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Write better Facebook Status Updates with these 5 Templates

March 05, 2013 - 07:43:45 by
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Facebook thumbs upThings are constantly changing on Facebook.

One month it’s photos that get the best reach & engagement. The next month it’s links. The next month it’s photos with links in the caption!

It’s hard to keep up sometimes.

But one post type that seems to always do well on Facebook is status updates.

Yes, status updates.

The ones with just words.

It’s crazy, but Fans seem to respond well to plain ole’ words.

Maybe it’s the simplicity. Maybe it’s the brevity. Maybe it’s the lack of distraction from images or links.

Fans love status updates

Who knows?

But from what I’ve seen over the last couple years, well-written status updates do consistently well in the News Feed.

And that’s why I wrote this blogpost.

As Chief Customer Pain Killer (CPK) of Post Planner, I’ve seen a lot of great status updates posted via our app.

And I’ve definitely written a couple bibles worth of statuses for our Status Ideas Engine.

Now I’d like to share what I’ve learned and give you a few easy templates for writing creative, unpredictable & engaging status updates.

Template 1:
This, this or this?

I’ve found that the best way to ask a poll type question on Facebook is to just list the items and add a question mark at the end.

You can vary the number of items between 2 and 4. But I wouldn’t use more than 4. Less is more here.

Remember: the key to high engagement is eliciting easy, knee-jerk reactions. You want your fans to write the first thing that comes to mind – and not to have think too much.

Here are some examples I’ve seen do well in the News Feed:

  • Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest?
  • Mac or PC?
  • London, New York or Paris?
  • Shakespeare or Spielberg?
  • Latte, cappuccino or americano?

This, this or this?

Template 2:
The first / best / worst … I ever … was ______.

Fans love to give their opinions! Just look at the success of Yelp & other review sites.

This template taps into your fans’ urge to opine on the bests & worsts – the funnest things to opine on!

The fill-in-the-blank format puts an answer into the mind of the fan much faster & with less friction than asking “What’s the…”

Here are some examples I’ve seen do well in the News Feed:

  • The first car I ever owned was a ______ from the year ____.
  • The best show on TV right now is ______.
  • The first rule of Facebook is ______.
  • The hardest thing in life to give up is ______.
  • The happiest day of my life was the day I ______.

Template 3:
If I could snap my fingers and … I would ______.

We all love to dream big & imagine what-ifs.

This template taps into your fans’ urge to imagine themselves as something bigger or better! It also makes fans want to click “See more” to see what other fans are saying.

Here are some examples I’ve seen do well in the News Feed:

  • If I could snap my fingers and speak any language fluently, I’d speak ______.
  • If I could snap my fingers and be the CEO of any company, I’d be CEO of ______.
  • If I could snap my fingers and be a genius at any subject, I’d be a genius at ______.
  • If I could snap my fingers and be any person in history, I’d be ______.
  • If I could snap my fingers and be at any beach in the world, I’d be at ______.

If I could snap my fingers...

Template 4:
By a show of LIKES, how many of you … ?

This template is going for likes, not comments.

You should ask about something that’s common enough to get a response, but not so bland as to be uninteresting.

Here are some examples I’ve seen do well in the News Feed:

  • By a show of LIKES, how many of you are reading this on your phone?
  • By a show of LIKES, how many of you consider your pet your next of kin?
  • By a show of LIKES, how many of you need to spend less time on Facebook?
  • By a show of LIKES, how many of you have a pulse?
  • By a show of LIKES, how many of you are slurping coffee right now?

Template 5:
If I had to give up … or … I would give up ______.

This is another “imagine if” question — but combined with declaring a preference – which we all love to do

You should choose something contentious enough to be interesting, yet simple enough to get a knee-jerk reaction.

Here are some examples I’ve seen do well in the News Feed (including one I just posted):

  • If I had to give up Facebook or Google, I would give up ________.
  • If I had to give up chocolate or wine, I would give up ________.
  • If I had to give up Christmas or my birthday, I would give up ________.
  • If I had to give up breakfast, lunch or dinner, I would give up ________.
  • If I had to give up my passport or my driver’s license, I would give up ________.

So there you have it

Use these 5 templates by plugging in subjects that are relavent to your fans.

But one disclaimer…

As with any post type — be it photos, links, photos with links in the caption, or videos — you should not rely solely on text-only status updates as your only News Feed tactic.

Mix it up, yo!

I always tell our users to post a nice mix of engaging status updates (as in the templates above), awesome photos, and links to articles that your fans will find valuable.

And if you have original video content, I’d add that to the mix as well.

What do you think? Do you have status updates that have worked well? Could they be turned into templates?

If so, please add them or links to them in the comments below.

About the Author:

Josh is Founder & CPK (Customer Pain Killer) at Post Planner. His specialties include troublemaking, jedi mind tricks, simplicity mongering, catching extremely quick desert lizards, googling things, crushing the boxes people think outside of, and degrading energy. Connect with him on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

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