Insights to Facebook fan engagement based on statistics

For utilising Facebook as a platform to connect with consumers, you may hear general advices such as “post relevant stuff!” or “post statuses that ask questions!”. Of course, these pointers are great, but they don’t tell you specifically the how and what. In 2011, Buddy Media released statistics and research relating to Facebook. I’ll be interpreting the data that they have collected in my own way to help those of you who are stumped in trying to get your fans engaged and interacting. I’ve actuallyused these insights – and they work!

WHAT

Length

Why do you think people use Twitter and sometimes even prefer it over Facebook? Because it’s microblogging. Note – micro. People stumble upon information either deliberately (reading a marketing book for an exam) or randomly (“I’m bored – I’m going to browse my News Feed”) and it’s very unlikely that a person who’s not intentionally looking for something about the history of Australia would read a whole 800-word wall of text about its discovery and whatnot. Why? It takes up too much brain effort. Another possible reason is that the shorter a post is, the better isolation it receives in terms of positioning – similar to how ads tend to emphasise their product by utilising space  .

No, this isn’t an ad for Hush Puppies. It’s an ad for ABC Radio produced by TCO!

Content

Okay, so the “post statuses that ask questions!” is right. In my own theory, I believe customers tend to engage more with questions because it’s easier for them to come up with a comment! We need to place ourselves in the shoes of a very lazy fan who wants the least of efforts to gain optimal benefit (wow, that sounds really bad when you word it out). It’s easier to come up with something to type to “do you like ice-cream?” as compared to “Ice-cream.”. Non-questions are usually very broad while questions actually narrows down possible responses.

You know what’s even more awesome than questions?

“Out of Moove’s many flavours, my favourite is ______”. Even more simpler to answer! However, you also have to consider than if your fill-in-the-blanks are too complicated, people might just not be bothered doing it at all. I kind of did that mistake. A way to make sure you’re doing the right thing is to try answering the post yourself and personally measure how difficult or how much effort it requires to fill the blanks. For my example, I could easily say “Out of Moove’s many flavours, my favourite is chocolate” . Also, consider the number of words that might be used to answer it. DON’T take out the blank! I did this mistake too. My theory is that the blank helps the audience to visualise their answer in accordance to the reification part of Gestalt’s theory, which generally states that humans tend to generate whatever’s missing in an object to make it seem whole – yeah, we have some sort of automatic fill-in-the-blank system.

You see a spiky ball.. but wait – the ball isn’t even there! Very trippy.

Numbers

If you happen to want to tell about a discount or sale of sort, don’t have customers do the math – their brain needs a break! I haven’t really applied this yet because I haven’t found the right situation to do so. The research also says that words such as “sale” and “% off” receive the lowest engagement although they’re ironically the most popularly used. So, start typing “we’re taking $10 off for our winter sale!” rather than “our clothes will be 20% off for our winter sale!”. A theory I’ve come up with for this behaviour is because the audience see “% off” so much that they’ve tend to dismiss it sometimes, or maybe using “$ off” grabs just their attention since they thought it was the actual price!

Format

Yep, status-only scores high with just single photos right below it. I’ve been observing this for the last few years and it’s definitely true. It’s because statuses are simple and are text-only and easy to understand. The only reason I can think of as to why it’s higher than that of single photo in engagement is because photos are just, well, photos. They tell a story, but sometimes not something that can be commented about easily (though I think they’re ‘liked’ more easily). I think I need my own research! What do you think? Photos grab attention more easily, but why are they less engaging than statuses?

HOW

Frequency

Fii, my partner in media for TDV also was saying in one of our weekly meetings how a few of her friends were saying that we were updating way too much that it was annoying! Uh-oh! Back then, we updated 2-4 times everyday, no wonder! Quality over quantity! If you check out the big brand pages out there, they don’t post everyday. They at least have intervals of a few days in between their posts. If you post more than once everyday, you’ll be constantly appearing on your fans’ News Feed. It is actually good to the extent that fans will see that you’re active, but on the other hand it may also appear spammy. There’s also the possibility of your audience feeling hesitant to engage because they’ll think that they’re the ones who are going to seem spammy if they’ve already interacted in with on of your previous posts and do it again (I personally feel that way sometimes).

Timing

Timing of your post is very important – just as important as how you need to roster more staff for the peak hours of a restaurant! So Wednesday is the best day to post your stuff and updates. Why? Well maybe it’s because of the fact that it’s in the middle of the week that’s a day after hectic Monday and two more days towards the weekends. The busiest days are over, but it’s not just quite the time to spend the night outside and come back next morn, so maybe people just decide to log on to Facebook.

For the specific times..

I’ve tried posting at 7 AM and it does work sometimes, but 8 PM seems more viable. It slightly depends on your audience demographics too, but applies to the general public. A good way to confirm the ideal time to post is by observing your Facebook chat list if you’re part of your brand’s demographic. I’ve done this for the past few days and noticed that as compared to the average of around 60 people online at 6 PM, about 90 of my friends are online by 8 PM. DON’T post on Fridays! I tried recently because I was curious, and I confirmed that it really is a bad day to post.

Conclusion

Remember that whatever you post, ensure it’s relevancy and that it’s in-line with your brand’s personality and essence. Here’s a summary of everything in this post:

What:

  • Post statuses (no links whatsoever)
  • That asks a question
  • OR even better, fill-in-the-blanks!
  • That are less than 80 characters long (less than 40 is even better!). Here’s a website I use to help me do this: Lettercounter.
  • And if you’re going to promote a sale of some sort, use “$ off” rather than “% off”

How:

  • Post once (or twice if really needed) a day
  • From once to four times per week
  • On most ideally Wednesdays but other days such as Sundays also work, although you might have to do it away from your office if it’s actually your job. Other days are fine, just not Fridays.
  • At times between 8 PM and 7 AM (I personally recommend between 8 PM and 10 PM). Do however be reminded that slight changes might need to be made to cater to your brand’s demographics. Don’t forget to use your Facebook messenger/chat!

Have you applied these strategies before? How did it go? Oh and again – why do you think status-only posts acquire more engagement than single photos? Voice out your opinion in the comments! Hope you found this post useful!

You can contact me via e-mail at rusli.christina@gmail.com
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