Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Could Google’s new podcast app change the way we understand the Average Podcast Listener?
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Jan. 25, 2012, 3:02 p.m.

New Facebook data: Be topical, ask questions, and tell jokes to win audience

Successful engagement by journalists on the social network looks a lot like successful engagement in the real world.

Write about current affairs. Add in a little commentary (or a question). And, for the love of all that is holy, include a link.

Those are three of the takeaways from some new data that Facebook just released on the use of its Subscribe feature —  the social network’s way to let journalists and readers connect without broaching the knotty issue of “friending.” Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik and Betsy Cameron write: “People discover journalists to subscribe to on Facebook through their friends in News Feed; Facebook search; our “people to subscribe to” recommendations engine (which shows you who your friends are subscribing to and recommends journalists based on your interests); and other organic discovery mechanisms, such as simply seeing who your friends have subscribed to.”

But onto the stats, specifically, the ones that stick out about what content journalists are posting:

  • About a quarter of posts by journalists pose a question to readers, a tactic earlier Facebook research substantially increased engagement.
  • Posts that include both links and a little commentary or analysis generated about 20 percent more clicks.
  • Ask for it: Language like “read my story” or “check out my interview” bumps up engagement (clicks, likes, etc.) 37 percent.

The post also outlines some fuzzier numbers on how content types and styles can increase engagement:

Commentary and analysis on current events and breaking news receives 3x as many likes and 2x as many shares as the average post. Also, highlighting controversial stories on debatable subject matter can double the number of likes and shares the post receives.​

Reader shout-outs can increase in feedback by as much as 4x. Also, asking for recommendations can lead to a 3x increase in comments.​

In-depth analyses on global issues can yield a 1.5x increase in likes and 2.5x increase in shares.​

Powerful photos can yield an increase of a 2x in engagement (likes, comments and shares). Also, behind-the-scenes photos resulted in up to a 4x increase in engagement (likes, comments, shares).​

What else works? Being funny: “Humor in posts or a humorous picture can yield a 1.5x increase in likes and almost 5x increase in shares. Humor often shows the lighter and more personal side of the journalist, which is likely why it results in higher engagement.” Go check out Facebook’s post for more details and data.

POSTED     Jan. 25, 2012, 3:02 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Could Google’s new podcast app change the way we understand the Average Podcast Listener?
“It’s pretty damn hard to listen to a podcast, so the kinds of folks who listen to them regularly must really love the thing enough to walk on coals. Google’s new AI-assisted features are designed to cut down the necessity of that intensity.”
How to end misogyny in the news industry: An open letter to the international journalism community
“We are done pandering to the egos of change-resistant influential men in the hope that our gentle lead will eventually encourage them to join us on a meander toward gender equality in the news business.”
Newsonomics: McCormick Media’s back in the Tronc game, as eyes turn to the TRNC ticker
What will happen to the price of Tronc shares as investors, a good number of speculators among them, assess the post-L.A. Times value of a major daily newspaper chain effectively halved in the deal?