content principles. But what are the actual post types that can be used to apply these principles?
13 Types of High-Quality Content for Facebook
Let me clarify an important point here: high quality content is a strategy…not a tactic. There’s a ton of research on the topic of various content mediums and which perform better on Facebook…but that type of thinking is tactical.
If you really want to be the orange orangutan in your niche….you have to think strategically…you have to create original content…and let the content medium be an afterthought to enhance your message.
When you think strategically, you can take any one of these 13 post types and apply the principles of high-quality content to make them better than your average post:
- Personal stories
- Current Status Updates
And the great thing about thinking strategically here is that you can cross-pollinate ideas across different post types…and repurpose the same message in a different content medium.
So if I had to summarize a single key takeaway from this blog post, it would be this:
If you try to motivate yourself to improve quality for the sake of quality…you’ll give up. But if you realize that Facebook post quality is more important now than ever before (and will only become more important going forward)…you’ll be on the right side of top-tier social media strategy.
And if you’re looking for direct-response copywriting services for your business or a Facebook ad copywriter and don’t have the time to do it all yourself, feel free to contact me and we can set up a free strategy call to discuss your project.