What the Research Says About Increasing Facebook Engagement | Beth's Blog

What the Research Says About Increasing Facebook Engagement

Digital Strategy

This post summarizes some findings from a  recent research report about increasing engagement on Facebook and a couple of conversations about applying the research over on my blog Facebook page.   I also tested some of the tips suggested by the research.    Here’s what I learned:

After Hours Posting

I have been looking at different research studies, like this one “Posting Strategies That Encourage Engagement on Facebook” to see if there were more tactics to try.     The screen grab above suggests that short posts, posts outside of business hours, posts at the end of the week,  and posts that end with a question work best to increase Facebook engagement.

For giggles, I posted after business hours  and noticed an uptick in comments.    In the comments, Debra Askanase pointed to her post that detailed the study’s findings in the research study.   Laura Lee Dooley posted the link to full study.   So, I not only got more comments, but they added a lot of value.

Don’t Automate All Your Facebook Posts

If you’re thinking about using one of those helper apps that lets you pre-schedule posts to Facebook, don’t do it.   Mari Smith explains why in this thread about scheduling apps:

I very occasionally use HootSuite to schedule posts on Facebook. I do 99% of all posts manually as it gets the best EdgeRank score (News Feed visibility).   Facebook gives less weight to posts made via third party apps. They also can get collapsed in the News Feed (e.g. “see xx more posts by Twitter”) and I’m certain people don’t really click that link. 🙂

PostPlanner seem like really good peeps and a great app; they are in my hopper to take for a test drive. They assure me posts from their app don’t get collapsed in the News Feed… but that could be just because not that many people are using it yet.

Zane Mccolloch-Lussier suggested this post if you want to read more about EdgeRank score.  Mari Smith also has a post here.

Ask Questions

Click for Larger Image

The research also suggests that asking questions works best for increasing engagement.  John Haydon did a pattern analysis of different Facebook Wall posts that were questions  “16 Ways To Get More Comments on Facebook”  that illustrate different examples of questions.   I riffed on the post to brainstorm questions for a fictional Mozart Festival since I was listening to Mozart while writing this post.   Here’s the checklist.

Always Be Commenting

A few weeks ago, I came across a wonderful post by Guy Kawasaki, “How To Use Facebook To Enchant Your Customers” and having testing out some of the tips.     The I love is  “ABC: Always Be Commenting” – that you need to comment quickly, often, and respond to everyone.  Jo Johnson over at the London Symphony is a master of this technique.

Repeat the Proven Stuff

Another tip is to repeat the proven stuff.   I’ve been approaching this as reviewing your metrics, analyzing what scored well and posting similar types of content or at similar times.     The article also suggests that you re-post the same winning Facebook content – that not everyone reads everything that is posted.   I tested this here (June 1) and here (May 12).

What tactics have you tested to increase Facebook engagement?


12 Responses

  1. I definitely agree with the repeating of the “oldies, but goodies” I resisted that for awhile b/c I thought I’d get “unlikes” but some were just too good not to use again. Each time, I’ve gotten new interactions and comments. Sometimes it’s not the new thing; it’s find what works and stick to it!

  2. I find the timing issue is important. However, we have a worldwide constituency with people in nearly every time zone, so I think timing is a less significant, unless a majority of followers are in one time zone or nearby zones.

  3. […] Beth Kanter’s blog post today turned me on to a new (free) research report available from Buddy Media.  The research is intended to help answer the questions: 1) when should you post and how often; 2) are there certain words or content that will generate response; and 3) when are people engaging with your content?  The findings are based on data from 200 Buddy Media clients (note: primarily not non-profits). […]

  4. Hi Beth,
    Thanks for another post. Two quick thoughts:
    – Shining light on the work of a person or organization that is recognized by others, or who gets Googled, increases traffic, and
    – I’ve noticed people are hesitant to respond to the Facebook polling feature. I think news coverage about FB’s approach to privacy, or lack thereof, may be behind that response.

  5. Geri Stengel says:

    I especially like your question checklist – a nice aid for those who are getting up to speed using Facebook. Asking questions can be a great way for nonprofits to reach out to supporters, to provoke thoughtful interaction about issues and to get a view into what they’re thinking.

  6. […] media expert Beth Kanter summarizes recent studies on how to increase Facebook engagement – it’s also a great way to find out what issues your constituents are most interested […]

  7. […] the Research Says About Increasing Facebook Engagement | http://bit.ly/lWC0N2 Beth’s […]

  8. Krista B. says:

    Thanks for the excellent tips. I especially enjoyed your list of questions as well as your suggestion to not automate all of your posts. Recently, I have been using HootSuite to plan out my weekly postings. I was very hesitant at first because I was afraid it would decrease the engagement of my followers. Your article confirms my fear. From now on, I plan to spend time each day customizing my posts and updating them myself instead of depending on a third party tool. While they are great, I do agree that people are less likely to click on them (especially if they are given less weight by Facebook).

    One thing I have found is that commenting and posting updates either before or after work hours results in more commenting among my followers. Great blog posting.

  9. […] What the Research Says About Increasing Facebook Engagement […]

  10. Matt Cronin says:

    Hi Beth, this is a great round up of the research and I wanted to offer up some recent research we conducted which helps to round out this post nicely. It was also picked up by emarketer and others but you can get it in its entirety here: http://www.webliquidgroup.com/research-facebook-reach-analysis

    Among other things we found that, in general, marketers most engaging posts contained photos although those weren’t always also correlated with the greatest network reach. Reach being an important measurement of Facebook post effectiveness and the quality of the active network – those who engage with the content. I hope you find the information helpful.

  11. […] Having lots of friends and followers doesn’t mean much if users aren’t engaged. […]