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Use Data to Get Results from Facebook [Hint: #6 will surprise you]

One of the many items I mentioned as major “a-ha” we learned in 2015 was the importance of Facebook as a business to business marketing platform.

If you don’t remember that blog post, you can click here to go read it.

Recently, one of the sites I follow, Buzzsumo wrote an interesting post on Facebook.  Seems they analyzed 1 billion posts (yes, you read that right) to draw some very interesting conclusions as to what works to spawn audience engagement and what doesn’t.

I wanted to share those tidbits with you, but also add my commentary to it to help you better understand WHY their research shows what it does.

You won’t believe what we have learned.

#1: Post formats that get the most engagements are questions and images.

I really don’t think most marketers understand the importance of engagement in Facebook.  They also don’t realize all of those people who like your page don’t see your post in their timeline every time you post.  The amount of times your post is displayed is based on the amount of engagement.  Facebook’s algorithm shows people the posts that are more engaging.  So asking questions causes people to respond and interact with your post – thus making them more engaging.

#2: Short form posts (less than 50 characters) get the most interaction.

Goes to show you that you don’t have to write a novel to get your point across.  As a matter of fact, people prefer short posts so they can “graze” on Facebook.  That’s also why images work so well.  Keep your posts simple.

#3: Videos directly embedded get over 6 times the engagement of embedded YouTube videos.

Have you ever noticed a video in your Facebook timeline that instantly begins to play when you pass by it? That’s a video that has been directly embedded into Facebook.  By automatically starting the video, you quickly have the chance to capture the attention of the viewer.  Makes sense, right?  So even though it may be double the work to put it in two places, make sure you upload your marketing videos directly into Facebook.

#4 Posts without hashtags get more interaction than posts with hashtags.

This didn’t surprise me.  Honestly, people don’t use hashtags in Facebook.  When a business uses hashtags in their posts, it’s obvious to me they are using a tool like Hootsuite to “mass post” to all social media channels at once – and that just does not work.  Each social media tool works differently and therefore, has different audience expectations.  Spend the extra time and write each post specifically for the tool you plan to publish it in.  You will get better results.

#5 Publish your posts between 10pm and Midnight of your audience’s local time

Now this one immediately seems counter intuitive, but if you understand how Facebook shows posts in users’ feeds, it makes all the sense in the world.  Facebook is showing you what they think you would want most to see.  It uses your previous interactions (and the interactions of others) to dictate that.  When there are a lot of posts in a short amount of time, ones that would be well received are competing with ones that are REALLY well received.  Posting during a “non-competitive” time gives you an advantage to gain some interactions, so that in the morning when your audience checks their Facebook, your post is more popular.  Make sense?  This also applies to posting on Sunday – more interactions because of less competition!

#6 Facebook is driving more web traffic than Google.

So you have been investing in search engine optimization?  Well, this will knock your socks off.  Seems that Facebook has overtaken Google in the “content discovery war.” [ image below courtesy of Buzzsumo ]

content war chart

What this means is that more people are finding new content through Facebook than through Google.  This completely changes the game for marketing agencies and everyday businesses.  Businesses need to build and invest in Facebook strategies much like they have in the past with SEO strategies.  (I should write a post solely on this point alone.)

As I said at the end of last year, Facebook is creating a whole new ballgame.  If you are not leveraging it, you should be.  Follow the guidelines above to get results from Facebook efforts.

We would love to hear what’s working for you!  Just add your comments below.

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