Just read a very interesting post over on the Hubspot blog reporting results of a bit of Facebook research into what types of Facebook posts collect the most audience response, or “engagement’ as we like to call it. I find this a fascinating area, since so many companies approach it so many different ways.
To me, the research suggests that the best path (or at least the one most likely to engage) is to employ posts that relate to your business or product without blatantly selling it. That means businesses should avoid the “Hey, everyone, here’s our new RX-7 paint mixing technology. Order today” (because it’s not very interesting). And they should also avoid the other extreme, which has NO real content and suggests the existence of a personal relationship: “Pouring here. Is it raining where you live?”
But even that middle ground – the one most likely to “work” – can be problematic. I’ve written about a couple of companies I consider to be prime offenders. Radio Shack is one – I remember a post that asked readers to weigh in with (something like) “Tell us the last time you watched someone build something with stuff purchased at Radio Shack.” Gag. Anyone who responded to that post clearly needs more to do.
Another company, GFS (a wholesale foodservice supplier with numerous retail outlets – a good company, in my experience), seems blissfully ignorant of its self-serving transparency. Many of its posts follow the pattern of asking such innocent and thought-provoking questions like “Which of our wonderful soups do YOU like best?” Or even worse, THIS one:
I’m sure these companies will think that the research confirms their course of action. And yes, I imagine a few lonely folks did, in fact, find themselves “engaged” by these tactics. But for me, I’m a little more comfortable with an outfitter, for example, inviting stories of “the best canoe trip ever” or a travel site posting helpful hints or memorable flight attendant moments.
Bottom line is that it’s a delicate balance, and to me, a ham-fisted attempt can do more damage than anything. Tell me about a product – that’s fine. I may not be interested, but you’re being honest. But don’t play me for a lonesome loser who has nothing better to do than shill for you. That, I definitely don’t “LIKE.”