Facebook Posts: Why Less is More

Nickee Leon Huld

The headline above is actually an exercise in conciseness—we purposely kept it to a little less than 40 characters. Read on to find out why.

While your content may be hitting all the right keywords and doing SEO wonders for your website, your Facebook presence is a completely different animal.

Research shows that Facebook post length can be prime indicator of engagement
Research shows that Facebook post length can be prime indicator of engagement.

When posting on Facebook, it might be tempting to load up on information—and with a 63,206-character limit at your disposal (which is equivalent to about 10,000 words), you can definitely go gung-ho with your message.

However, doing so might actually hurt your Facebook presence. When it comes to posts, there is some truth to the adage, “less is more.”

Fewer characters, more engagement

According to a 2011 statistical review conducted by Buddy Media, “the longer the post length, the less engaging fans find it.”

The study revealed that in general, Facebook posts with 80 characters or less receive a 27 percent higher engagement rate. Surprisingly, these only accounted for 19 percent of all posts.

A section of the same statistical review made specifically for the retail industry showed that Facebook posts with less than 80 characters get 66 percent more engagement as compared to lengthier ones.

The clincher: Facebook posts with 40 characters or less generated the highest engagement at 86 percent. However, they only accounted for 5 percent of all retail brand wall posts.

By engagement, we mean comment rate, like rate, or a combination of both.

More recently, NewsWhip did its own study of the most engaging posts from five of the biggest Facebook publishers in June 2016 and echoed the same advice: “When writing on Facebook, it’s important to be succinct.”

But wouldn’t 40 characters be too short to relay a complete message? They can only accommodate up to 20 words—the key is to choose your words wisely.

One of the more popular means to achieve this character limit is to make use of a key quote from the site that you are sharing.

A word of advice: make sure your post doesn’t duplicate the headline of the site that you are sharing.

The best post approaches and formats

Get the feel of what grabs your target audience’s attention by experimenting with different approaches—whether an unforgettable quote, a funny quip or an informative piece of trivia.

If you’re in the retail business, Buddy Media recommends using the following post strategies:

  • Question-format posts – Strike up a conversation with your customers by asking questions. While question-format posts receive lower user engagement overall, they do generate more than twice as much comments compared to non-question ones.
  • Fill-in-the-blank posts – Do not underestimate the power of a fill-in-the-blank post. According to Buddy Media, this type of post generates comment rates that are 9 times higher than any other post strategy.
  • Offer-related posts – Use offer-related keywords to attract user engagement. Based on statistics, offers with “$ OFF” get a 55 percent higher engagement rate while those with “COUPON” garnered a 39 percent engagement rate. When it comes to coupon offers, Buddy Media advises “not to make the customers do the math.” According to data, even if the “$ OFF” value is less than $10, it still generated 17 percent higher engagement compared to “% OFF.” Therefore, it would be wiser to use “$ OFF” instead of “% OFF.”
  • Status-only or single photo attachment posts – Multiple photos, videos, and links may seem more interesting and attention-grabbing, but data shows that the simplest posts (i.e., single photo attachment or status-only) reap the most engagement. Status-only (or words-only) posts garnered 94 percent higher-than-average engagement. When using a single photo attachment, make sure that the image is relevant to the product or service that you are selling. According to surveys, posting anything irrelevant will only hurt your Facebook presence with un-likes or un-follows.

Utilize the best Facebook post strategy or approach which suits your brand, product, or service. But also remember to play it up—experiment with different formats on a day-to-day so that your strategy will not get stale.

Here’s another useful statistic to keep in mind: Based on a study made by the Static Brain Research Institute, the average human attention span has dropped by 33 percent since 2000—it has been reduced to 8.25 seconds in 2015.

This makes humans worse than goldfish which have an attention span of 9 seconds! Keep your customers engaged by sustaining their interest through various approaches.

Make every Facebook post count for your business—and remember to use our word and character counter to help keep it short!