Getting More Facebook Clicks – an experiment and some thoughts

our popular facebook post

My library has been running some experiments and pilot projects on our Facebook Page – some on our own, and some with help from Ben Bizzle (who’s doing some research on Facebook Pages) and so far, they have been really successful. This post explains one of them.

See the ecards image? Ben had posted this to a couple of library Facebook Pages, and it was pretty successful – so he asked if I could post it to Topeka’s Facebook Page. So I did – at what I thought would be a rotten time to post – 9:08 am on a Thursday morning.

I was wrong.

This post is the most popular post EVER for Topeka’s Facebook Page. Here are the basic stats I’m getting for it so far:


And from Facebook Insights, I’m seeing this:

  • Reach – 3900 (Reach is the number of unique people who have seen the post)
  • Engaged Users – 748 (Engaged Users is the number of unique users who have clicked on the post)
  • Talking about This – 660 (Talking about This is the number of unique users who have clicked like, commented on, or shared the post anywhere – not just on your page)
  • Virality – 16.92% (Virality is the percentage of people who have clicked the story from the page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it).

A bit more about Virality, because for us anyway, this is HUGE. The median Virality rate for Facebook Pages, according to ZDNet anyway, tends to be around 1.92%, and a really stong Virality rate, meaning your post was pretty popular, is around +2.5%.

So you can see why I’m getting a wee bit excited about a 16.92% rate, right? That is HUGE. And not just “huge for my little ole Topeka Library” huge. This is actually a pretty big accomplishment. And one I’d like to see more of on my library’s Facebook Page.

So what’s going on here? Why did this particular post get so big? Here are some thoughts on that (you might have some ideas too – I’d love to hear them):

  • It’s visual. Visual is HOT right now. Think Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, etc. And honestly, those victorian ecard thingies are pretty hot too at the moment. So we were picking up on a trendy thing.
  • Visual is also pretty useful. The image supports the message of the post, so more people get it (i.e., those visual thinkers).
  • Another trend – images with words. People like finding an image and putting funny words on them. So … another trendy thing that people might enjoy if done well.
  • The message connects with something our customers love. As in books and reading.
  • Hit on an emotion. This particular message touched on a feeling that apparently many readers have – that horrid feeling towards the end of a book, when you know you’re almost done and there’s NO MORE. I can relate – I had that feeling towards the end of book 7 of the Harry Potter series. So we hit a nerve that our customers could relate to.
  • We asked for it. We asked a question in the post (“We’re curious – does this ever happen to you?”) and people answered the question.

OK David, so you got a lot of likes and comments and shares. So what? How does that help the library? I have an answer for that. A couple of them:

  • Helps your message Rise to the Top: Here’s how Facebook works right now. You don’t see everything. Most people only see highlights (called Top Stories) of the daily postings of the people and organizations they have friended (that’s the default setting – you have to actually click Sort to see everything). If you post stuff that’s popular and a bit viral, that means that those particular posts will “rise to the top” and will actually be seen by more people.
  • More eyes is a good thing: When someone likes, shares, or comments on your post, that post has a good chance of being seen by that person’s Facebook friends, too. So the more interaction you get, the farther your reach spreads out.
  • Like once, might like more: If someone likes one of your posts, they are more likely to watch for and interact with more of your posts. So be silly, funny, or tongue-in-cheek sometimes, and share links to books, events, or online resources other times. Your Facebook fans will start to notice, and will end up seeing and interacting with more of YOUR LIBRARY.
  • Time of day: experiment with posting at different times of the day. We have been posting a lot at night, getting that evening Facebook crowd. By posting at 9am, who did we get? My guess – people who just got to work … who also have their Facebook account up, either on their work computer or on a mobile device sitting at their desk.

I’d love to hear your Facebook Page successes! Share away!

Oh – and if you like this post, you might also like my new book, called Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media tools to Create Great Customer Connections. Get it now!

  • Amy Bradley

    “If someone likes one of your posts, they are more likely to watch for
    and interact with more of your posts. So be silly, funny, or
    tongue-in-cheek sometimes, and share links to books, events, or online
    resources other times.”

