A Case Study of Top-Performing Facebook Posts — & One Total Dud (Part 1)

Facebook stampIf social media is part of your job, you’ve probably experienced this feeling:

They’re going to love this!

And then you watch a post flop. Or you post an item without expectation … and then it takes off.

On our social media team, we discuss our social successes and failures and try to deduce why they performed the way they did, so we can replicate the good performances and avoid the bad.

We’re always guessing to an extent, but I thought it would be helpful for small business owners to see some of our top performers (plus a bonus low performer!) on our various social profiles — Dex Media, DexKnows and Superpages — and our assessments as to why they performed the way they did. A note: these aren’t necessarily our all-time best/worst performers. Instead, I selected posts where I felt we could provide the most insightful commentary.

Be on the lookout for our series of posts on this subject focusing on different platforms. We’ll start today with Facebook!

The Good

The Local-centric Post

We were pleasantly surprised by this post’s performance as it was off the beaten path for us. Once others shared it as well, it had a total of 85 likes, comments and shares. Here’s why we think it exceeded expectations:

  • Newsy items tend to perform well on Facebook.
  • On top of that, this was heart-warming, community-oriented news.
  • Also, the news was unusual and not widely reported, which made it new information to most of our followers.
  • Facebook posts without links tend to do well.
  • Images with text overlaid on them often perform well.
  • The text on the graphic was longer than we would usually opt for, which made us wonder if text that tells a little story, when interesting and warranted, might be something to explore more.
  • This was posted on the weekend, and it can be easier to get noticed on the weekends because there’s less information running through everyone’s feed.

The Extreme Post

This is one of our strongest posts ever — we were especially thrilled with 100 shares and 49 comments! It has a few things going for it.

  • It turns something familiar upside down. Had it ever occurred to you that a banana would fit perfectly into a hot dog bun? Us neither.
  • It asks a question. The best way to get people to comment is to ask them a question and make it the last sentence in your post.
  • On top of that, this asks a simple question. That’s even better. You’re more likely to get a response if your question inspires a reflexive answer, like “Oh yeah” or “Yuck!”, rather than one that requires more thought.
  • It has a potential “gross” factor, which also encourages chatter.
  • This audience has a history of loving wacky food posts.

Worth mentioning: This was posted before Facebook changed their algorithm earlier this year, when a post’s reach extended further.

The People Post

Here’s the stunner about this post: In addition to the likes and shares you see here, it received 442 post clicks.

  • The success to this post is simple: People respond to other people. So a behind-the-scenes photo of your business can do wonders to make your business feel more relatable to those who follow you on social media.
  • People like Fridays and are quick to like Friday-centric posts.

The Sleeper Hit

The previous post brings up a good point: Are you looking at Facebook Insights for your page? Because while the vegetable post you see here doesn’t indicate strong interest from our followers at first glance, we were surprised when we saw in Insights that it had garnered 56 clicks and had a reach of 720, which is more than half the 1,200 Facebook followers this page has. So keep in mind: Not all of your social communities will be equally chatty. Clicking indicates interest too, so take note of that. Here’s why we think this post encouraged clicks:

  • This particular audience is very home-centric, so the content suited them.
  • The visual was compelling, but it’s hard to absorb at a glance. It encourages clicking to get a clear sense of it.
  • It was seasonally appropriate.
  • It supplied truly useful information.

The Quote

The number of shares on this post surprised us. Through those shares, the post totaled 77 likes, comments and shares and reached 1,936 — more followers than the page itself has! Here’s what it had going for it.

  • People loves quotes.
  • People love Abe Lincoln.
  • People love Abe Lincoln quotes.
  • People really, really want to share Abe Lincoln quotes on Presidents Day. Our post came through their feed and gave them an easy way to do that.
  • The lesson here is Quotes + Timeliness x Abe Lincoln/Generally Beloved Person = Shares.

The Bad

The Total Dud

This post had so much going for it: A hook to a quirky holiday, an appealing graphic, practical and useful information, and a solid performance on other social platforms, like Pinterest. But it just didn’t catch the eye of our 72,000 Facebook followers. It inspired a total of 15 posts clicks and 2 likes.

  • Our Superpages audience likes food, but they seem to prefer outlandish food. (See peanut butter and jelly banana hot dog sandwich above.) Our DexKnows audience, on the other hand, has a preference for more practical food advice — this suited them better. So, we hear you, Superpages Facebook followers, we’ll keep the food posts crazy!

Let us know what you think!