Facebook study shows brand marketers the best way to engage with fans

by Brian Oliver

Internal research by Facebook has found that brand marketers stand a much better chance of engaging with the social network’s 900 million active users if they focus on posting content about generic topics related to their brand, rather than promoting a specific product or service.

The study also found that conversational ‘fun’ posts that have nothing to do with the brand are least likely to attract a response from fans.

In fact, a separate survey by global Software as a Service company ExactTarget recently revealed that chit-chat posts are one reason why people ‘unLike’ brands on Facebook.

In a bid to help content marketers gain a better insight into which posts generate the most ‘shares’, ‘Likes’ and comments, Facebook spent four weeks analysing activity on 23 brand Pages spanning six different industry sectors.

For the study, Facebook’s research team divided social content into three categories:

1. Purely promotional messages (such as the launch of a new product, a new store opening, or a special deal);

2. Messages that tie in with the brand but cover general topics about the sector in which the brand operates (such as recipe ideas from a food brand or holiday tips from a travel company);

3. Posts completely unrelated to the brand (such as chatty posts about current events that have no connection with the brand).

FACEBOOK POSTS MUST RELATE TO THE BRAND

“The topicality of page posts impacts all types of engagement,” explains Elisabeth Diana, corporate communications manager at Facebook. “But the bottom-line result is that posts related to the brand and posts related to a product or service are the ones that are significant predictors of actions.

“The third, unrelated content, is not a significantly predictive page post.”

In other words, posting content on your Facebook page that is not about your brand is the only type of post that does not correlate with engagement.

“Speaking in the voice of the brand, talking directly about your product or service, or a topic related to the brand, is the best way to engage with fans of your page,” she says.

The Facebook study also found that photos and videos are best for generating ‘Shares’, while ‘Likes’ are driven by posts that prompt users to ‘Like’ something, and posts that pose questions are most likely to foster comments.

“You can maximize your success on Facebook by optimising your Page posting strategy for the type of engagement you are trying to drive,” adds Diana.

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About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

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