What you can learn from the most successful posts on Facebook

What are the secrets of the most successful posts on Facebook? What do the most popular posts have in common? In this article we will see what are the characteristics of the winning posts, the result of the study of over 700 million Facebook posts by Buffer in partnership with Buzzsumo.

Buffer’s 2019 State of social report found that 93.7 percent of businesses use and are currently active on Facebook , the highest percentage of all other social networks. And while we continue to see a dramatic increase in the use and effectiveness of Stories content, traditional posts in the Facebook news feed offer a powerful outlet for brands looking to generate engagement and traffic.

The study conducted by Buffer and Buzzsumo started by considering over 700 million posts, from this starting point we then went on to examine 500 of the most popular posts, based on total engagement. The top 500 Facebook posts represent over a billion Facebook engagements.

The time has come to share the secrets of the most successful posts, all tips that can be useful for setting up your Facebook marketing strategy in 2019.

Topics that we will see in the article:

  • Takeaway of 777 million Facebook posts
  • Video performs better than all other types of Facebook posts
  • The most common reactions to the best Facebook videos are LOVE and HAHA
  • Inspirational, fun and practical content generates the most engagement
  • How to incorporate these learnings into your Facebook strategy
  • Create content for Facebook that is both human and innovative
  • Play the long game focusing on building an engaged community
  • 3 steps to building a social media community

Takeaway from 777 million Facebook posts

BuzzSumo has access to some of the strongest Facebook data in the world, which spurs many incredible research studies like this one where content from 20,000 influential Facebook business pages was analyzed.

Take-away n. 1: Videos perform better than all other types of Facebook posts

When it comes to taking your Facebook strategy to the next level, there is no better way to do it than through the use of video content.

On average, video posts on Facebook get at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

In fact, looking at what types of content make up the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018, over 81% were videos!

images represented only 18 percent of the top spots , while Links represented only 0.2 percent.

On the other hand (rather shockingly), link posts received on average 76% less engagement than videos . This includes links with images. In other words, not even images help link posts perform better.

We’ll get into Facebook video themes and content later in this article, but for now it’s clear that brands should invest heavily in video content in 2019.

You might also be interested in the article: How to increase Facebook fans, 15 things to do

Takeaway # 2: The most common reactions to the best Facebook videos are LOVE and HAHA

You may be wondering why we have chosen to analyze the most common reactions to the best Facebook posts.

Great question!

The reactions give us a unique look at human psychology and a better understanding of “why” people like certain types of content on Facebook. It also helps us orient ourselves towards what to create for our brand in the future.

The reactions LOVE and HAHA made up 81% of the total video reactions of Facebook in 2018.

Clearly, people engage with content they find stimulating, fun, or a mix of both. Brands that focus on creating content around these emotions are more likely to produce successful content for their Facebook page.

While it’s important to note that, more often than not, the content isn’t necessarily adorable or fun for everyone. In other words, something that is “loved” by one person could be “funny” or even “sad” for another person.

This is great news for brands and B2B companies because it means that content doesn’t have to be overly fun or inspirational.

Takeaway # 3: Inspirational, fun or practical content generates the most engagement

In order to refine the exact types of content that brands and marketers should create more in 2019, we attempted to classify the types of content from the dataset. In conjunction with the most common reactions on Facebook and a subjective analysis of the first 500 posts on Facebook, three common themes emerged.

The most successful content could be classified as:


2. fun

3. practical.

For example, number one of the most successful posts on Facebook in 2018 was one from speaker and storyteller, Jay Shetty:

Shetty takes into account some of the top 500 posts because he creates content that inspires people. The inspirational content leads to more reactions, comments and shares, which in turn leads to more organic reach.

The best part is that any brand can create this type of content. All it takes is a renewed understanding of what people are looking for on social media (specifically, your audience as we mentioned above) and how you can distribute it on a consistent basis.

How to incorporate these learnings into your Facebook strategy

You are probably wondering now:

How can I apply these tips to my Facebook strategy ?

Even if you’re not a top page or generate millions of engagements a month, you can still find a ton of success on Facebook. In fact, it may just be the biggest opportunity for brands in the coming year!

