The process of 'doing' Facebook got a whole lot tougher in 2015. Organic reach is way down, video views are way up, and Facebook itself is doing its utmost to convince more brands to forget their own blogs and pages and conduct all their business on their network instead. Better reach, better mobile experience - what's not to like? Working out the best way to utilize Facebook is becoming more complex, with the sheer amount of options available - from ads to Page tools - growing every day. There are ways to 'win' at Facebook, there are ways to achieve great results, both organic and paid, but there's a lot more to consider, and a lot more to learn.
With this in mind, it's worth taking a moment to consider what is working on Facebook right now, what content's generating great reach and results - and most importantly, what can we learn from it? To help on this front, social analytics company CrowdTangle recently put together a listing of the top Facebook posts of 2015. CrowdTangle defined 'top' posts as those with the most interactions (Likes, shares, and comments) and their research looked at "hundreds of thousands of accounts, including every verified account on Facebook" - so while it's not every single possible data point, it's a fairly indicative sample, and worth noting either way.
Here are CrowdTangle's top ten posts, and what we can take from their popularity on the platform.
10. Music Crowns (6.7 million interactions)
A Ride Through Time! WARNING: May Contain Naked Hot Chicks
Introducing @SketchShe's 'Mime Through Time' - a ride through the ages! WARNING: contains hot chicks getting naked and thrusting hips https://youtu.be/PMpQUsQcJFgPosted by Music Crowns on Tuesday, March 31, 2015
This video looking at a range of musical genres and styles through history, performed by Australian comedy trio SketchShe, went huge earlier in the year - they even appeared on Ellen as a result of its sudden rise to prominence.
So what can we take from the popularity of this video? Creativity still reigns supreme - probably even moreso in the age of short form video content. This is why so many brands are now looking at influencer marketing and the opportunities it provides - it can be hard to come up with a compelling, original content idea. But the benefits of doing so can be huge. In the case of SketchShe, they also use sex appeal, which helps them reach a wider audience, but creativity is at the core of what they do. If want massive reach, it can play a huge part.
9. Tavi Casto (7.2 million interactions)
This is another one that highlights the value of creativity - and you have to admit, it's a compelling performance. What's of particular interest with this one is that the performer is former So You Think You Can Dance winner Du-Shaunt 'Fik-Shun' Stegall, but it's been posted by Dutch athlete Tavi Castro. Given the problems Facebook has had with freebooting, it's interesting to see a curated video is among the most shared, delivering great results for the sharer. Of course, I have no idea if Castro had permission to re-post this particular video, and I'm not speculating that it's an issue either way, but it does go some way towards highlighting the power of content curation and the potential benefits it can bring.
8. Being Mommy (7.22 million interactions)
Okay, it's Facebook - you knew there'd be posts like this come up. Quote posts went big time in 2015, especially those that elicit an emotional response. It seems like a kind of cheap tactic, but if the message is on-brand and it resonates with your target audience, posts like this can deliver great reach results. How much of that reach actually results in paying customers is a whole other question, but if you can generate reach from quote posts like this, it'll greatly increase the reach of all your other Page posts as well. Remember the purpose of your outreach efforts, and don't get sucked into vanity metrics, and it is possible to use quote posts to great effect.
7. Vin Diesel (7.6 million interactions)
Vin Diesel is undeniably massive on Facebook. His established Hollywood celebrity, combined with the wide-reaching popularity of 'The Fast and the Furious' movies has delivered him a massive fan base - he actually has the third most Liked celebrity fan Page on the platform (behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Shakira) with more than 96m fans.
The lesson to take from this? Be Vin Diesel. Or get Vin Diesel to post about your stuff. Outside of that, not much to say.
He doesn't even need to add a caption.
6. Tip Hero (7.8 million interactions)
This is a great example of how to use social video to showcase your content in new and creative ways. Food blogging is a big deal, and food related content - particularly on visual sites like Pinterest - is equally huge. You can see this reflected in the popularity of sites like BuzzFeed Food, which is regularly featured among the most viewed video content listings on Facebook.
This video again highlights the importance of creativity, but it also showcases the power of simplicity and clever editing to deliver the most effective message. If you're considering getting into video and you're not sure what to post (and you don't particularly want to be on camera yourself) how-to content like this can be hugely beneficial for your audience - and remember, things that you do every day and may seem boring may actually be quite complex and highly interesting to your audience.
5. Vin Diesel (8.1 million interactions)
Be Vin Diesel. That is all.
4. Morgan Michaels (8.2 million interactions)
The power of faith is very strong, and this is reflected in the popularity of this post. In terms of lessons, this post obviously appeals to people's emotional connection with the message, and eliciting emotional response - in some form - should always be a goal in your content marketing. The only way to compel sharing is to get people to respond, to make people want to share your message for some reason. What makes people want to share your content? Why would anyone want to click 'Share' or 'Like' and have that message aligned to their Facebook presence?
Worth also considering - what does sharing this post say about the sharer themself? If it represents an image of themselves that people want to project, that's also a strong draw.
3. Wave 105 (8.4 million interactions)
This is another message with a clear emotional draw, and the message is one which reflects positively on the sharer, while also resonating with a lot of people. Understanding the psychology of emotion in this sense can deliver huge results. It's not easy to do, and it's even harder to do within a brand context, but messaging that packs an emotional punch beyond the basic words on the screen works well in the Facebook eco-system.
2. (8.5 million interactions)
This post from Egyptian news Page Alhayah Alaan depcits a groups of people forming an Arabic symbol - the translation, according to Facebook, is "If you like it.... Write the name of God." From what I can ascertain this is a message of positivity, though I'm not sure of its full origin or meaning.
1. King red (11.7 million interactions)
And the number one post, based on interactions as measured by CrowdTangle, is this one, a picture of a young boy who's beaten cancer, asking for Likes. Again, this draws on emotional triggers to elicit response, and these types of images show up pretty regularly across most social sites. The lesson we can take from this is, again, the importance of emotion in compelling response - if you can get users to connect with your message and give them a reason to share it further, that's a winning formula.
The listing from CrowdTangle is both surprising and expected in equal measure. For some of these posts, it's amazing to see the response they've received, but then again, when you think about it, and when you compare it to your own Facebook experience and what people share, it kinda makes sense. And while many of these examples, in themselves, are not the type of content that brands should be looking to deliver to their audiences, it's worth thinking a little more about exactly why people have shared these posts, what are the emotional elements at play that have compelled sharing. You may not be Vin Diesel (and I'd suggest he's something of an anomaly in this context) and you probably shouldn't just go for raw, emotional posts in order to generate attention. But there are psychological reasons behind why these posts are so highly shared, and those triggers are the ones you need to consider and tap into to maximize response.
Main image via Shutterstock