by Megan Tague, UFSocial Contributor
It’s a question often pondered by social media professionals; how to create the perfect Facebook post.
What follows is my personal view, influenced by studying the work of three organizations cited by the analytics crunchers, News Whip as being some of the most shared publishers on Facebook.
After reviewing each of the top ten most shared publishers, I came to notice a few similarities. Each organization knows their audience and speaks to them in their vernacular (look at the BuzzFeed post at the top of this article).
BuzzFeed, LittleThings.com, and Breitbart post dramatic captions using single words, questions, exclamation points, ellipses and capitalization of key words to attract clicks to their websites, while more news-centric organizations like Huffington Post, Fox News, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC and Yahoo, post short, descriptive captions, occasionally including quotes from the article being posted.
Lastly, NBC deserves to be in its own category because although it posts in the format of the news-centric organizations, its content surrounds their TV shows, not news. All of the organizations, post frequently (between 10 and 20 times a day), use short captions, compelling article titles and provoking photos, and tag companies/celebrities when appropriate.
BuzzFeed is often criticized for creating clickbait posts, but in my opinion they aren’t the worst of the offenders. I believe both(which posts “the most amazing” stories from around the world) and Breitbart (the conservative political version of ) post overly dramatic captions to attract viewers to click on their posts.
Captions like: “The reason why will give you chills…,” “Can you BELIEVE this makeover?! I’m stunned!,” and “And there’s ONE thing driving it all…” are commonplace on BuzzFeed,and Breitbart.
In addition to their clickbait article titles and captions, each of these three organizations:
- Use short captions, usually lacking in description
- Rely on the article’s image to tell some of the story (a few images even seem to be intentionally cropped so that it further entices the viewer to click to view the rest of the photo)
- Don’t include a link in the caption
- Don’t use subtitles (most of the time)
I’m not the only one who thinks sensational captions are, well, cheesy. On what approach posts should take, Hootsuite declares, “All of this intense expression, all of the time, is unsustainable for any person or brand and comes off as inauthentic. If you want your brand’s authority and clout to remain intact, using hyperboles or overly exaggerated words in your social media content is something you want to avoid.”
The news-centric organizations mentioned above are more my style. It seems they follow the same formula as the aforementioned organizations with three exceptions – their captions are aren’t clickbait (instead they are more descriptive), they post much more video directly to Facebook, and they include quotes from those interviewed in the articles/videos. Even with these exceptions, the posts are still shared many times over.
After reviewing posts from these more news-centric organizations, I did discover that more sensational news stories and lifestyle posts received relatively more like and shares. See the National Cheese Lovers Day post from The New York Times below.
So, what makes a perfect Facebook article post? Aim for a short caption that resonates with your audience and relevant imagery.
About the Author
Megan is the social media director at Miami-based PR and Marketing firm, Kreps DeMaria. She also is a graduate student at the University of Florida pursuing a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in social media.