The vast majority of posts on social media sites produce no engagement, according to a study by SocialFlow, which analyzed 1.6 million organic posts on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ by ordinary users, media companies, publishers, and marketers. On the positive side, however, SocialFlow also found that organic (as opposed to paid) posts still generate substantial reach.
Among the 1.6 million posts analyzed by SocialFlow, 99% produced little or no engagement, and 95% produced no engagement at all. The posts that produced high engagement — meaning more than roughly 20,000 interactions per post — tended to come from big entertainment or media companies, SocialFlow noted. Meanwhile marketers in other industry verticals “tend to have content that falls somewhere on the long tail,” the report went on.
Turning to specific posting strategies, SocialFlow found higher engagement rates for “data-driven” posts, referring to posts targeted to certain audience segments based on predictive algorithms taking into account their behaviors, when they are active, and trending topics, outperform ordinary posts by a large margin.
The study also found that “real-time” posts — for example about breaking news, celebrity gossip, and the like — can benefit media and entertainment companies, but have little benefit for marketers in categories like technology, retail, fashion, healthcare, and non-profits.
Finally, SocialFlow also had good news in terms of reach: even though the engagement level for most posts was low, the posts analyzed still reached a total 361 million people and produced 1.5 billion social interactions (presumably thanks to the small number of high-engagement posts).