A couple of months ago I had a record breaking Facebook post. It was ridiculously successful, certainly the biggest post for Time to Change, but I was at a conference a little while ago and Oxfam were talking about their biggest ever post reaching 5 million people. Ours was 8.2 million, suggesting we might have beaten them too…
I’m generally alright at predicting how well posts will do and I was pretty sure this one would be post of the month, but post of the whole seven year programme was definitely unexpected!
This was it, for Depression Awareness Week 2015. It got 19,505 likes, 100,976 shares, 550 comments and a reach of 8.2 million.
“Today is the start of Depression Awareness Week 2015.
Whatever depression feels like for each of us who experience it, no one should feel ashamed of what they’re going through.
Our latest personal stories on living with depression and challenging stigma: http://bit.ly/1Dh9dWq“
Because it was so unusually successful, a few people asked why I thought it did so well.
Here are 10 things I came up with:
- Luck – sometimes there’s no competition, you just get lucky and your content breaks through the noise of the day
- Awareness days are always big – it’s pure social capital, everyone wants to be part of the action
- It’s depression – the most common of all mental health problems, often traversing the field of mental health
- Timing – I was a little bit cheeky here as it was Depression Alliance‘s day, I kept an eye on their page on my commute thinking if they post before 9am then the rest of the day is fair game. As it was they still hadn’t posted by 9.50, so I decided to go for it. Being the bandwagon people are jumping onto is a huge advantage, it would have been totally fair if that was Depression Alliance’s bandwagon, but I wasn’t going to wait all day for them to get there.
- Layout – a couple of years ago I downloaded this app called Diptic and, when I was working at Mind, tried out a post in one of their 4 square formats. It turned out to be really popular, so I’ve been using that format quite regularly since
- Personal stories – I tried to make the copy on this as relatable as possible, using some of my own experience but written in a way I knew would ‘work’ as well as experiences from people who had written blogs for us in the past. This makes the most of social capital, people share it because it’s how they feel too.
- In the final box I used some really campaigny language, which I knew had the potential to energise every single person who likes our page, because it’s the best of what we do in one inspiring summary
- Headlines – in my experience, posts with headlines do better than posts without
- Inclusivity – I never want to be top down when I post, never giving a piece of content to our audience, but sharing it with them as equals
- Copy format – I think this is the ideal layout for a post, I wrote it a few times, testing different word and character configurations on mobile and desktop until I was sure it would perform well
They’re my 10, you might have others, or have had similar success yourself, I’d be interested to hear!