Put a Pause on Facebook Photos

Stop posting Facebook photos?

At least, stop using them on every post. I recommend a few occasions, as an experiment. Why, you might ask? Haven’t we heard time and again that pictures increase Facebook engagement? Haven’t we also been told from Facebook central that Pages using text-only posts are going to start losing exposure on the News Feed? If so, why in the world should you stop using pictures on Facebook?

While it is true that Facebook photos increase engagement and get 104% more likes for the average page, I’ve seen something interesting happening with pages that use text-only posts. Let’s take a look at the sample below, using a picture:

FB Post With Pic

Forgive me, but I’ve blacked-out some of the details. Above, we see decent engagement with the post—34 people liked it and it had one comment. Also note the lower left-hand corner—the number of people who saw the post. To clarify, people “see” your post when it appears on their News Feed. There are many variables that go into whether or not a post is put onto someone’s News Feed (a mind-boggling amount), but the people who see your post simply translates to the potential number of eyes that view your post.

Let’s take a look at a text-only post:

FB Post Without Pic

This is the same Page and roughly the same time period. This little experiment wasn’t done once either. A colleague and I did this repeatedly for the span of a few weeks. The same results happened regularly: text-only posts were seen by more people…sometimes two or three times as many. Also, note that far more people liked the post with the photo than they did the text-only one. Yet, that post still reached twice as many eyeballs.

So my little experiment has proved—at least until Facebook changes the rules—that text-only posts are getting put in to more News Feeds than photo posts. But what’s the take-away? You need to be experimenting, because there’s more than one way to reach potential customers. A few other thoughts, while I have your attention:

Reach Doesn’t Equal Engagement: My text-only posts are just getting my brand on more News Feeds. It doesn’t mean that everyone is reading my content or absorbing my message. Personally, I think more eyes means more potential followers and customers, but others would argue measured analytics with me on that. But if you’re trying to get engagement with fans, this isn’t the way to go.

This Doesn’t Include Links: I never tracked posts that included links to other sites or pages. For all I know, link-heavy posts do twice as well as text-only posts. I also haven’t formally started measuring what sharing content from other pages can do for my engagement. That will be my next experiment. This leads to my next point…

Vary It Up: Do not get comfortable with photo, text-only or any other type of posts. Routine leads to stagnation, and that means lowered exposure in this business. Constantly try new things to expand your brand. Marketing is all about finding the next way to expand your reach to new customers in exciting, creative ways.

Have you ever tried an experiment like this with your brand? How did it go? What did you learn? I would like to hear some of your stories on Twitter, or you can comment below.