“Liking” Is Just the Beginning

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September 2012
by Penny Sansevieri

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These days it seems everyone is after “social proof,” that elusive number of Likes or Followers that will make your social media presence seem successful. Unfortunately, getting someone to Like you on Facebook is only half the battle there; you must then get them to stay “in like” with you.

Studies show that people’s expectations about content vary by age, but one thing remains the same: It’s critical not just to build numbers, but to maintain them. And to do that, you need to know what users want and when they want you to post new content.

According to a study by Roost.com that evaluated 10,000 Facebook fans across 50 industries:

  • Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 26 have the lowest expectations about receiving some content or freebie relevant to their interests in exchange for a “Like” endorsement
  • People aged 27 to 34 are more likely to expect something solid delivered in a Facebook update.
  • The users with the highest expectations are people between 35 and 51. They are most apt to unlike a brand if it fails to meet their expectation, and they are probably among the people you are serving because they are the biggest buying demographic.

Re: What and When to Post

How can you create engagement? The Roost study found that certain kinds of posts stimulate more engagement than others. Here are some of the study’s findings about content:

  • Photo posts get 50 percent more impressions.
  • Quotes get 22 percent more interactions.
  • Questions generate almost twice as many comments as statements (hint: turn your statements into questions to get more interaction).
  • Fill-in-the-blank posts get nine times more comments than other kinds of posts.

The timing of posts also affects responses. Here are some quick tips for Facebook:

  • Posts delivered between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. tend to generate 20 percent more user engagement.
  • The best day for Fan engagement? Wednesday.
  • How many posts does it take to increase user engagement? If you’re thinking the more, the better, you are wrong. Posting once or twice a day produces 71 percent higher user engagement than posting more often.
  • When it comes to Facebook, more is not better in terms of length either; sometimes it’s just more. Posts with 80 or fewer characters generate 66 percent more engagement than longer posts. Very concise posts—say, up to 40 characters—generate the highest engagement.

Assessing Engagement

Knowing all this will help you improve the chances for engagement. But how can you know whether your fans actually are engaged with your content?

You can use a fabulous feature on Fan pages that’s called Facebook Insights. Look for it on the left side of your page. Once you’re there, you can see all sorts of data about the information you post.

Check out:

  • Reach: How many different individuals have seen a post within 28 days of its appearance?
  • Engaged users: How many people have engaged with your post in some way, for instance by clicking a link?
  • Talking about this: How many people have liked a post, commented on a post, shared a post, responded to a question in a post, or RSVP’d for an event? (This interesting number pops up right under your “Likes.”)
  • Virality: How many people have created a story from your post?

When you watch these numbers, you get some great insights into what keeps your fans loyal and what leaves them cold.


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is an adjunct instructor teaching publishing and social media at NYU and the author of five books, including Red Hot Internet Publicity. To learn about her books or her promotional services, visit amarketingexpert.com. To subscribe to her free e-zine, send a blank email to subscribe@amarketingexpert.com.

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