    I think this is such an important point, and one libraries can sometimes neglect with social media. One reason people use Facebook is to connect and de-stress, so it pays off for libraries to be quirky, clever and have fun with social media. It isn’t enough to do updates about programs and events; posting something of-the-moment that makes people laugh or hits another emotion can be a great way to connect with them and increase the library’s visibility.

  • Jeremy Snell

    We’ve seen similar responses to image posting and question prompting. Once upon a time, we mostly posted about us (events, programming, etc) but there was rarely any activity. A year ago we moved away from this model and instead started posting more community links, links to interesting articles, and photos (and occasionally about us). Photos still remain the most popular content.

    Today we started playing around with Instagram and our first photo posted from Instagram to our fb wall has already received 19 likes and 2 shares (we have 677 pages likes). I’m excited by the increase in visibility we might be seeing if this trend continues.

  • Tamara Murray

    We’ve had a lot of luck with images, especially recently. This one of a sign in our Circulation workroom got a lot of likes. Zombies are sooo in right now:

  • Denise Murray

    I feel like a dunce. I share images all the time on my personal FB page but have avoided them on my library’s Page for some reason. I just shared this one and I’m hoping it gets similar engagement. I’ve noticed that the sillier updates I make that are more fun get more responses.

  • Genesis Hansen

    Copied your experiment – first comment posted within 30 seconds! I have a good feeling about this…

  • Bobby

    This totally worked for us today. I posted a similar image early in the day, and it’s well on its way to becoming our most popular. Virality is currently at 29.68%!?!?! (Our previous best this month was 2.69%). The moral of the story: images and humor are a winning combination.

  • davidleeking

    Wow – that’s huge. Thanks for sharing!

  • davidleeking

    I’ve had many of those “well, duh” moments myself. No better time to start than now, right?

  • Genesis Hansen

    Update: virality at 15.64%! In the past year, only 3 posts went higher than 3%, and the previous high was 5.79%. Now I’m looking for more fun images to schedule for future posts. Such a simple thing. I’m gobsmacked!

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  • Peterals

    This is the “how-to-create-a-meme” part in library marketing!This picture was also put up on the Pinterest Pin Board “Book Community Board” – and I guess going viral on even more places on Pinterest.

  • Heather Gallagher

    I used this experiment less than 24 hours ago for my small rural library. We only have 218 people that like our page, but the visual ecard post reached 139 people and the virality is currently 15.11%!
    I will definitely keep using this idea! It’s a simple and fun way to engage my users!

  • KathyS

    I have also noticed that images and humor are very good at getting “likes” and engagement, and the particular image you used as an example was *huge* for us. I always ask questions with the images, but only infrequently get comments back. The page started out as teen oriented, so I think a majority of our fans are teens. I heard that most FB status commenters are middle-aged females rather than teens, and the pattern seems to hold for our library as well. Teens are interested, but don’t comment.

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  • MD

    any similar examples in academic libraries ?

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  • Nicole Feiner

    Just read this blog & am wondering about the copyrights? Is that anything to worry about with ecards or other sites? I want to try this with our small library but would like to make sure that I am not making any errors!

  • davidleeking

    It’s not something to worry about with this particular ward company. They make them for sharing, so it’s cool.

  • Pat

    Great ideas! Where can we find these ecards? – from a Librarian in NY

  • davidleeking

    You can find them at – cool site!

  • Pat L.

    We are trying to migrate from a personal fan page set up by our library (at one point you needed a personal adminstrator) to a business page to make posting easier. Any thoughts so we would lose our fan base? Thanks

  • Pat L.

    Sorry – that was “so we won’t lose our fan base.”

  • davidleeking

    Yes! There’s an easy way to do this – go here – – and follow the directions. Facebook has a way to do a transfer from a personal profile to an organization Page account… this should keep your friends intact (fingers crossed).

  • Pat L.

    Thanks so much. This is still a work in progress for us.