Get More Out of Facebook: 12 Effective Tactics to Get More Shares and Likes

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Everyone who uses Facebook for their business asks themselves the same question:

“How do I get more shares and likes?”

Even if you’re not active on Facebook, your readers can still share your content on Facebook to help you get even more traffic.

For 99% of businesses with an online presence, it makes sense to get as many shares and likes as possible.

Each time a Facebook user shares or likes your content, that content gets exposed to all of that user’s friends.

It helps you get more traffic, subscribers, and eventually customers.

But why Facebook when there are many other social networks you could focus on?

The simple reason is that Facebook is by far the largest social network, and it is still growing.

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On top of that, Facebook has become a place where most users go to consume content, which means that users are in the right mindset to visit your site.

Getting likes and shares starts with creating great content, but there’s more to it if you want to maximize their number.

In this post, I’m going to show you 12 actionable ways that will help you improve the number of likes and shares you get on Facebook. 

1. It’s all about “you”

Social networks are all about the user.

Everyone creates their own profile, which shows who they think they are to all their friends.

It’s about customizing their own experience and seeing content from the people and connections that they want.

In some sense, social media is a platform designed for users to focus on themselves.

The reason why this is so important is because you need to understand that users are mainly focused on content directed at them.

Ideally, that would mean tagging users so they would get a notification.

Obviously, that’s not possible for most businesses.

However, you can still learn from this by making your Facebook posts more about the user who is reading them.

In simple terms: use the words “you” and “your” a lot.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

When I post on the Neil Patel Facebook page, I post two main types of things:

  • links to blog content
  • inspirational messages and quotes

For the second type, I focus on messages that focus on the reader (mention “you”):

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Using the word “you” is a lot like writing someone’s name—it makes the reader pay attention.

This rule also goes for writing content in general.

Whenever possible, I try to use “you” in my headlines and content:

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2. CTAs work on your website or on Facebook

Calls to action (CTAs) are unbelievably effective tools to get readers to take action in almost any situation.

They are one of the most important factors when it comes to landing page conversion rate.

The main reason why they are so effective is because there’s almost always a disconnect between what you want and what other people think you want.

When you post a link to your content on Facebook, what are you looking for? Primarily likes and shares (maybe comments) for the reasons we talked about before.

But think of it from a user’s point of view.

Let’s say they click through and love the content.

Then what? Although it’s obvious to you that you want the content to be shared, it’s not to most readers.

But if you ask them to share your post if they like it, then all of a sudden it is clear what you’d like them to do.

And if they really liked the content, many readers won’t mind sharing it.

Dan Zarrella conducted some really interesting research regarding CTAs on various social networks.

First, he looked at Twitter.

He found that the most retweeted posts contained one of six common phrases/words in them.

Every single one of them was a call to action or part of a call to action.

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Adding “Please Retweet” to a tweet more than doubles the expected number of shares—that’s huge.

More importantly for us here, he also looked at Facebook posts.

He found that posts with the word “share” (as in “please share this…”) got about twice as many shares as posts without it.

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Another interesting finding is that including the word “share” also nearly doubles the number of likes a post gets.

The takeaway is very simple:

If you want a particular post to get extra shares, just include a call to action such as “Please share this post.”

Although I’ve yet to see it studied, it makes sense that this approach would be most effective when you use it only once in awhile.

If you include the same type of call to action in every post, it may lose its potency (depending on how often you’re posting).

3. Hop on trending topics early

Most ways to get more likes and shares revolve around making your content more appealing to your existing audience.

However, another option is to get a status post in front of a new audience that is eager to like and share posts.

The way to do this is by jumping on trending topics.

You can find these in the top right-hand part of your newsfeed:

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Users who spend a lot of time looking at trending topics are the ones that care about knowing things first.

They want to like and share such posts to show to their friends that they’re “in the know.”

When a user clicks on one of those links, they see all related to that trend posts.

You don’t have to do anything special to show up there as long as you link to an article with the main keyword (the link’s anchor text) in the headline or mention it in your description.

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That being said, the results prioritize high engagement posts. So, the first posts that a user will see when they click on a trend will have lots of likes, comments, and shares.

However, even with a few dozen likes, you should still get a decent amount of extra exposure.

The most difficult part is finding a relevant to your business trend.

This won’t work for every business, but if yours has anything to do with entertainment, it could be a great way to grow your audience and get extra shares.

4. Reduce the social competition

For many sites, it makes sense to prioritize the biggest social networks.

