December 4, 2014

Social Media Strategy: Creating Popular Facebook Posts

By Lewis J.

With 1.15 billon users – more than Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram combined – Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world. All ages, races, educational backgrounds, and income levels are well-represented on the site, making it the ideal social platform for businesses with a broad customer base. 

Facebook Newsfeed

Facebook users don’t spend a lot of time browsing individual profiles. Most of them spend their time scrolling through their news feed: a constantly updated list of status updates, pics, videos, links, and stories uploaded by their Facebook friends or liked groups. The news feed is heavily filtered based on the content that users have liked, shared, or commented on in the past. To be considered viral, posts don’t have to be especially popular – though the most viral ones will be – they simply have to spur user interaction.

Going Viral

There is no guaranteed formula for creating viral content, though there are several common features that it shares
  1. Pictures & Videos: Posts with pictures get 120 percent more clicks than text only posts. Video posts get 100 percent more. The Facebook timeline is designed for 403 x 403 pixel photos, but we recommend using 600 x 600 pixel photos instead. You’ll have to crop them, but the higher resolution will attract more interest without impairing the ability of mobile users to download content. 80-85 percent of users access Facebook from a mobile device.

    The Original LOLcat

    2.     Humor: Humor is the second most cited reason for sharing a Facebook post, after personal relevance. Facebook humor has to be broad and relatively inoffensive in order to be effective. LOLcats and the Gangnam Style video all went viral because they possess broad, goofy appeal.

    3.     Be Helpful: 94 percent of internet users consider how useful a post or article will be before they share it with someone they know. Sharing helpful advice allows them to stay connected with the Facebook community and strengthens their relationships with friends and family.

    4.     Be Inspirational: 73 percent of internet users share information because it helps them connect to people with common interests. Inspirational material that is optimistic, uplifting, or contains a strong call to action is shared most often.

    5.     Contests & Polls: These posts explicitly encourage fan participation and must be appealing to their interests and creativity. Seasonal contests and polls are particularly effective, especially when they’re based around major holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and the 4th of July. Remember to keep them fan-focused. Never use them to gather opinions on a product, service, or logo.

    6.      Ask Questions: The easiest way to engage your fans is to address them directly by asking for their opinion on your posted content. Asking questions encourages comments. Short, simple questions work the best.

    7.      Keep It Short: Facebook posts containing 100-250 characters receive 60 percent more likes, shares, and comments than longer posts.

Viral posts also tell readers what type of feedback that you want. Posts that ask fans to like, comment, or share receive 3 times as many likes and comments and seven times as many shares as posts that don’t.


Generating interesting content is the biggest challenge for social media marketers. The most important thing to keep in mind is to gear your posts towards interests and activities relevant to your fans, and limit the amount of time you spend talking about your business. Press releases, product updates, and sales announcements should never be the primary focus of your Facebook page.
For example, Red Bull’s Facebook focuses heavily on extreme sports. MTV’s Facebook posts regularly on pop culture and youth issues. Coca-Cola’s Facebook posts about social justice and world events, such as the World Cup and Nelson Mandela. The goal is to draw in fans with content that is related to, but not directly focused, on their core business (Coca-Cola was one of the biggest World Cup sponsors). The same strategy can work for you. Ask yourself, why do my customers come into my store? What are the interests and hobbies I am supporting? 

When you do post about yourself, approach the material from a personal angle. Write about your business the way you would write about your family. Talk to fans the way you would talk to a friend, in order to establish a personal relationship instead of a business relationship. Think in terms of social norms, not market norms.


The two most important rules in social media marketing are to try new things and be creative. Create an editorial calendar and plan out your posts ahead of time. Create variety. The only way to find out what your fans will respond to is to post the best content you can and see how they respond. The posts that receive the most likes, comments, and shares contain the type of content you want to focus on.

Next week, we’ll take a look at Twitter and find out what’s trending.

Any Facebook experience that you’d like to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!


  1. The implementation of the unique communicative properties of social media across all levels of a business. Proprium Marketing

    1. Thanks for the comment. That's definitely what we're trying to encourage.

  2. Social media is a phrase being tossed around a lot these days, but it can sometimes be difficult to answer the question of what is social media. buy 1000 twitter followers

    1. I disagree, Umar. I think we have a pretty good idea of what social media is. Its an electronic medium that allows people to communicate and share content over the internet. Its precise impact may be hard to measure, but its a great way to connect with people, which is why I'm not sure that buying followers is such a great idea. A small, genuine audience is better than a large, inauthentic one, at least in my opinion.