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New Wharton Research – Persuasive Content Most Effective on Facebook

November 5, 2013

Today Wharton Professor Kartik Hosanagar held a webinar to discuss new research on Facebook Content Strategies. Professor Hosanager used a data set of 106,316 Facebook Posts from 782 companies.  Those posts were categorized into 16 different content types (humor, philanthropy, product, deal, etc.). They reviewed the 450 million page fan responses to that content to determine content effectiveness for Likes and Comments on Facebook.

The research showed that “persuasive content” is the key to success.

prof“We find that inclusion of persuasive content − like emotional and philanthropic content − increases engagement with a message. We find that informative content − like mentions of prices, availability and product features − reduce engagement when included in messages in isolation, but increase engagement when provided in combination with persuasive attributes.”

Persuasive is a bit of an academic term in this context. They mean content which creates an emotional, trust or logic connection. This is as opposed to “informative” content which discusses product features and prices. Note that the professor clarified in the Q&A that the research is for B-C companies. Informative content for B-B is successful.

To clarify, I asked about content strategies for direct response, such as click/buy. Professor Hosanager appreciated the question as it allowed him to note that offers may not produce the same engagement, but they may produce clicks/revenue. Basically corporations may chose to trade off viral reach for revenue.

At SimpleFeed we find that Social Media Managers often frown down upon product and offer content. However, this research suggests that it is really about context. This content can be successful, even measured with engagement metrics, if it is presented with emotional, trust or logical context and connection.

results aloneProfessor Hosanager concluded with recommended three strategies

Signal Brand Personality

Highlight Social Initiatives

Use product posts with persuasive content

Typically I find academic research behind the curve, but this could not have been more timely and insightful. Our customers are eager for best practices on social content publishing. This is particularly true as Social Media Marketing is no longer just the purview of full time practitioners. A big theme for SimpleFeed in 2014 is helping part time social media mangers – channel partners, thought leaders, etc. make informed decision on social publishing . For example, our newest technology analyzes all possible content for a customer and makes recommendations on the best content to publish.

The complete research is available here.

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