Instead of trying to get traffic from several networks, just pick two or three, including Facebook.

You might have noticed that over time, I’ve reduced the number of sharing buttons on the side of Quick Sprout posts.

As of writing of this post, there are only two buttons.

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If a reader wants to share your content, they will usually decide which network to do it on (if they use more than one) based on the buttons displayed.

So by limiting the choices, you control where most of your shares will end up.

This is really important because sharing works in an exponential way. Each extra share has the potential to send an increasingly large amount of traffic.

Put in simpler terms, it’s better to get 50 shares on Facebook than to get 5 shares on 10 different networks.

The second benefit of reducing the number of buttons vying for your readers’ attention is that it may increase your overall shares as well.

There’s a classic example of how limiting choice can increase output.

In 1995, a study was conducted to examine how choices affected purchases of jam.

The researchers alternated displaying 24 types of jam with displaying only 6 jams.

Although the 24 choices of jam attracted more attention, only 3% of those who tried a sample actually bought a jar.

On the other hand, 30% of people who tried one of the 6 jams bought a jar.

Limiting choices actually increased the conversion rate by 1,000%.

People get overwhelmed when they have too much choice. It becomes a chore to consider the benefits and drawbacks of all options.

When you have 6-8 sharing buttons beside your content, it will take extra time and effort for the reader to decide which network to share the content on.

Although having sharing buttons is not like selling jam, it’s not a coincidence that many other content providers have found that they don’t get any extra shares with more sharing buttons.

5. Increase your reach by integrating more shareable content

If you’re active on Facebook, you need to understand “EdgeRank.

EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that determines what a user should see.

If your post has a high EdgeRank, more of the people who have liked your page will see it.

If your post has a low EdgeRank, fewer people will see it.

Originally, your EdgeRank depended on 3 main factors:

  1. Affinity – the level of relationship between the user and the content provider
  2. Weight – a number based on the type of post you created
  3. Decay – how recently you’ve posted

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Now, the term EdgeRank isn’t really used by Facebook, but most marketers still use it just because that’s what everyone is used to.

Facebook stopped using the term because the algorithm has become much more evolved.

Although these 3 factors are still important, other things are important as well.

One, in particular, could be classified as part of “affinity”—your past engagement history.

Basically, if your past posts have gotten a lot of engagement (likes, shares, and comments), Facebook’s algorithm thinks you post things that users like.

Therefore, it increases your EdgeRank, and any future posts you make will have a larger reach.

How to inflate your EdgeRank: Once you understand EdgeRank, you can tailor your posting to increase your EdgeRank for important future posts.

If you just post links to your blog content, your reach isn’t going to be great in most cases because blog content isn’t hugely shareable.

But what you can do is post highly shareable content (think pictures of cats) that attract a ton of shares, likes, and comments.

This will boost the EdgeRank of all your future posts, exposing your posts to more of your followers. In turn, you’ll get more traffic, shares, and likes when you share your blog content.

You can see how I use this simple strategy on my Facebook page.

I mix in pictures with quotes and inspirational messages because of this:

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These types of pictures attract hundreds of extra shares and likes when compared to a blog post, which means that they have a significant impact on my posts’ EdgeRank scores.

6. Take a stand to stand out

People share things to shape how other people view them.

If you want to be thought of as a caring animal lover, you share posts about volunteering for animal shelters.

If you want to be thought of as a super cool marketer, you share Quick Sprout posts, right? ;)

So if you want your content to be shared a lot, it has to stand for something.

There’s a spectrum for this.

You could write an article like “11 Tips for Content Marketing.” If someone shares it, they show their interest in marketing to friends.

However, it doesn’t really take a stance on anything.

Their friends who actually know anything about marketing certainly won’t think that the sharer is an expert on the subject for sharing that.

People don’t want to just be seen as interested in something important to them. They want others to think that it’s a huge part of their lives and that they are an expert in it.

Consider the difference that sharing an article like the one below makes:

Alright Google, You Win…I’ll Never Use Private Blog Networks Again!

Private blog networks are a controversial topic. By firmly declaring that you stand on one side, you make your opinion known.

This does two things:

  • friends who agree with you think that “you know your stuff”
  • friends who do not agree with you think you’re an idiot
  • friends who don’t know anything about it think you’re going up against Google, and that means you must be doing something impressive

If your friends share your opinions, which often happens, when you take a stance on a controversial topic, it only strengthens their view of you. This is why most people do it without realizing it.

That post about private blog networks is real, by the way. It generated over 480 comments and hundreds of shares.

