There’s a story going around that talks about how wonderful, in terms of garnering engagement on Facebook, updates that have some sort of “fill in the blank” component are.
Shelly Kramer, the author of the post, points out that where these updates primarily win is in getting comments, with other forms of updates actually seeing higher overall engagement. So they’re not an absolute slam dunk across categories.
But my problem here is that these sorts of things are such low-calorie filler it’s often not worth doing. Plus, the opportunities for the wisenheimers in the audience to come out of the wordwork here is that much higher. This goes back to the idea that you need to have someone with a twisted, demented sense of humor on your team to help talk you out of these things. If you say “We’re going to ask our fans to fill in the blank on the statement ‘Eating at Generic Fast Food Chain makes me feel ______’” to that person they will immediately say “gassy” and there, the idea’s done.
What I’m saying is this: Yes, those type of posts may get more comments but what’s the value of those comments? What percentage are on topic? Are those posts – and the attendant comments – doing anything to increase the positive portrayal of the brand on social networks?
Comments – along with any other form of engagement or interaction – in and of themselves are not an absolute good. Yes, they may be among the program’s goals but that doesn’t mean you need to resort to high-risk/low-reward tactics to achieve them. And that’s exactly what stuff like this is.
There are instances, I’ll admit, where these sorts of things do make sense. But mostly they work best for brands and products that are almost universally beloved, where people are attracted out of a sense of loyalty to the brand and not because they want a forum to give someone a piece of their mind.
All this means is brand managers, those running the publishing program, need to think long and hard about whether something like this makes sense or if there is too much potential downside to such tactics. They may pull in comments but while that can be a good thing it can also go south quickly and that needs to be considered carefully.