When research analysts at Facebook and social ad-management software provider Buddy Media studied the Facebook posts — as well as the comments and likes spurred by those posts — of 200 large-brand clients over a two-week period, certain patterns and trends emerged. The results, compiled in a just-released report, show simple strategy tactics that brands can try to increase fan engagement with posts. Among metrics they looked at were comments, likes, and engagement rates.
Among the findings:
- Posts containing 80 or fewer characters had 27 percent higher engagement rates than posts longer than 80 characters.
- Yet, only 19 percent of all posts analyzed were this short in length.
- Brands that posted (or scheduled posts) outside of business hours showed engagement rates 20 percent higher than those that posted only during business hours.
- Yet, about 60 percent of posts went live between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET.
- In general, across all industries, engagement rates were 18 percent higher on Thursdays and Fridays compared with other days of the week.
- in general, engagement rates fell 3.5 percent below average for posts Monday through Wednesday and 18 percent below average on Saturdays.
- Fans are more likely to engage with “events” and “winning” than with “contests” and “promotions.”
- Posts that end with a question result in a 15 percent higher engagement rate than posts that do not end in a question.
- Avoid the question why and instead go with where, when, and would and should, which were shown to result in higher engagement.
Among surprising findings, posts that included full URLs had engagement rates three times higher than posts that contained shortened URLs (such as you would make on TinyURL). This may be due to the clues full-length URLs tend to give, such as the brand that created the link and keywords as to what the link is about, as well as showing that the link is legit. As a workaround, Buddy suggests using brand-specific URL shorteners, which allow for some brand indicators.
Of note, engagement peaks were found to vary by industry. For example, engagement peaked on Thursdays for the fashion industry, but on Wednesdays and Thursdays for business and finance, and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays for food and beverage. (Remember, though, that different reports by other groups post different findings, and this is not hard science. Recall this recent report that found that the highest average click-through occurred between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.)
As for getting more likes, be direct and ask fans to like content outright, or pose a specific question and ask for a response. “Ask fans to like, comment, or tell you something,” suggests the report. “Fans follow instructions well, the simpler the better.”
Would it be worth it to you to give up space for a long URL at the expense of words in a post, especially considering posts of 80 or fewer characters attracted the most engagement (considering the typical URL length, that’s not a lot of extra bandwidth for copywriting), or do you think many of these tips are give-and-take, especially since different reports by different groups often post contrasting findings.
Readers: Comment on my post … now … or else. (I am doing a little field research. How did that instruction work? Did it make you want to post?)
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.