Three scientific ways to get your fans to spread the word
Dan Zarrella does it again.
Here’s what he’s learned:
1. Keep it simple.
The lower the reading grade level of the article headline, the more likely it is to get shared on Facebook, Zarrella’s research shows. For instance, headlines written at the:
- Fifth-grade level got shared 15 percent more often than average
- Ninth-grade level got shared 10 percent more often than average
- 15th-grade level got shared nearly 20 percent less often than average
2. Numbers count.
The same thing’s true in social media. Add a numeral to the headline for your blog posting, and it will make the rounds more widely on Facebook.
“In a wide range of marketing arenas, digits have been shown to perform very well,” Zarrella writes. “They tend to help conversion rates in the form of prices. And on social news sites like Digg, ‘Top 10’ style posts have always done well.”
In Zarrella’s research, blog posting and article headlines:
- Including the numerals 1 through 9 got passed along 1.25 percent more often than average
- Without digits got shared nearly .75 percent less often than average
3. Publish on the weekend.
People post fewer articles on Facebook on the weekend. But the stories that do get posted on Saturday and Sunday get shared more often, on average, than those that get posted during the week.
One reason is that more than half of U.S. companies block Facebook, so people can only use the social network at home, Zarrella says. Also, the mainstream Facebook audience doesn’t use Facebook for work.
Zarrella found that pieces posted on:
- Saturday get passed along nearly 40 percent more often than average
- Sunday get shared more than 15 percent more often than average
- Weekdays get shared about as often as or a little less often than average
“If you want your article to be shared on Facebook,” Zarrella says, “try posting it on the weekend.”
Check out Zarrella’s Facebook-sharing research methodology.