At a high level, our personal Facebook profiles are our individual “story”. They are an ever-changing record of our lives and interests. Most importantly, they directly reflect who we are – at least who we want people to think we are.

As brands and marketers, we need to consider how to create content for Facebook that uniquely reflects the stories and personalities of our audience. This requires constant experimentation and improvement of our marketing strategies. What works one day may not work the next, as people are constantly changing based on internal and external factors.

When marketers move, members move. The secret, therefore, to social media success is to act, think, feel and behave like a PRIMO member. One member first and one second for marketing. ”- Mari Smith

There are many ways to find out exactly who your audience is and then tailor content around these specific demographics.

Perhaps the quickest and cheapest way to get to know your audience is through Facebook’s free tool: Audience Insights.

In less than five minutes with this precious tool you can find out if your fans also follow the pages of the competitors, their gender, age, educational qualification and place of residence.

From this data, we can start building a list of content that our target demographic will find interesting. We also have the option to explore similar Facebook pages to see what content is resonating the most with these people and generate ideas from these themes.

There are many other ways to collect valuable data about your customers as well . Some of the most effective techniques you can use are:

  1. Investigations
  2. Customer Interviews
  3. Posts on social media
  4. Email messages
  5. Fairs and conferences
  6. Widgets for chats such as Drift or Intercom
  7. Research, ideation, creation, learning and repetition.

Create content for Facebook that is both human and innovative

Did you know that 84% of marketers believe that building trust will be the main goal for their marketing efforts in the future?

This is because consumers are looking for brands with a purpose – brands that are driven by a mission. and represent something important.

Superficial marketing campaigns won’t get away with it in 2019. What will be successful are authentic, human stories that allow your brand to connect with customers on a personal level . Smaller brands, in particular, have the opportunity to double or even triple their commitment with this personal approach.

Take the local Coffee Hub Xenia store, for example, which posted a behind the scenes video on Facebook. This simple video gave their community a behind-the-scenes look at the faces behind their brand and why the company exists 405 reactions, 221 shares, 63 comments, and 14,000 views aren’t bad at all for a page with just 2,400 mi. like it. Looking at the comments, it’s clear that this video had an emotional impact on their audience as well.

This Facebook post was unsuccessful because of the production or game quality of the Facebook algorithm, was successful because it told the inspiring story of a small business and the important part that they perform in their community.

Remember that effective s torytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations and psychology in order to truly impact your audience.

Play the long game focusing on building an engaged community

Social media is changing before our eyes.

The use of mobile devices, the lack of attention and the growing influence of Millennials and Generation Z’ers on social media continue to pave the way for short-lived and in-the-moment content in 2019. But at the same time these trends highlight an effective social media marketing strategy: community building.

There has been a general trend towards niche and active social media groups, with Facebook, the largest social media network in the world, pioneering “ empower people to build communities and bring the world closer ”.

The challenge (and opportunity) is to understand the role that social media plays in brand awareness with respect to sales.

If you’re a Digital-Native, Vertical Brand (DNVB), social media ads could be a key element of your overall acquisition strategy, as they should be! But if you’re also looking to grow your audience and engagement organically , then it’s worth investing time and resources into community building.

As Tarah Boyleston, head of marketing and design at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, explained in a recent interview:

“Nobody wants to follow a brand that’s just trying to sell them something. We share personal stories, family recipes and behind-the-scenes images of our life at the bakery. These glimpses into the “life of a cookie maker” are free!

This approach has allowed Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit to grow both online and offline.

3 steps to building a community on social media

1. The first step to building a community on social media is free yourself from always having a sales or traffic goal tied to each post. This will immediately help your content to be human and fun as people won’t feel like they’re sales.

2.The second step in community building is creating meaningful conversations and interactions with your customers. Make sure that every time they reach your brand on social media (or elsewhere) it’s a memorable experience. This will increase the likelihood that these people will share the positive experience with their friends.

3. And finally, the third step in community building is understanding that it’s a long journey to success. Growing your brand awareness doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen through a few posts or interactions. True growth comes with constancy and offers your customers a wonderful experience every time they come into contact with your brand.

A few final questions for a moment of reflection:
Where do you think Facebook marketing is headed in 2019?

Are brands and companies ready for success?

What types of Facebook posts work for your brand? And for what reason?

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