The Case For Serialized Content on Facebook: 4 Steps to Increase Engagement

TV shows are like Facebook.

Take the show Duck Dynasty, for instance, which was recently announced as the top trending show for 2012 on Facebook, by Facebook:

(photo: Facebook)

Fans have been watching this new show (which just finished season 2) and talking about it on Facebook more than any other, and they are more tuned to a marketing message now than ever before. Why is that? We worked with A&E to ensure their audience expects qualtity, relevant content.

TV shows are scheduled. Fans expect them to appear at certain times. At GLOW, this is the approach we take when posting social content, something we call serialized content, content that is:

  1. Relevant to an audience
  2. Familiar in design
  3. Authentic to our client’s brand voice and aesthetic
  4. Timed strategically so it reaches the highest number of fans

(See the bottom of this post for examples of serialized content we’ve produced for Duck Dynasty, as well as other across the web that we like.)

“Wait. Timed?” you say? “But isn’t social media supposed to be of-the-moment and be ready to pivot at a moments notice?” Well, sure it is, but that’s not the whole picture. We’ve had continued success doing the opposite when it comes to posting social content (strictly content for right now, let’s leave apps and “fan-generated micro-content” out for the moment.). By posting a set of 10–15 images over the course of 7–10 days, that all follow the same asesthetic, we’ve seen the momentum of that series returns an increase in engagement in a monumental way.

Nowadays, people think that you have to pay to reach all of your fans. In reality, you weren’t reaching all of them in the first place! That’s why until very recently, Facebook said nothing had changed. There’s no way Coca-Cola is reaching its millions of fans prior to all of this “Facebook-reach-and-engagement-down” talk started almost a year ago, just like nobody is actually getting all of their Twitter followers to read every tweet.

EdgeRank Checker reported in November about the changes to the Edgerank algorithm according to Facebook’s news feed product manager, Will Cathcart. It basically said that if you like stuff, you’ll see more of it. If you don’t, you won’t. If your friends like it, you’ll see more of it.

So as producer of social content, what do you do?

You adopt a serialized content approach. Content that is relevant to the audience and carries a tone that the brand carries. Content that is familiar in style from piece to piece so the visual is enough to draw eyes, not just the textual message. Content that is posted at specific times based on historical data illustrating the habits of your social audience.

We’ve seen success on numerous occasions in 2012 employing this strategy. Similar to a television show airing it’s content at regular times and intervals, we post social content in the same manner. This conditions your social audience to expect certain content from your brand at certain times, with a certain aesthetic.

In 2013, it will be crucial for brands to take advantage of the mobile platform domination as well as developments in Big Data so that they can reach their audiences with greater measurable success.

Now that you and your audience are in tune with each other, engagement stats should start to reflect it.