Insights from analyzing posts on American Express’ Facebook Wall

Build it and they will come. But is this true for fan pages? To find out about strategies to maximize engagement, we analyzed posts on the American Express Facebook Wall.

Fan pages are all about engagement and the way you use your page is critical to its success. The tactical goal is to quickly move through a 3-stage process: building your fan base, getting them to read your posts, and motivating them to actively participate in the conversation.

Our approach – applying social media data mining to American Express

Company fan pages offer opportunities for analysis as they tend to have more liberal privacy settings, including access to comments on posts and “Like” counts.

Our approach was to analyze posts and compare responses from the corporate American Express Facebook Wall. We looked at 5,288 comments to posts over two months and then compared the posts to find which ones got the most people engaged. To measure engagement, we noted the number of comments per day and the number of likes per post. We used both measures, although “liking” a post is a passive response, while commenting on a post or writing on a company’s wall are actions of an active fan.

What we found

The post that received the highest number of comments per day and likes per day invited customers to share their weekend plans.

It’s easy for people to fill in the blank and describing their weekend is fun to do. As long as the topic is of interest, fill in the blank, true/false, and multiple choice questions/statements could all be effective ways to drive engagement on Facebook fan pages.

]Two other highly engaging posts on the Amex Facebook Wall succeeded due to the topics – summer vacation and favorite memories – which were cleverly tied to the product, the American Express card.

A different type of fan page post proved engaging too…  one that appealed to people’s aspirations and the “self” they want to portray online. Disaster relief, community activities, other fund raisers, and travel can be engaging for similar reasons.

Key takeaways

Fan pages are about creating engagement. Learning from our insights about American Express, you are likely to create engagement when you:

  • Make it easy for people by using “fill-in-the-blank,”
    multiple choice, true/false, or any other quick way to respond.
  • Address what people care about, such as an adventure or
    exciting event. For example, “I’m taking my Amex Card to ___________ with _________.”
  • Allow people to “show off” the exciting or significant things they’ve done.
    For example, “What summer memories did your Amex Card make possible?
  • Appeal to people’s aspirational self through a charitable cause or community event.