What Powers the Facebook Status Update

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Comments Off

We’ve all seen the mundane status updates from our friends and brands we follow on Facebook:

  • “Cat just coughed up hairball. Great.”
  • “PBJ or ham & cheese…hmmm…”
  • “People are here. We’re starting our meeting.”

Facebook status update

To no surprise, these types of status updates rarely receive a “like” or comment. Following the f8 developer’s conference in April, TechCrunch wrote a post detailing Facebook’s insight into the algorithm that makes the all-so-important Facebook news feed tick.

To most, the news feed has become second nature. Log on to Facebook at some point in the day, scan your news feed and receive quick updates about what your friends or brands you follow have been up to lately. Simply put, a user is far less likely to specifically click over to a particular group, page or person’s profile on Facebook on a regular basis. For online marketers, this emphasizes the critical need to publish content that will continually pique the fans’ interests and prompt them to engage with brands.

So, what is this “secret sauce” that determines what shows up in your news stream? The technical formula can be found on the aforementioned TechCrunch post.

But, what does that mean to you? Great question.

Teach to Digital Fish has done a superb post addressing just that topic.

How is all this being used by brands?? Another great question.

Smart brands are providing extremely engaging content via photos/video, gathering feedback from fans, prompting action and promoting deals. In January, I provided my recommendations and tips around elements that make a good status update. This of course varies based on your overall goals and primary use of a page.

Case Study
I would encourage you to hop over to Thomas Umstattd Jr.‘s blog where he has embedded a video from a recent SMB Austin event. In the video (at about the 6:30 mark), Thomas talks about the work he recently did on a political campaign and the strategy and tactics he utilized to engage fans in support of his candidate. It’s an excellent case study and example of the crucial role page content plays in bolstering engagement.

Big Takeaway
No one brand has the golden ticket answer as to how to build a foundation of hundreds of thousands of engaged fans overnight. Certain brands are certainly doing things better than others but all brands should at least be cognizant of thinking through the implications of each and every status update. Most importantly, continue learning, tweaking and improving by analyzing Facebook Insights all the time.

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