Friday, June 08, 2012

The Facebook Five

There is a particular strength to every social tool. As argued before, time perceived to be "saved" with a post once, appear everywhere approach works against messages tuned for the platform. Or, in a hunting analogy, you can hit a lot of stuff with a shotgun, but you'll hit the target if you aim a rifle. Here's a checklist to gauge the potential of your Facebook post.  

Post in the moment; nobody really likes leftovers.  

Everybody loves their grandma  

Whenever possible, show, don't tell  

There is no substitute for being there  

Don't waste a friend's most valuable commodity: time

Any Facebook post needs at least one of these concepts to receive any attention. Don't believe it? When was the last time you paid any attention to a friend's Nike or Cyclemeter post that they just finished a run or a ride? Maybe the first time you noticed it, and gave them an "atta boy" like for exercising. After that, they became the antithesis of the Facebook Five: it was posted after it happened, it was soulless data, there's nothing to see, you didn't share where you went and most of all, it became an annoyance that wasted the viewer's time (and got you one step closer to being blocked).  Two words: Mafia Wars.  Need I say more?

Combine two or three, there's really opportunity for interaction. Get four or all five, you will have impact.

Here is a real example. We still post a lot of news stories on the Northwestern State Facebook page. It has more to do with a lack of population density and mobile follower logistics -- the feeds act too much like Twitter. Predictably, those posts underperform.

When I am out on campus and capture moments, we see interaction spike. Last weekend, we hosted the largest Freshman Connection session ever -- well over 500 -- and we anticipate this bodes for a record freshman class. We captured snippets of video, posted photos and encouraged them to become friends of the main NSU feed and their respective academic and social areas during meetings.

A signature event was the faux pep rally at the football stadium. All the freshman went on the field. We do it at night so the lights and video board are on. The head coach comes out and fires up the kids. With my smartphone, I capture a simple photo that shows the size of the group and the place -- and I post it immediately.

Within 28 minutes, 28 likes and the comments begin. The capture above was done at that 28 minute moment.  By morning, this photo has one of the best interactions in weeks (73 like, just over 2100 uniques; 20% reach), including comments from alumni (Oh, I remember Freshman Connection 25 years ago) and future students (I'll be there in two weeks for the next one -- can't wait). Why?

The post scored four and the comments took it to five. The photo (Visual) was snapped and posted during the event (Immediate) from the field (Mobility) with a short description (Brevity). I'd argue there wasn't a lot of Sentiment, but the alumni added that through the comments.

Over the next week or so, come back as we break down the components of the Facebook Five. Then, we'll move on to the Twitter Three and end with the Social Seven.

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