When creating content for Facebook marketing, brands should prioritize pictures and short updates to increase engagement with followers.

Facebook followers have embraced the hashtag, and many brands have followed suit. According to data recently released by Simply Measured, a full 20 percent of brands were using the hashtag at the end of June 2013. These symbols organize social media content and help brands spot trending topics, but there’s not yet evidence proving they boost engagement. Rather, the study found brands that post pictures and keep updates short and sweet see stronger performance metrics.

Brands will see more engagement when they share social content featuring photos.

Data compiled by the source shows that photos are far and away the most effective type of social content for sparking engagement. Visual images inspired more interaction than video content, status updates, links and questions posted on the largest social media network, which explains why graphics account for nearly three-quarters of all branded content on the site.

The analysis also suggests that Facebook posts should resemble Twitter posts, hashtags aside. On both sites, it seems that shorter is better.

The sweet spot for Facebook post length is between 50 and 90 characters, or about the length of this sentence. Follower engagement drops off sharply if updates are shorter than 50 characters, while interaction remains strong for posts that are up to 200 characters in length (which is still longer than this one). However, there is a downward trend for branded content longer than that.

Learning how to maximize social media content is essential for marketing ROI. A brand that produces interesting, shareable updates on a regular basis can see dramatic results for its bottom lines. In a recent Brafton video, Executive Communications Associate Ted Karczewski explains that four in five customers are more likely to purchase products and services from companies after regularly interacting with their social media content online.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.