How to earn engagement in Social Media group posts

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This article is a bit out of context of my usual subject matters, but since I manage several Facebook groups (like this one) and I usually get lots of attraction when I post on other groups – I thought of sharing some of my insights. It may also help me personally since I wish to be part of a social media network which is providing better value.

Basically this article is about “How to make the Facebook algorithm like you” – it will fit with all other social media groups like LinkedIn and online forums, because in the end, the principles are the same.

Note that in social media, people will block or snooze you very fast if you don’t follow specific unwritten rules of behavior. Social media is behaving exactly like its name: it is social. Like in any other social system, it has an unwritten code of conduct that you need to follow in order to succeed in it.

So, what can you do to increase your social media outcomes and attract engagement from serious people?

Avoid  clichés

People tend to ignore, get angry and scroll down when they see over positive or extreme marketing sayings like “the best!” , “You are so awesome!”, “Become a millionaire in two minutes!” , “make money without work!” etc. Stick to facts, and to details.

Extract from a cartoon by Priestman Atkinson, from the Punch Almanack for 1885, mocking clichéd expressions in the popular literature of the time

Extract from a cartoon by Priestman Atkinson, from the Punch Almanack for 1885, mocking clichéd expressions in the popular literature of the time

Avoid short posts – give details – tell your story

Many social media posts are of a short sentence compiled by a lazy person. It may work for you when you post to your family and friends, that know you and care about you, but most of the social media groups are complete strangers to one another.  If you want people to take you seriously, you need to focus them on whom you are, and what do you want. It is like an elevator pitch: you need to be detailed enough to create interest, and short enough not to get people bored.

Avoid too long posts

Some people do the opposite – they post posts of three pages. No one would read your three pages or watch a 30 min video. You need to be focused, short, conclusive.

Help others

If you think that Facebook algorithm will promote someone that just entered a group, posted a random post and un-followed the group – then you are wrong. You must contribute to the group before the algorithm will expose you to big chunks of members. You need to gain reputation by commenting on others’ posts in a way that they would appreciate (i.e. by their likes or followup comments)

Avoid posting too frequently

If you think that the more you post you would become more popular, well – exactly the opposite is the truth. People which didn’t post for long time would get priority over people which post very often. You need to find the balance between posting in low frequency to posting in high frequency. Think of a social meeting gathering, organized by someone. If you speak too much and don’t let others speak, the organizer will shut you down. That is what happening when you post too often! Another thing that may happen when you post too often – people may snooze you (=ask Facebook not to see your posts for a certain time) or unfollow you completely.

Social media is not a closed club

One thing to remember is, that Social Media Group is not a private club. Think about it like a big concert hall full of people, which most of them you don’t know and they do not know you. If you want to go on stage and speak – you shouldn’t speak in codes or about things that only you and you close friends understand. You should speak like someone which never met you is now listening to you (even if lots of your friends are on that group). You need to present yourself, give a preface, give details of what you ask or want, and politely give ways to communicate with you. In short, don’t try to be a smart ass.

Avoid negative comments or personal attacks

The best way to deal with negative comments, is to ignore them. Just block the person, and forget about it. Entering a war of negative comments and personal accusations will work against you – from two reasons. First, the internet never forgets as it is being crawled and harvested 24/7. Second, people will see how your react and it will act bad for you in regard to how many people continue to follow you.

Avoid “blank” links

Even that social media is fetching the description and a thumb image of your link (“meta tags”), avoid posting a link without a text preface of why you post it, and what do you expect from people. The way social media is structured, people know that a blank link is a blank link. Most people will be very suspicious about clicking a link even if it is to your blog, if you didn’t add an explanation or a preface. So take your time and summarize some facts from your link, and explain people why you think they should follow it.

Avoid posting the same thing in many groups

You got an advert and you do “cut and paste” right – to save time? Well it does not work. If you repeat the same post on different groups / pages, Social Media algorithm will actually present you to less users  and not to more users. Change the texts, you may even want to use a different URL to the same blog page (it can be done by adding GET variables to the URL format) – one thing is sure – do not repeat yourself. If you want to repeat the same post, do it after some time passed.

Respect people by acknowledging their effort

Two days ago I posted on one of the New Zealand groups, and people tried to help. About 3 or 4 people tagged a person which made contact with me. I commented on each of the comments (not just on the first one), acknowledging their help. On the other hand, I see lots of people posting and then ignoring some of the help that they received. This is wrong – make sure you always acknowledge people that helped you – there are two reasons for that: first, the algorithm knows that you answered and it knows if they read your comment or not (even if they haven’t liked it or commented again). And secondly – people remember. The starting point of every social media group member is zero – ignoring people won’t give you any credit points. But if you respect others, you will get more and more followers and credit points, which will end up in your posts earning good engagement.

I hope I helped


Respect the time other people invested in helping you by acknowledging their help



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