Recently, a client asked me this:
I am wondering if you could provide me with any research or a decent argument as to why one would not post a very long article on our Facebook page. We are trying to convince [our president], who continues to provide us with very lengthy articles to post, and, in some cases, expects readers to read all the way down to the bottom and then vote?
As you might expect, there’s no single “right answer” to the question of how long should Facebook posts be. Sometimes long posts work very well on Facebook (as measured by engagement and reach) and other times shorter ones work best.
In general, though, she’s right — shorter Facebook posts tend to get more interaction. This chart will show the rough correlation (note: this data is about a year old):
HOWEVER, it should be noted that for brands whose fans are looking for in-depth information, longer Facebook post lengths work much better.
Take Mari Smith’s page, for example. Have a look at this post. Be sure to click the small ‘See More’ link to see how long her post actually is. Her audience is looking for detailed information, and she’s said that she gets more reach and engagement when she posts longer lengths.
The client who asked me this question is a financial expert and popular radio host. I would suspect his audience’s preferences would be similar to Mari’s.
That said, if he has a call-to-action (voting in a poll, in your example), that CTA needs to be above the mark where Facebook puts the “See More.”
Facebook Post Length: Think Format, Not Characters
I have found the best results using this format:
- Short Summary
- Eye-catcher (check mark, in this case)
- Call-to-action in ALL CAPS
- Remainder of copy
Here’s an example:
Notice how it’s a very strong opening (what’s in it for ME?), then an eye-catching call to get people to click (this could be a call to vote, a call to visit the web site, or anything), followed by the remainder of the next. I find that check mark and then capital letters converts VERY well. You can get the check mark and other special eye-catching characters at http://fsymbols.com
At the 400 character mark, Facebook will put the rest of the post under the “See More” link.
Timing of the post is also very important. Unlike other pages on Facebook, most of our client’s page’s audience is online between 8am and noon, Pacific, so that would be a good area to target. (You can find this out for your page free at EdgerankChecker.com.
Really, the only way to know for sure is to test. Do a couple like I’ve done above, then use Facebook’s Insights to measure how well they did compared to the old way of doing it.
What Facebook post lengths have you found to be the best for your page?