4 Sure-Fire Ways to Generate Engagement on Facebook

facebook-2First of a Two-Part Series on Facebook Posts

Do you ever struggle with your Facebook profile and page? Do you wonder why your status updates aren’t triggering the type of engagement on Facebook that you’d like to experience?

Let’s review one point before proceeding further. A Facebook profile is for people. A Facebook page is for products (books!), services, nonprofits, and businesses. I recommend that writers have a profile, which is a requirement to starting a Facebook page. Having a Facebook page will enable you to promote it, announce your readings, and inform your readers of upcoming workshops you’re giving. Technically, writers can’t promote their wares on their Facebook profiles.

I’ve always recommended that writers include captivating photos in their status updates as well as images that fit their niche. It seems to make sense that a picture of a beautiful scene would draw one’s eye, and once drawn, the Facebook friend or fan would then spend a few seconds liking, sharing and/or leaving a comment before moving on.

But lately I’ve seen posts that don’t include images perform well and so I’ve begun to experiment with them. The following examples of my posts are from my profile. In the second part of this series, I’ll examine the types of posts that perform best on Facebook pages.

This post included the image below and the following update: I just had to share this … can you see why?

woman with seahorse

I thought it was a lovely image with an interesting ambiguity: an angelic woman is floating through the air with a seahorse. It seemed mystical to me and I thought that my Facebook friends might leave a comment. They didn’t but the status update did garner 11 likes and four shares. It didn’t perform too badly in terms of engagement on Facebook that we can expect.

I kept the message on this next post short. I didn’t ask a question and my post lacks a call to action.

Picture #2 

Surprisingly, this image generated three comments and 12 likes. Honestly, I wasn’t certain what would happen and so those results pleased me. I chose this image because I loved the ingenious design of this library and I think others did as well.

Since I write about social media I thought I’d include this important update. In the past, my posts about social media haven’t performed well on my profile, though they do on my Facebook page.

picture #3

My experience proved to be right. This post generated one comment and one like, from the same person. Why? On our profiles, Facebook friends want to hear about the highlights of our lives, and not have to click a link that take them to a blog post. In my book, I compare Facebook to Nicholas Sparks because like his novels, Facebook profiles are all about sharing one’s drama, struggles, parties, promotions, and other personal items.

This is a stunning image, but look at how little engagement this status update triggered: just 3 likes. No comments and no shares. This is a clear indicating that great photos in and of themselves aren’t enough any more.

Picture #4

Images that convey a joke of some sort or that are funny do well on both Facebook profiles and pages. This image triggered 6 comments, 11 likes, and 2 shares.

Picture #5

One way to generate more engagement is to tag or identify people in your comments. That’s what I did in this post and it generated 3 comments.

Picture #6


I’ve discovered that the more personal I am in my status updates, the better the overall engagement on my profile. This is a personal status update that doesn’t include an image and it generated one like and 24 comments.

Picture #7


4 Sure-Fire Ways to Generate Engagement on Facebook

What did I learn from my experiment? I can draw the following four conclusions:

  • On your Facebook profile, personal information trumps beautiful images. Profiles are for friends and they want to hear about your life, your travails and your accomplishments. They also want to help so don’t forget to solicit their feedback.
  • Information about your specialty or niche will perform better on your Facebook page, not your profile. I’m a writer who specializes in social media. I love to post about books, libraries, social media marketing, and authors. However, those types of posts work better on my Facebook page where my fans expect me to write about social media and as writers themselves, appreciate quotes by writers. So keep professional interests on your Facebook page and keep personal information you’d like to share on your Facebook profile.
  • The image in No. 4 was beautiful, but it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t a picture that I’d taken on vacation or after a day at the beach. If that had been the case, more of my friends would have left comments. Images in and of themselves, despite the beauty they capture, won’t generated the engagement you’d like to have on your profile.
  • Facebook users love to laugh. Whenever I post an image that’s hilarious, whether it’s on my profile or my page, the engagement goes up. In the case of Image No. 5, there are six comments, 11 likes and 2 shares. Not bad. This is true for both your page and your profile; something truly hilarious that isn’t offensive may trump everything else, except for your profile when you ask people for their help.

socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, trainer,  and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Editor for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapterthe San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.