Pictures of Home

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Social media has given us access to a wealth of content, contacts and generally amazing stuff, but still can’t compare to the power and draw of pictures…especially pictures of the weather. But does that mean we should abandon all other forms of content? Of course not!

As you would expect of a strategic lead for an organisation’s social media activity, I regularly dip into the Insights for the University of Warwick’s Facebook page to see how our posts have fared. Usually, it’s a depressing experience where you realise that Facebook has shown our carefully selected update to less than 1,000 of our 43,000+ fans, resulting in fewer clicks, likes and comments than I have fingers.

That aside, it can offer some interesting stuff…for instance:

screenshot

Out of those five posts, one is jumping out for attention. As most of you will be unsurprised to see that this stellar performer was an image. This rather brilliant image to be precise…

thanks

Now, aside from how awesome this photo is, it got me interested to see how our photos generally perform compared to links and text updates, so I went back further into our Insights.

Again, I’m not announcing anything we didn’t already know by revealing that, when it comes to the engagement stats (clicks, likes, shares, comments – the good stuff), images win. Some of our links reached plenty of people, but the images were most likely to make people do something with them.

This trip down Insights Avenue also highlighted that, despite being a global institution of education, research and academic brilliance, the University of Warwick’s audience loves the weather as much as the next traditional British person does.

Case in point #1…on 14 March we posted this update about the death of political icon Tony Benn, which received a meagre 30 clicks and 22 likes, comments and shares.

However, on the same day we posted this iPhone photo of some fog on campus…

fog

…which attracted 1,709 clicks and 521 likes, comments and shares. Quite a difference.

Case in point #2…on 11 March this suitably academic update was offered to our audience (bear in mind, said audience has a lot of students and academic types likely to be at least a little engaged in posts like this among its number)…

…the result? 70 clicks and 10 likes, comments and shares.

Later that day, the sun came out and we posted this…

flowers

…a whopping 3,232 clicks and 2,019 likes, comments and shares (plus a reach of 25,392).

So what do we take from this? That we should just post pictures of campus in various types of weather on Facebook and drop everything else, right?

Well, no.

While it’s true that pictures are the most engaging items, there’s no point in limiting a Facebook page to images and images only.

After all, that’s what Instagram is for.

Instead, how about we use our images to make the rest of our content work harder? If we post the occasional quick win, but good quality image to guarantee a weekly boost of engagement and back that up with interesting content the rest of the week, surely that would be a sensible approach? Give your audience a little of what they want and plenty of what they didn’t realise they wanted, but will nonetheless find interesting.

Also, by varying your content your audience will get a much better offering and anyone stumbling across your page for the first time is likely to be impressed with the breadth of content and therefore could be more swayed to become a fan.

Which would be nice.

Now, if only Facebook would show our content to all of them without us having to put our hands in our pockets…

(PS apologies that the photos are not proper embeds from Facebook – WordPress didn’t want to play ball on them!)

*Photo credit: Kicki via Compfight cc

**Blog post song title reference: Pictures of Home by Deep Purple

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