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The Most Effective Calls to Action for Facebook Posts

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Simply asking people to share a post is often the most effective call to action (CTA) for Facebook posts by brands, according to a recent report from TrackMaven.

Posts that include the word "share" garner nearly two times as many social actions (likes, comments, and shares) on average compared with those that do not (4.02 vs. 2.19 average interactions per post), the analysis found.

Use of the word "please" was also found to be an effective CTA, with nearly double the average number of interactions as well.

Of the words examined, "now" was found to be the least effective: Posts including the word have only marginally greater effectiveness than those that do not.


Despite the effectiveness of some CTAs, the report notes, marketers must bear in mind that the latest News Feed algorithm change penalizes Pages that engage in "feed spam behavior," which is defined by Facebook as "when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive."

Accordingly, the authors suggest marketers follow Facebook's advice and create calls to action that are "genuinely trying to encourage discussion among fans."

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on an analysis of 1,578,006 posts shared by brands on 5,804 Facebook Pages.

Hashtags

  • 83.9% of the posts examined did not contain any hashtags.
  • Among posts that included hashtags, the majority had only a single hashtag, accounting for 11.6% of all posts.
  • Posts that included hashtags had more interactions on average than those that did not.
  • Posts with one or two hashtags had more engagement on average than those with three or four.
  • Only 0.02% of the posts examined used seven hashtags, but those that did had exceptional engagement, with 5.41 average interactions per post.

Punctuation

  • 71.2% of the Facebook posts examined did not include an exclamation point, 21.6% used a single one, 5.2% had three, and 2% included four or more.
  • The analysis found a positive correlation between post effectiveness and number of exclamation points per post.
  • Posts with seven exclamation points had the most engagement, with 7.8 interactions on average.

  • 78.1% of the Facebook posts examined did not contain a question mark, 19.6% had a single one, 1.8% included two, and 0.48% had three or more.
  • As with exclamation points, the analysis found a positive correlation between post effectiveness and the inclusion of question marks: Posts without question marks had fewer average interactions per post (2.35) than those that included one or more questions marks (2.90).
  • Posts that used nine question marks had extremely high engagement, with 6.05 average interactions per post on average, but such post accounted for fewer than 0.002% of posts.

About the research: The report was based on 1,578,006 posts shared by brands on 5,804 Facebook Pages. All of the Pages included had a minimum of 1,000 Likes.


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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategy and content consultant. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His experience includes working as a strategist and producer of digital content for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and AOL.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Dan Fri Jun 20, 2014 via web

    While I agree (and have seen this work well) seeing that some of these terms and tactics directly contradict Facebook's recent changes to 'prevent newsfeed spam', do you have concerns that using these tactics will result in your posts actually being seen less in the long run?

    “Like-baiting” is when a post explicitly asks News Feed readers to like, comment or share the post in order to get additional distribution beyond what the post would normally receive

  • by Regina Floyd Mon Jun 23, 2014 via web

    Wow...thank you! This clarified so much for me in terms of increasing post engagement without getting frowned upon by Facebook.

  • by Sean Swentek Wed Jun 25, 2014 via web

    This is great info! Unfortunately, as you state in the article, the new Facebook algorithm makes this data somewhat useless. Explicitly asking for likes and shares will be heavily penalized in the new algorithm, as will terms like "comment", "read", etc. that tell the user what to do.

    Cheers.

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