Tweets and Facebook likes are not precise metrics to determine virality of content but they’re like dopamine shots for online journalists.
A moderately viral story after 15 hours has these numbers:
Content that goes hyperviral has these tweets, likes, and +1s:
My point? None. I just like dopamine.
- From “Strategies for effective tweeting: A statistical review,” a new white paper by New York marketing company Buddy Media.
Buddy Media analyzed user engagement of more than 320 Twitter handles of the world’s top brands from December 11, 2011 and February 23, 2012.
Key takeaways for social media desks:
Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17% higher on Saturday and Sunday compared to weekdays, but brands don’t take advantage of this trend.
Twitter is the source for real-time news, and followers use the social network to be the first in the know.
While Tweets during “busy hours” receive significantly more engagement, Facebook posts show the reverse trend.
Keep it simple and short. Tweets that contain less than 100 characters receive 17% higher engagement than longer tweets.
Tweets that contain links receive 86% higher Retweet rates than Tweets with no links.
Tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without hashtags.
Tweets that specifically ask followers to “Retweet” or “RT” receive 12 times higher retweet rates than those that do not use this call to action.
When followers are specifically asked to “retweet” (by spelling out the whole word), the retweet rate is 23 times higher than average.
I’ve been teaching my social media students about professional uses of Facebook in recent weeks, including Rockville Central, the Maryland news site that made news this spring when it moved all publishing to Facebook.
Imagine my surprise last Friday when I read its farewell note to readers, just as I was heading in to class to discuss Rockville’s success. As full-time, unpaid volunteers, Rockville site operators Brad Rourke and Cindy Cotte Griffiths explained they could no longer devote the time to do it right. But they made this clear: They counted the move to FB as a success. Yes, the Notes function was lousy for posting news and story archiving a nightmare.
But their audience numbers on FB jumped, they say, suggesting the act of creating a community of news followers within a social network made a difference. I think community makes a huge difference, especially online. I also think that’s the future of news, despite protestations from some in the industry.
It’s a delicate endeavor, though, especially on FB. The social network instituted some changes in recent weeks designed to attract more professional media workers by omitting the friending/fanning nomenclature that makes a lot of people queasy.