Recently released was a list of the top 40 stories that were shared on Facebook in 2011. Not surprisingly, there were some key trends across the list and lessons to be learned for those embarking on their Facebook marketing journey or those that simply want to improve in 2012.
Topically there aren’t many surprises – parenting, international tragedies and of several mindless things like the zodiac and a giant crocodile. But it’s not what was shared as much as how it was shared. When thinking back on the year, it is surprising what news stories made this list and which didn’t. Those that had a sensational, or controversial, twist made the list while other more objective viewpoints were glazed over. Here’s the trends from 2011 and what you can learn from it for your own posts.
Our Own Internal Struggles
Regardless of what heartfelt commercials are out this season, or what we want to believe about society, time and time again, we are reminded that people care about themselves more than they care about others. We see this as a trend on Facebook most shared stories in the number of stories relating to who people are and reasons why they could be destined to be an old maid or why men are from mars and women are from venus.
People respond to things that affect their personal understanding of themselves and what affects their comfort zone, for example Facebook’s round of changes in 2011. Really? Oh, yeah…that made the list.
The main part of this trend that affects people personally is parenting. You’ll see a lot of the posts have titles that are more about the parents than the children, and without going into too much psychology on the matter it gets people wondering how this relates to them and if they fall into the bad parenting category – something people spend their whole lives hoping they aren’t but never sure if they are.
Morale of the Story:
Appeal to who people are and what they care about personally, which should be an easy thing to do in the hair and beauty business! Think about playing on what people could be doing wrong or could be missing out on, rather than what they could improve.
Focus on topical news and items that appeal to your clients’ lifestyles and life obstacles. Be the company that understands and can help, without having to tell them so.
#2 What teachers really want to tell parents (CNN)
#4 Parents, don’t dress your girls like tramps (CNN)
#7 You’ll freak when you see the new Facebook (CNN)
#11 Parents keep child’s gender under wraps (Yahoo)
#12 How to Talk to Little Girls (The Huffington Post)
#14 Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior (Wall Street Journal)
#17 Why You’re Not Married (The Huffington Post)
#21 Notes From a Dragon Mom (New York Times)
#22 A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy” (The Huffington Post)
#28 Permissive parents: Curb your brats (CNN)
#29 A father’s day wish: Dads, wake the hell up!(CNN)
Devastation & Change
Coming up frequently in this list was the tragedy in Japan early in 2011. The coverage of this tragedy across all social media was nothing to shake a stick at. Within hours of the tragedy, several charitable organizations sprung an organized response to the immediate need for help.
In sharp contrast to the first trend we saw, people really do care! But you have to tug the heart strings to get them to listen. Regular news was shown to not be enough when it came to sharability. You have to work with emotion; and at times be a little controversial. Take a stance on something. Form and opinion and toss it out there to see where you sit with the rest of society.
Morale of the Story:
Stear clear of simply stating the news since we’ve all heard it before. How long have we been complaining about the war(s) overseas and taxes? If you want people to listen AND share your news take a unique position on it and try to make it an emotional or thought-provoking stance. For example, with all the press coverage regarding the passing of Steve Jobs, his sisters emotional eulogy topped the lot with sharability.
#1 Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami (New York Times)
#6 At funeral, dog mourns the death of Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan (Yahoo)
#13 Stop Coddling the Super-Rich (New York Times)
#27 Widespread destruction from Japan earthquake, tsunamis (CNN)
#18 A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs (New York Times)
#34 The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s Death (The Huffington Post)
#36 Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth’s axis (CNN)
A brief glimpse of light
Amongst all of the harsh reality, people relish the precious moments that they can focus on the positive side of life. From watching a touching video to reading about an inspirational teenager, people like a bit of the cup half full.
The top shared stories on Facebook that were of the lighthearted sort were in multi-media format – virally spreading YouTube videos or photo galleries. Fun imagery that made people laugh, made people think about opportunity and brewed a little happy juice.
Morale of the Story:
Give your fans a break once in a while and share something that makes them smile. It doesn’t always have to be about business, and Facebook certainly shouldn’t always be about business. This trend demonstrates that.
#5 (video) – Father Daughter Dance Medley (Yahoo)
#15 (video) – Twin Baby Boys Have A Conversation! (Yahoo)
#25 Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Captivates Internet (Yahoo)
#30 (video) – Laughing Baby Loves Ripping Paper! (Yahoo)
#35 (photo gallery) – ‘Where Children Sleep’ (New York Times)
You can check out the full list on the Facebook blog. Did you notice one post that had to do about business? Or a promotion? Definitely not. So if you learn nothing else from this blog or the list of most shared posts on Facebook, know this: Facebook is still not a place for direct sales. Think about networking and relationship building and the sales will come as a bi-product.
Why did they make it 40, not a round number like say 50? Not too sure, but maybe the last ten were about kittens and no one wanted to admit it.