The Science behind Getting Likes, Comments, and Shares

You already know that having social media accounts on all the right platforms is important, especially if you’re using them for business.  You probably also already know that you need to be active on those profiles in order to get exposure.  That means posting comments, sharing articles, liking other posts, and more.  What you may not know though is exactly which types of posts get the most Likes, Comments, and Shares.

Now that social media for business has been active for a while, there’s plenty of data out there for researchers to get it down to a science.  Find out exactly what you need to be posting, sharing, liking, and commenting on in order to get the most interaction and loyalty from your fans.

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One marketer turns top Facebook profiles and posts into study

One social media marketing analyst, Dan Zarrella, decided to do an extensive study on the science of inbound marketing.  To begin, he decided to use Facebook as his initial testing ground.  Zarella “collected data on more than 1.3 million posts published on the top 10,000 pages” in order to create a great sample size on some of the best practice strategies known to date.  His goal was to help the everyday social media user get more Comments, Likes, and Shares on their own Facebook posts.

In order to test the posts and pages for efficacy, Zarella scoured all of them and identified characteristics that coincided with high and low performance measures.  This was calculated according to the percentage of total number of Likes, Comments, and Shares a particular post received and how that compared to the overall percentage for the page itself.

Photos are the most liked and shared of all posts

Right away, the study showed obvious correlations between successful posts and photos.  This isn’t surprising since much of today’s Internet audience seem to be visual learners.  That means they’re looking for visual content on a regular basis in order to take in the information they need.  It also makes sense since most social media feeds are set up for easy scanning.
likedataZarrella split the performances into three categories; Likes, Comments, and Shares.  When it comes to Likes, photos perform about 25% better than text posts, 50% better than video posts, and 75% percent better than link posts.  Some wonder why video posts aren’t matching or even outperforming photo posts, especially since they too are created for the visual internet user.  This is most likely due to platform compatibility and quality issues though, that should improve over time.  YouTube hopes the new autoplay feature on Facebook will also help grab more attention.  If this is the case, then videos may overtake photos in terms of Likes, Comments, and Shares in the very near future.

When it comes to sharing, photos smash the competition.  They perform more than 50% better than videos, and text and link posts barely register in comparison.  The theory behind this is that there are many beautiful photos circulating through Facebook and many of them have inspirational messages written over them in tasteful fonts.  This makes them easy for people to relate to and even easier to share without the need for adding a message.

Another more recent study by eMarketer stated that photos made up 75% of content posted on Facebook and they are also more likely to be retweeted on Twitter.  In other words, photos are getting used and shared more often and people know it.  They suggest sharing photos that interest your target audience, mixing up different types of photos, and to avoid selfies.

Text posts are best for getting comments

If you want someone to like and share your content, then go with a photo.  If you’re looking for more specific interactions, like comments for example, then you’re going to want to use a text post.  Contrary to the Like and Share categories, text posts beat out photos, videos, and links in the Comment category.

commentBecause some photos come with text posts or with text built into the image itself, it makes sense that photos come in a close second behind text posts when it comes to getting comments.  In fact, they’re only about 10% lower performing than text posts.  Videos, on the other hand, are 60% less likely to get comments and links about 80% less likely.

Why do texts get more comments?  The thinking is that texts are usually out there specifically to get interaction, at least more often than not.  Remember all of the text posts you’ve seen?  Consider how many of them were questions.  These of course, beg a response.

Then there are the text posts that are emotionally charged.  If someone posts a positive comment about an achievement, they are likely to get many congratulatory remarks.  The study further showed that if posts had keywords like “I” or “me” in them, they were a lot more likely to get Likes.  This is most likely because people who are friends on Facebook want to support each other and are more apt to react to personal posts rather than generic ones.

If someone posts a negative comment though, they get a lot of either commiserating comments, or, unfortunately, inflammatory comments from those who disagree. In fact, studies show that negatively charged text posts are more likely to get Comments than positive posts.  Additionally, posts with neither positive nor negative tones were less likely to get Likes at all.

According to Adweek, text posts may also be doing better on comments simply because they’re getting shown to consumers more often.  As Facebook continues to edit their EdgeRank system, business pages aren’t getting as much of a foothold in fan feeds.  However, they don’t seem to be as strict against text-only posts, possibly explaining why they are more likely to get spotted, and, consequently, commented on.

Does the length of a post matter?

Every social media platform has a character limit, and that’s to keep our feeds easily scannable and our friends easy to understand!  According to the study though, length matters yet it also differs in two of the categories.  Zarrella found that

It’s difficult to say for sure why, but the theory is that the longer the post, the more likely someone will be to simply share it rather than try to summarize what it said on their own feed.  Another theory purports that extremely long text posts may be made up of extremely important information and therefore are more likely to be shared to spread the word.

Likewise, when it comes to Likes, an extremely short post may not necessitate a response and so gets only a Like, and comparatively, an extremely long post may have too much information to delve into and so they simply Like that as well.

So how much is too much exactly?  According to a study by Kevan Lee, the best possible length for a Facebook post is 40 characters or less.  Posts like these apparently “received 86 percent higher engagement than other posts.”

When you post makes a big difference

You’d think with all the mobile technology we have, it wouldn’t matter when we posted.  If everyone has access to their smartphone around the clock and are notified of new Facebook posts on their feed, then why would the time of day or even the day itself matter?  The study showed that it does still matter though.

If you want a lot of Likes, you’d be wise to post between 5pm and 10pm.  If you want Shares, posting between 4pm and 8pm are your best bets.

hourslikeIt does appear that people are checking their social media accounts throughout the day on mobile devices or work computers, but they are more likely to do so in quick actions rather than more intensive interactions.  That means you’ll see Shares spiking throughout the day as people come across amusing media, but if you want them to show something they truly like and maybe even want to comment on, that comes once the work day is over.  This makes sense since most periods of browsing are going to occur off the clock and during the evening hours.

FastCompany seems to agree with these metrics and adds that users would be wise to avoid posting before 8am on any platform.  Pre-work, and in some cases, pre-wake hours are some of the worst times to post on social media.

This same theory appears to hold true for days of the week for posting as well.  People are simply more active when they’re not working, which means more Likes, Shares, and Comments are happening on the weekends rather than on weekdays.

Automating Your Posts Using Science

If you’re using multiple accounts and sending out a lot of posts on a daily basis, this science should do wonders for your interaction levels.  Using a post automation tool like SocialPilot, simply schedule in the date, time, and content that works best according to the figures in this study.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Jimit Bagadiya

Jimit Bagadiya

Exploring new tools and read blogs of my favorite authors is the beginning of my day. Apart from this, I enjoy spending my day with mobile, computer, car, wife and loving son.
Jimit Bagadiya

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