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Social media is intended to be participatory. Don’t just stand on your soapbox and shout into the ether – get comments and likes by creating Facebook posts your followers will feel compelled to share with their friends. See my tips below on how to make this happen.

AAMA Scholarship Program Facebook Page PostVoice: Be casual. Your professional audience is not the same one seeing your personal posts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sound like a person. You should! You have a distinct voice, so let it show. Posts that sound too technical or too formal will get glossed over. Bonus Tip:  Grammar matters. Don’t let incorrect grammar or punctuation distract followers from the content of your message.

Length: Keep your communications short and simple. Your followers’ news feed is not the platform for your company’s latest shareholder report. It’s a place to share brief, interesting bits of information with personality and color.

Show, Don’t Tell: When possible, use a photo or other graphic to accompany your posts. Studies have shown that photo posts engage audiences 39 percent more than posts with links, videos or text only. Brainstorm how your company can use a single image with two to three sentences to tell a compelling narrative.

Pose a Question: Asking your followers for an opinion will get response, but some of it may not be what you want to hear. Ask a simple question and keep it light. Avoid hot-button issues, such as religion or politics. Bonus Tip: If you have any concerns that your audience may find what you’re about to post offensive or alienating in some way, re-think how important it is to contribute. These is a nebulous area, since everyone is different and some reactions are just going to be out of the blue, but try to view your content through as many lenses as you can before clicking “Post.”

Timeliness: If something new is happening in your company or industry, take the time to post about it. This will eventually train your audience to check your page for updates in the future…

Frequency: …But only if you are consistent. Building a base takes time, but it also takes training and discipline on your part. Set reminders for yourself to post. Once you create a habit, you’ll instinctively know to post news as you see it for your followers.

Plan Ahead: Some make the mistake of not posting all week and then posting five things in an hour. This type of overload risks annoying your followers. Resist the temptation to news dump all at once and instead, schedule those extra posts so they are automatically added at a later date. HootSuite is an excellent tool for this practice.

If possible, coordinate a contest with a small prize. It can be something as simple as asking followers to be the first commenter to correctly answer a trivia question about your organization, and the prize can be as cost-effective as mailing that commenter a piece of SWAG from your company’s stock room. Just make sure you take the conversation offline when getting your winner’s contact information, via a direct message rather than a public comment. Bonus Tip: If applicable, asking for user-submitted content, like a photo or project profile, for a contest can generate a lot of participation and discussion.

Shares Encouraged: Occasionally remind followers to share your posts by clicking “Share,” located to the lower left of all Facebook posts. This gets your content onto the news feeds of your followers, widening the net of your online reach and possibly garnering a few more page followers. Don’t remind followers too often, however – no one likes to be told to do something over and over, and the social media site might even flag you if it suspects you’re spamming your followers.

Stay Positive: These probably goes without saying, but never use your professional page to say anything negative about another company or individual. The consequences and fall-out of doing so are not worth blowing off steam. Always maintain a professional voice, and if someone baits you in the comments section, take the conversation offline to private message should the situation call for it.

AAMA Scholarship Program Facebook Page HeaderWhile you’re exploring your options on Facebook, be sure to follow the AAMA Scholarship Program page. There are two components of the program. The AAMA Scholarship Program offers a $2,000 award to children of AAMA member company employees, and the Partner Program allows member companies to offer a scholarship program to their employees with minimal administrative cost. Like the page for future updates, including the winners who will be announced at our Summer Conference.