Facebook recently re-vamped the Insights feature, adding a critical facet called Virality. Facebook defines Virality as “the percentage of people who have created a story from your Page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it.”
After liking, commenting on, or sharing your post a user makes that interaction stream to their friends Newsfeed. According to Facebook, the average user has 130 friends and that means a lot of potential new customers will see your content. Virality represents all users who advertised your page in that fashion.
I used the Virality data from a social media campaign that we recently launched for a AAA video game title to better understand what types of posts are viral. I studied each post over the course of a month and placed them into five categories...
- Question – Ask a question to initiate feedback through a comment, like, or share
- Action – Tell the user to complete an action, e.g. “Like this Post,” or “share with your friends”
- Media – Embedding a video, picture, or song into the post
- Link – Using a link as a post. The link can lead you to somewhere within or outside of Facebook
- Informative – Posting information about your product or service
The graph below shows the relationship between type of post (Question, Action, Media, Link, Informative) and the Virality it possesses. The posts are arranged from least Viral on the left to most Viral on the right.
Look at the lower Virality rated posts on the left hand side of the graph. You can see that Link and Informative posts almost all sit on the left side. In fact, all of the Informative posts and all but three of the Link posts sit below the average Virality of .40%.
Now, let’s examine the higher Virality-rated posts on the right side of the graph. Question and Action posts make up the majority of the highest Virality posts. All of the Question and Action posts sit above the average Virality rating of .40%
Media posts have the largest variation of Virality rating. They make up the highest and lowest valued posts and the rest of them are pretty evenly spread. I examined the content of each Media post again and found that the four Media posts on the right side of the graph also asked a Question or called for Action while the Media posts on the left side were simply informative.
Now that we know what types of post are most Viral, let’s talk about strategies to make those posts effective.
Question: The question you ask needs to be simple and direct. What do you think? Should this. . .? How do you feel? These questions usually yield a response that is opinion- and/or emotion-oriented. People want to talk about their opinions and feelings and if you can generate a question that asks those things of them then it will be a good post. Also, consider that an answer to your post doesn’t necessarily need to be a comment. “Like” is commonly used as “yes” for an answer. Asking a question that will likely yield a yes response is also a good route for a Question post.
Action: These posts call to action but let’s face it . . . People are lazy and even more so when it comes to the Internet. If you are going beyond asking someone to Like, Comment, or Share then you need to make the task simple (or have good incentives). Spending extra time to interact with users who follow through on your Action posts will benefit you by driving them to participate more heavily in the future and create interest in all users who note that interaction.
Media: Media posts can be your power house. Use them sparingly as they take up more room on Newsfeed and can clutter it easily. Media posts in conjunction with Action and Question posts are most effective. Consider generating buzz prior to a Media posts but utilizing Action and Question posts. “We are releasing a video sneak preview of our new product in one week, who’s excited to see it?!”
Link & Informative: These types of posts are inevitable to some extent. Sometimes you need to convey information to your audience. Whenever possible, try to change Link & Informative posts to Question or Action posts. Example: “Our New Game launches in one week!” Boring, right? You could post “It’s almost time! Only one week until the new game is available, are you going to camp out for the release?” and you will likely get a much greater response.
I hope this information is useful in helping your brand create a more successful marketing campaign and reach a larger audience in the Facebook Realm. Understanding what type of posts are Viral and the ideas for making those posts effective will give your marketing team a head start. Continuing to monitor the Virality of your posts will keep you ahead of the game. Make sure to keep your posts consistent, stay true to your brand, and have fun because it will be conveyed in your work and compel people with the urge to promote your message.
Creative Coordinator @