02 08 2018

Facebook has become an integral part of any brand’s marketing mix. However the new 'Friends and Family' algorithm update, that has actually made it harder and harder for marketers to stand out. If Facebook is only showing people posts from friends and family, and not pages they follow, it means 1 of 2 things for B2C Marketers:

1) Your brand posts will only be seen if a friend/family member shares it

2) You need to pay to play. No surprises there right?

So what can you do to make sure your Facebook posts are shared once you boost them?


There are actually two proven factors that can make a post get shares, based on a study by Professor Kathleen Milkman of Wharton in the Journal of Marketing, where she and her colleagues studied 7,000 New York Times posts and looked to see which ones would go most viral. They found that randomness could not explain the results – there were actually two key factors that were strongly correlated with shared content.

 

The Integral Effect & Valence

 

The first factor is a concept that they refer to as “the integral effect.” This means that there is a very strong correlation between content that is emotionally charged and the content that got shared the most.

The second factor is a quality known as “valence.” This means that positive photos and content are much more likely to go viral than negative content.

Putting this all together, it means that content that is more positive, as well as the most highly charged, emotionally-loaded content, is more likely to go viral.

You can see how this works in practice everyday on Facebook, where positive, uplifting messages tend to do the best. One classic example comes from Punnky, the Positive Uplifting News Network, who share positive stories and inspirational quotes on a daily basis. Within two months, Punnky had 100,000 fans and a 6 million person reach.

One month, Punnky posted an image to its Facebook page and got 100,000 likes and 22,000 shares on that post alone. But it wasn’t just any image – it was a screenshot of an iPhone “notes” message, describing a simple, easy way to prevent people from committing suicide. It was both emotionally charged, and it was also positive and uplifting, fulfilling both requirements of a viral Facebook post.

Punnky posted an image to its Facebook page and got 100,000 likes and 22,000 shares on that post alone. But it wasn’t just any image – it was a screenshot of an iPhone “notes” message, describing a simple, easy way to prevent people from committing suicide

Of course, if you’re starting with a huge base – in this case, Punnky had 100,000 fans – then your posts already have a lot of viral lift behind them. And photos tend to work well – even if they are only screenshots. In fact, the more different the image is, the better. You don’t need to worry about high-end personal photography to get people to notice your post on Facebook. And the personal effect works as well – people are naturally more curious when the message appears to be relevant for them.

 


Justin Theng
Multi-award winning marketer, Justin Theng, is the owner of ALSOF Publishing. His background stems from leadership roles in some of the world’s most celebrated agencies.
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