Posts That Pose A Question or Ask Fans to "Like" It Are More Engaging

by Devin Sugameli

A representative from Facebook recently contacted us to ask if we had any data from our work on our clients' pages regarding the engagement rates of different types of status updates. Specifically, she was looking for information to suggest some broadly applicable best practices for all page admins. To find out which types of status updates earned the most feedback from fans, we recorded over a month's worth of status updates, fan interactions, and individual post feedback percentages from 10 different pages of varying types and fan counts, ranging from 737 fans to more than 100,000. We noted and separated all of the status updates into 4 distinct categories:

1. Status updates that pose a question or challenge directly to fans (ex: “what’s your favorite type of flower?” or “fill in the blank: summer is _____”) 2. Status updates that ask fans to “like” it (ex: “Like this status if you’re ready for the weekend!”) 3. Status updates that announce winners of a Facebook-hosted contest or sweepstakes (ex: “Congrats to Devin Sugameli, winner of a $25 gift card from us!”) 4. “Everything else” – all remaining status updates that didn’t fit any of the above categories.

For each category, we calculated the overall average engagement rate based on the individual feedback percentages provided by Facebook (if you're an admin on a page, you should see these feedback percentages in grey below each of your page's posts, as in the example image below). On pages with lower fan counts (fewer than 2,000 fans) where these individual post insights were not readily available, we instead noted the total number of total interactions on average as calculated by total number of likes, comments, and wall posts resulting from each page update. Finally, we calculated the average feedback scores of all posts regardless of category for each page to serve as a benchmark. We found the following results:

  • In 100% of cases, engagement rates for "other updates" were below the overall average.
  • In 100% of cases where applicable, engagement rates for posts that asked fans to "'Like' this" were up to 5.5 times (on average 2.7x) higher than those for "other updates".*
  • In 9 out of 10 cases, status updates that posed a question directly to fans were up to 6 times (on average 2x) as engaging as "other updates".
  • *On one page, we found a "like this" update that was actually 26.6 times more engaging than "other updates". The page that earned this remarkably high engagement rate had posted only one “like this” status during the survey period, which requested "likes" specifically from those who knew a member of the armed forces on Memorial Day. It was excluded from the overall average for its being a clearly exceptional post. When included in the calculation, engagement rates for "like this" updates perform 5 times better on average.

    Though there are variations between individual pages' feedback rates, these might be attributable to anything from the relative quality of the posts to the frequency of posting by the page or to the product or company itself. We plan to continue our research into this in the future using larger sample sets and closer look at potential variables such as those listed above.

    While this was a fairly small scale study, these exciting results do clearly indicate a preference for updates that speak directly to fans. It additionally supports the long held notion that the single most important factor in social media success is a brand or organization's ability to facilitate a dialogue with fans. When you provide a clear, easy to follow path for response from your fans, they will respond more often than they will to posts without any clear call for commentary.