Three Tips to Increase Sharing on Facebook

Recent research conducted by PR Newswire and Crowd Factoryfound that Twitter is more effective than Facebook for sharing press releases. In many ways, that’s because Facebook isn’t really designed for this purpose.

“I’m not sure Facebook is often the ideal platform for sharing press releases,” Attention founder and partner Curtis Hougland told us during a phone conversation. It’s a sentiment shared by others we’ve spoken to.

Nevertheless, there are some ways that you can maximize Facebook ‘s ability to share your news.

-Use multimedia content. “Multimedia is something that people see in their news feed,” Rob Longert, senior digital media strategist for M Booth told us. (M Booth and Beyond recently collaborated on a study called “The Science of Sharing.”) Multimedia content should “extend what the press release is trying to say,” Hougland added.

To that end, Hougland reminds us that Facebook is a separate channel and not just “an extension of the website, a way to distribute a press release rather than an investment in unique content.” Because of that, he says, Facebook is a challenge, requiring a “different offer” and time to create that. In other words, just like all things in PR, plan accordingly.

-Include a strong call to action. “It can’t be passive distribution of the press release,” Hougland said. “It has to be something you’re asking of the recipient. You have to have a strong call to action.”

The press release shouldn’t necessarily even be the main purpose of the post. According to Longert, the point is to increase interaction, which can be accomplished by creating an event and linking to the press release through that, or posting a photo of a new product  and then asking for comments and feedback with news about the product included. “We know that to drive interaction, we want to drive comments, shares, [and] likes,” he says. Longert agrees that a call to action does that.

-Use trial and error. Collect stats from Facebook Insights and other tools. Keep track of what has worked and what hasn’t. Once you know what works, it’ll shape your campaigns going forward. “The test and learn approach is one we take with clients, but part of that is seeing what’s worked and using those metrics to predict what will work in the future. A calculated risk has to have research to back it up,” Longert said.

With the focus on getting content shared, Facebook’s algorithm becomes an important factor.

“You need to get people sharing, commenting and liking, because engagement is a key factor in EdgeRank, the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine which content should have more prominence in the NewsFeed,” our own Joe Ciarallo, also VP of comms at Buddy Media, told us via email.

As an example, research conducted at Buddy Media found that, in November, the word “coupon” became a trigger for sharing, more so than the words “deal,” “sale,” or “offer.”

Our colleagues at AllFacebook have also taken a closer look throughout the year at ways that publicists can maximize the effectiveness of Facebook. Here are eight tips (including post on Thursday), another six tips for spreading the message (including keep “Attention, Interest, Desire, Action” in mind), and info about how to create a media room on Facebook. PitchEngine also offers that service. You can view an example here. And you can get more info about the “Social Media Release” offering from both PitchEngine and Cision here.