What Makes a Facebook Page Successful?

What Makes a Facebook Page Successful?

Not all Facebook pages are created equally. I follow a handful of restaurants, businesses, non-profits, and museums. I also follow blogs, authors, and random artists. I've been trying to figure out why I connect with some and not others. This is what I've discovered.

I follow a weather team. You would think I'd want to see their updates because they are giving me important information I can use. Will there be a snow day tomorrow? Should I make plans for later in the week that will keep me outdoors for hours? I liked this page during Superstorm Sandy, but I have to admit, my eye currently passes over their Facebook updates without reading them. At all. Hence why I missed that we were getting a few inches of snow.

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I tried to figure out the why. Why would I turn down information that is right there in my news feed? And the main reason is that my brain has learned that jumbled in with their incredibly useful information is a lot of non-useful information: photos of sunsets sent in by people in the area, musings about weather from other points in history, educational pieces about how snowstorms develop. All well and good, but not the sort of thing I'm looking for personally in my Facebook feed.

I'm well aware that those may be the very same reasons why a different person connects with that news feed.

Next I moved on to examining why I connect with some museums over others. I get the status updates for two science museums. One has been open for years and is a wonderful brick-and-mortar museum, but they run a terrible Facebook campaign. I almost never read their status updates anymore. The other one is MoMath, a New York museum that opened on December 15th. Why do I subscribe to a faraway math museum? Well, I may visit it one day, but I also subscribe because they run a fantastic Facebook campaign that engages subscribers even if they'll never actually get to the brick-and-mortar space.

While the former science museum tends to post either updates about upcoming programs or recaps of past programs, Momath does a mixture of updates about the museum itself and math games and contests. This differs from the weather team that fills their feed with trivia because Momath's games and contests engages the reader. It's the difference between talking with and talking at. I play along with the games from my Facebook feed, and I enter their contests on the off-chance of winning tickets. But even if I don't win, I feel like I had fun playing along. I always read everything they post.

I looked at two restaurants, both local, that I follow on Facebook. Why do I always talk about going to one restaurant over the other? Consistency. One restaurant posts infrequently, and when they do, they usually state something along the lines of "come eat at our restaurant tonight." The problem is that they don't answer the question that follows in the subscriber's mind: why your restaurant instead of another?

The other restaurant posts every single day. They consistently post that night's specials and the soup of the day. They do this early in the afternoon so I have plenty of time to change my plans and choose their restaurant if the specials appeal to me. They also highlight random menu items, reminding people as they sit at their work desk, stomach rumbling, of past meals they may have enjoyed. I'm much more likely to suggest the second restaurant over the first, even if I enjoy both restaurants equally. The second one just does a better job of sticking in my head on a daily basis.

Go look at your Facebook likes and figure out what people are doing well to engage you and ways they're inadvertently losing your opinion and add your thoughts to my list.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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