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What Facebook Users Like: 6 Secrets

The social network officially crunched the data. Here's what Facebook users like -- and how to make it work for your brand.
How to make Facebook users click: 6 secrets


You use Facebook as a way to connect to customers, but on average, only 7.5 percent of Facebook users subscribed to business fan pages see posts from those pages daily. To break out of the pack, you need to drive up the engagement and get people to respond.

And Facebook has some information to help you do that. The company has been wooing journalists (probably an attempt to push Twitter out of the limelight). Part of those efforts have included studies to find out what makes posts work on Facebook. But journalists are not in some special world. If certain strategies work for their content, chances are they will work for yours. Here are some types of posts that can boost your results:

  • Commentary and analysis on breaking news — Readers like this. Three times as many Facebook users like opinion posts as the average post. These types of posts also get twice as many shares as average.
  • Controversy — No surprise here, given how conflict effectively drives so much of public attention. Drawing attention to "controversial stories on debatable subject matter" can double both likes and shares.
  • Reader shout-outs — Directly addressing readers can quadruple feedback. Asking for recommendations triples comment.
  • Strong photos — A strong photo can double likes, shares, and comments.
  • Humor — People on Facebook like funny. (Think of your own experiences looking at posts.) Get a laugh and your post gets 50 percent more likes than the average post and five times as many shares.
  • Calls to action — Spend any time in direct marketing and you learn how important a call to action is. So there should be little surprise that adding a question can increase feedback by 64 percent while a call to read or take a closer look increases engagement by 37 percent.

Interestingly, although 13 percent of the posts from journalists had video from their reporting, it apparently didn't offer enough of a draw to make much difference in engagement. But this is a case where using your own experience is important. Video clips that are funny or outrageous seem to get people watching, so maybe the journalists didn't have the type of video that might work.

Have more tips? Share them in the comments.

Last updated: Jan 26, 2012

ERIK SHERMAN | Columnist

Erik Sherman's work has appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and Fortune. He also blogs for CBS MoneyWatch.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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