True confession: I’m way more popular on Facebook than I am in actual existence. Sorry, readers, but as a freelance writer, my best shot at an LOL in real life is asking my Starbucks SBUX +1.44% barista for a double grande, sugar-free, non-fat, half-caf, no foam, extra caramel, two-pump hazelnut macchiato with Sugar in the Raw under a dome lid and a venti straw. But on Facebook, it’s a whole other story. All I need to do is update my profile picture and I’m good for 15 or 16 “likes.” A witty comment on the day’s events and I’ll get 20 or more comments. When I really hit it out of the FB ballpark, I can generate dozens of what I call (well, to myself anyway) SLCs — shares, likes and comments. To me, Facebook is a game and here’s how to play it for maximum return.
1. Watch The Clock
You may quibble but as I see it, Facebook is for weekends, Twitter is for weekdays and Instagram is for dinners out and vacation. If you’re posting on Facebook during the week, you’ll get the biggest reaction between 6 and 9 p.m. EST when people are home from work and web noodling. I also find that Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. is a good time. At that hour, people are desperate for M&Ms and a photo of your schnauzer looking “exactly like Roger Sterling from Mad Men.”
2. Post And Delete
If a post of mine isn’t drawing LSCs in the first half hour, I delete it. Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm is top secret but it’s clear that posts that get lots of quick likes skyrocket to the top of other people’s feeds. To appear popular, you want all your posts to be well-liked so better to kill one that’s ignored on the sooner side.
3. Ask Compelling Questions
Does anyone know why picture framing is so expensive? What’s the movie every dad should watch with his son? Who’s the greatest athlete of all time and why? People like feeling smart by weighing in with good answers. Questions are a quick way to rack up comment mileage.
4. Pace Your Posts
Don’t clog other people’s feeds. If I post too much — twice a day is my limit — I notice a downturn in LSCs. Space your posts so they’re coming every three or four days. That’s enough so people know you’re in the community but not so much that you’re annoying. Occasionally, I’ll go a couple weeks without posting. When I’m back — usually with a worthy photo or link — the Facebook love goes through the roof.
5. Pose With A Celebrity
It’s stupid but it’s true. Get a photo of yourself alongside George Clooney or even Pauly Shore and you’re good for a quick 50 likes. Same goes for you next to some famous location. You “holding up” the Eiffel Tower or kicking it on The Great Wall — that’s comment rocket fuel right there.
6. Juice Your Photos
I tend to sweeten photos (on Instagram, in iPhoto or with Facebook’s photo adjust options) before uploading to Facebook. That giant chili dog you’re about to eat will just look better (and get more LSCs) if you’ve blurred and antiqued it in all the right ways first.
7. Be Different
During major events (a big news story, sporting event or the season finale of Downton Abbey, let’s say) posts tend to sound alike. Don’t be just another nattering voice on my feed. Give me a link to a cool 70s video or a link to some new app that’s truly rocking your world or maybe a photo of your cat in a tiny bunny costume. Hmm. Then again, scratch that. We don’t need more stinking cats on Facebook.
8. LSC Other People’s Posts
If you like, share and comment on other people’s posts, you’ll get more LSC yourself. It’s a fact of life, on and off the ‘book. The more love you give, the more you get.