You can take advantage of this motivation behind a lot of sharing in just about any niche.

Pick a controversial subject, and then clearly state which side you’re on.

For example, in the United States, the future of Social Security (essentially a pension plan) is a very controversial topic.

Bernie Sanders posted a very clear statement and link that shows that he supports expanding Social Security:

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Anyone who wanted to show their friends that they care about the well-being of the elderly (and future elderly) is extra motivated to share something like this.

Also, people who want to show that they are politically active also shared this.

Put all that together, and this post received over 1,000 shares and 6,200 likes in the first 18 hours.

People want to share posts that reflect them and that show others who they are. Take a stance shared by many people on an important topic, and they will be extra motivated to share your post.

7. Data tells you what works best

The most difficult aspect of a lot of these tactics is that it takes a fair bit of knowledge and practice to get things working just right.

Although you can try any of these tactics right away, it may take several posts (or more) before you actually start seeing a significant increase in shares and likes.

The more you do them, the more you’ll understand the principles behind them, and that’s how you’ll learn them.

However, not all tactics are like that, including this one.

The ideal scenario is to minimize guesswork. To do that, we need data and analysis.

What you should do, at least once every few weeks, is look at how your posts have performed:

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Record all their likes, shares, and even the number of comments in a simple spreadsheet.

However, you should also put those into a category.

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Those are fairly broad categories, which is fine to start with. Once you’ve made over a hundred posts or so, you can start getting more specific with your categories.

For example, instead of just “Writing,” you could divide those posts into:

  • Writing better
  • Writing faster
  • Writing tools
  • Editing

The point of doing this is to see which types of posts receive the most likes and shares.

Once you have a decent sample size (at least 20 posts in each category), you can calculate average numbers of shares and likes.

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These are just hypothetical results that I could get from my posts (not real numbers).

The takeaway is pretty obvious: to write more about social media and less about entrepreneurship and writing.

The numbers clearly show that posts about social media get by far the most engagement, while entrepreneurship posts don’t get much.

By simply writing more about subjects that get more likes and shares, I’d immediately get a better average engagement.

Additionally, this would help my EdgeRank, which would result in even more likes and shares in the future.

8. Create posts that make users feel obligated to share

Another big reason why people share posts on Facebook is because they want to bring awareness to an issue.

Creating posts that highlight an important issue or cause to your followers, as well as including a call to action, will result in getting many more shares than usual.

Again, this will improve the EdgeRank of your other posts, resulting in even more long term traffic, shares, and likes.

Let’s look at an example of what I’m talking about.

A humane society was running a food drive in order to collect food to give to pet owners in need.

It’s easy to see why anyone might be touched by this gesture, let alone actual pet owners, volunteers, and activists that follow the society’s Facebook page.

They made a post about this on Facebook, and although the description could have been written more effectively, it still garnered over 300 likes and 75 shares.

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The best subjects for these types of posts are charities. Your followers feel that you’re doing your part to help out, and they should too by sharing the post.

This is one of the few tactics that’s difficult to implement if you’re in a marketing niche since there isn’t a whole lot of charity going on.

However, in most other niches, you can simply go to Google News and search for “(your niche) charity events.

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A post on either of these topics would get a lot of engagement and would be perfect for any business in the animal niche.

9. One type of post gets more shares than all the rest

A study on Facebook content found that certain types of content get more of particular types of engagement.

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There are a few things that stand out.

First is that status posts get a much higher percentage of comments than all other types.

If you want more comments on your posts, start posting more interesting status updates as opposed to links, photos, and videos.

It makes sense when you think about it.

Status updates are mainly posted by regular users to be seen by their friends, and friends converse with each other.

But it works the same way even if you have a Facebook page. Michael Hyatt occasionally asks questions to stimulate discussions.

This one has over 35 comments:

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The other thing that really stands out is that videos have a much higher share percentage than any other type of post.

Shares are typically considered more valuable than likes because they are effectively an endorsement of your content. They usually (but not always) lead to more traffic and engagement on a post.

It’s simple: If you want more shares on your posts, start including more video.

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Ideally, create your own videos to get the benefit of the content views as well.

But you can always post popular videos related to your niche if you think your followers will enjoy them.

Finally, just remember that you should test this for your specific business. Those study results were drawn from all niches.

I’ve personally seen video work really well on Facebook in some niches but not in others.

A good plan is to test how your followers react to video content by sharing videos made by others at first. If it goes well, then start creating your own.

