HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
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 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
The ubiquity game has different rules for digital startups than for legacy businesses. But for both, figuring out the right relationship with Facebook is key to their audience strategies.
Jeff Israely: Good content marketing benefits from a smart publisher’s touch
Our startup correspondent, building Worldcrunch in Paris, on the thinking behind its operation’s pivot: “The smart brands know they’ll lose your attention if they use this new publishing power simply to push their merchandise.”
How a hobby foreign affairs blog became a paywalled news destination — and a business
World Politics Review has grown from one man’s side project to a small news operation supported by a niche paywall.
What to read next
2481
tweets
Millennials say keeping up with the news is important to them — but good luck getting them to pay for it
The new report from the Media Insight Project looks at millennials’ habits and attitudes toward news consumption: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”
926The next stage in the battle for our attention: Our wrists
News companies have moved from print dollars to digital dimes to mobile pennies. Now, with the highly anticipated launch of the Apple Watch, the screens are getting even smaller. How are smart publishers thinking about the right way to serve users and maintain their attention on smartwatches?
729A wave of distributed content is coming — will publishers sink or swim?
Instead of just publishing to their own websites, news organizations are being asked to publish directly to platforms they don’t control. Is the hunt for readers enough to justify losing some independence?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Ann Arbor News
Houston Chronicle
Arizona Guardian
The Orange County Register
Financial Times
Byliner
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The Daily Telegraph
Quartz
MediaBugs
Hacks/Hackers
Corporation for Public Broadcasting