Facebook is more than a social media platform. We spend 40 minutes a day looking at it. We get our news, community insights and entertainment from it. 1.7 billion people and 50 million small businesses use it, with a half million people signing up every day. Facebook is here to stay.

It’s the most powerful media tool marketers have ever had access to but, with so many fingers in the cookie jar, it’s getting harder to grab a crumb. Every time your ideal customer opens her Facebook, she will see 10-20% of the posts that her friends and liked pages offer her.

How to get seen is the science of Facebook posting. I’ve done my best to condense as many tips as I can into this article.

Rules of Thumb:

Have something to say. That sounds obvious, but far too many businesses post when they really shouldn’t. If you don’t have something engaging to say, don’t say anything at all.

Be consistent. Try to post daily as a business. Take the time to find out when the bulk of your audience is online and post at the same time every day, day after day. Use a scheduling tool likeCoSchedule or Buffer to keep it consistent.

Talk to them like a friend. Drop the corporate mumbo-jumbo and write each post as if you’re sitting across a cafe table with your fan having a cup of coffee. Be authentic and let your personality shine through.

When to Post:

The best time to post is between 1 and 4 pm. People are either getting lunch-drunk at work or have not started their afternoon activities, yet. It’s siesta time, and the mind wanders.

For people rolling out of bed, early posts (6-8am) work well as long as you keep them quick, as your fan is probably late for work. Sundays are the exception. I post my blogs every Sunday at 9am, just in time for my peeps to have poured a coffee and settled in, and they tend to elicit strong engagement.

Thursday and Friday see 18% more post engagements than other days. It makes sense: it’s TGIF and our minds are starting to check out of work. Saturday sees the lowest engagement with people on the go trying to catch up with their hectic lives.

Best Types of Post:

Photos or Links: Facebook rewards those who put in the effort. Publishing a text-only post on Facebook is like dropping a brick into the ocean and expecting it to float. Try to give your pic a unique slant that will slow people down to look at it. If possible, link your post back to your website.

Videos: Facebook prizes videos above all other post types. Don’t overthink it and don’t spend a lot of money. Set up the props you need for a “tip” that your fan-base will love. Give someone your smartphone and make sure it’s less than 45 seconds (so you can post it to Instagram as well). You can post it directly from your phone.

Shares: You don’t have to make every post yourself. Once in a while, share something funny or inspiring (and appropriate to your audience) from the wider Facebook world. Before you do, click on its page and look at the number of likes, comments and shares it has received relative to the page’s fan base. That will give you a vague idea of how successful it will be for you.

Candids: Small businesses exist because their customers care about them on a level deeper than price. Capture moments of excitement, from new product arrivals to a customer bringing in an exotic pet, and share them with your peeps. Every post needs a picture, but not every picture needs to be professional quality.

Quick Tips: Don’t ramble on. Shorter posts (under 200 characters, or about the length of a tweet), get read more often. That’s plenty of space for a catchy teaser for your blog post or a hook for your video.

Make it personal. Facebook is your chance to humanize your business. Don’t waste it by making every post corporate and using typical, passive-voice business speak (“Here at Craft we strive to…”) that drives everyone crazy. Keep it real. Have some fun.

Stop talking about yourself! People want to hear about themselves. Pose questions, ask for opinions, and make your audience a part of the process.

Be as local as you can. If you’re an Edmonton based business, talk about Edmonton. People love to see their lives reflected in their media. Steer clear of politics, though.

Forcing Engagement: A Case Study

Imagine you own “Movie-Lovin”, a rating site akin to Rotten Tomatoes. Your revenue comes from people going to your site to see how many popcorn kernels the latest X-Men movie got and checking out paid ads in the process.

What will happen if you post that X-Men 7 got “4 Kernels of Popcorn out of 5.” People will see it as they scroll down, probably without even stopping. They’ll get what they want from you, and Facebook won’t even think they engaged. You lose.

But, if you post movie stills or clips and force people to click to your site to see the rating, you’ve done 2 things. You’ve forced them to engage with your post, thus clicking and improving the odds that they will see you again, and you’ve driven them to your site. The latter is vital, because you’re getting them from a platform you don’t own to a platform you do. Once on your site, it’s much easier to convert them into subscribers.