10. Optimize every post for sharing

SEO and social optimization have a few things in common.

One component is the use of meta tags. But they use different types of meta tags.

With social networks, you need to include specific og (Open graph) meta tags in your content in order for it to format optimally on social networks (including Facebook).

I’ve written in the past about how crafting custom titles and descriptions in these tags led to a 174% increase in Facebook traffic to Quick Sprout. It’s an easy thing to start doing, but it can have big results.

What it looks like: If you don’t include any meta tags in your content, Facebook will do the best it can when someone shares a link to your site.

Sometimes it will do it well, but other times it will only find the title and introduction, and your link will look something like this:

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Honestly, that’s terrible. It’s not going to stand out from all the other well formatted content in a typical feed. It’s unlikely to drive you any additional traffic.

But when you include the right meta tags, Facebook knows exactly where to pull your title, description, and image from. You can ensure that no matter who shares the link on Facebook, it will show up as intended.

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Setting your tags: There are tons of og tags that you can set, but pretty much all social networks only pull data from a few main ones.

It makes sense to focus on these to save your time:

1. og:title – The headline that shows up on Facebook (usually same as post)

Example: <meta property=”og:title” content=”How I’m Going to Achieve the $100k a Month Challenge without Using My Name”/>

2. og:type – Specify the type of your content. That way, Facebook knows whether it’s a video, post, or even a local result. There are many types; choose from this full list.

Example: <meta property=”og:type” content=”article”/>

3. og:image – The URL of your preferred featured image.

Example: <meta property=”og:image” content=”http://www.quicksprout.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/quicksprout.png”/>

Note: You can make more than one image tag. If you do, Facebook (and other networks) will pick the image with the best size for its users.

4. og:url – The original (canonical) URL of your post.

Example: <meta property=”og:url” content=”http://www.quicksprout.com/2015/05/11/how-im-going-to-achieve-the-100k-a-month-challenge-without-using-my-name/”/>

5. og:description – The small description that appears under the headline on most social networks.

Example: <meta property=”og:description” content=”  Last week I posted about my setback on the $100,000 challenge. Some of you were happy with the results so far, while others were disappointed about how mu”/>

Although you can manually edit these tags for all your content, the simplest way to do it is to install Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. Whenever you edit a post, you can scroll down to the plugin to add the most important tags in appropriate sections:

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11. Embed sharing buttons on your website’s images

This change takes under a minute to do, but it will earn you extra shares from all your content on a regular basis.

One of the problems with your readers sharing your content on Facebook, or other major networks, is that they just post the link.

You can fix it from showing up incorrectly by creating the tags I just showed you above.

However, there’s one other situation that needs fixing:

Some users just want to share photos.

All major social networks are visual. Pictures get the most attention from users. In turn, most users tend to look for good pictures to share to get likes, comments, and re-shares.

When they find a good picture on a site, most have to save a copy, then go to the social network, login, and upload the picture…it’s a pain.

And as you might know, people are lazy.

On top of that, they often mess up the link or description.

You can make it really easy to share pictures from your site on Facebook by using the SumoMe image sharer plugin.

It adds a sharing button to every picture on your site for whatever social network(s) you choose:

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Now visitors just need to click the Facebook button, and it will open the image ready to be shared on Facebook with everything filled in correctly.

12. Add share buttons to email broadcasts

The final tactic you can use to get more shares and likes is to ask your email subscribers for them.

These are the people who like your content the most and who usually are going to be the most willing to help you spread it.

Ideally, you want to have a link that says something like:

Click here to share this post on Facebook

To do this, create whatever anchor text you’d like, but set the address to:

http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u={YOUR URL HERE}

For example, the Quick Sprout home page would be:

https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A//quicksprout.com

It’s pretty easy to mess up, so I suggest you use this free share link generator. Just paste your URL in the Facebook field:

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And the tool will spit out a link to use.

When your subscribers click it, they’ll see something like this in a new tab:

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Again, if you have your meta tags configured, you can be certain that your posts will look good when shared.

Conclusion

Getting more social shares and likes on Facebook is important. It’s a major source of traffic for businesses in almost every niche.

I’ve outlined 12 different tactics that you can use to get more likes and shares.

Don’t try to use them all at once. It’s better to use a few at a time, observe your results, and optimize your strategy.

Over time, keep trying more until you’ve gone through all 12 tactics. By then, your typical likes and shares should more than double.

If you have any questions about getting the most out of Facebook, just leave them below in the comment section.


Source: Quick Sprout

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