New Facebook data show 7 keys to maximum engagement for journalists

New data from Facebook show journalists the most effective ways to post news on their Facebook Pages.

Facebook has studied data from journalists’ public Facebook Pages about comments, likes and clickthroughs by day, time and type of post. (This study doesn’t include news organization pages, which will be studied later, or personal profiles.) The results, shared in advance with Poynter, will be posted on the official Facebook for Journalists page Wednesday afternoon.

Here are the seven lessons for journalists.

How to write an engaging Facebook post

Include questions or calls to action. Posts with questions received twice as many comments and 64 percent more feedback than an average post. Other good tactics include asking readers to take a closer look (37 percent higher feedback), offering personal reflection or behind-the-scenes information (25 percent higher), or using clever or catchy wording (18 percent).

Write longer posts. Posts that are four-lines deep received 30 percent more feedback than average. Five-line posts received 60 percent greater feedback. The basic one-line post is a wildcard — some can be highly engaging, some not at all.

Post photos. Facebook’s study found photos accounted for only 10 percent of the posts to journalist pages, but they received 50 percent more likes than other posts.

Include link thumbnails. Links that include a thumbnail image on the page wall saw 65 percent more likes and 50 percent more comments than average.

What and when to post

Politics and analysis received higher than average engagement and link clickthroughs. Education stories also drew high on-page engagement, while international stories drew high clickthroughs.

Post on weekends and late in the week. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday had the highest amounts of feedback. Sunday was the greatest for feedback, with 25 percent more likes and 8 percent more comments than average. Clickthroughs were highest on Saturday (up 85 percent) and Wednesday and Thursday. Overall, Mondays and Tuesdays seem to lag.

Post throughout the day. Readers seem to be active throughout the average day, but there are peaks of activity at 7 to 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 4 to 5 p.m., and even a small bump from midnight to 2 a.m. The biggest spikes in feedback are a 40 percent increase at 4 p.m. and a 100 percent increase at 5 p.m.

UPDATE: For those curious about the methodology, Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik tells me they sampled 25 pages of local, national and international journalists, across various types of media. Data was collected over a two-week period.

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