Wednesday, September 30, 2015

That time @AmySchumer broke my Facebook page

It was about 5pm on a Sunday, a few weeks ago, and I was on Facebook reading about my friends and family. But notifications for my FB page for The Eloquent Woman, my blog on women and public speaking, wouldn't stop. They were coming in 20 or 50 at a time. So I went to the page and found a small tsunami of viral activity around the day's post: A picture of comedian and actress Amy Schumer, with a quote from a fierce feminist speech she'd given at a Ms. Foundation gala.

I'd tagged Schumer's Facebook page in the post, so the first thing I did was check her page. She'd shared the post, and within seconds, the shares and likes started piling up. Schumer's Facebook presence isn't as frequent as her Twitter feed or her Instagram feed, but she does have 1.2 million followers on her verified FB page. And they loooooove her, for the most part.

By the time the activity slowed a bit--a month later--that post on Schumer's page had 95,000+ likes and 1 share. On my page, it had an organic reach of 4.7 million, with 239,000 clicks, 8,500 likes, more than 300 comments, and 22,000 shares visible; my Facebook insights tell me there were more than 213,000 likes, comments and shares overall. I had a few people unlike the page, perhaps due to Schumer's language. But page likes soared from 3,000-ish to well over 6,000, more than doubling, in a trend that still continues. I'm gaining an average of 50 new followers per week these days. And my post data in subsequent weeks is that much more robust, thanks to thousands of new followers exploring the page.

After a moment of temptation in which I thought about renaming my blog and FB page "The Eloquent Amy Schumer," I settled back to watch the extended results and mull some lessons about various aspects of this episode:
  • Tagging. Do it: Tagging can be seen as a pain, an extra task. But this wouldn't have happened without the tag.
  • My post, not my servers: Schumer and her followers didn't really break my page, and there's something to be grateful for when your high-traffic spurts happen on someone else's servers.
  • The post itself: "Ideas, information, and inspiration for women public speakers" is the tagline for the blog, and on Facebook, I've had excellent success taking advantage of two trends to fuel the inspiring content: Graphic quotes, and weekend postings to take advantage of weekend traffic. Visual quotes from women speakers or about public speaking are a natural value add for my page, fueling not only the FB page "photos" file but a Pinterest board as well. This post didn't link back to anything on the blog, and while some might think of that as a mistake or a missed opportunity, it still generated plenty of traffic and followers for me. Users are smart and the ones who want to explore (see below) do so.
  • Explorer traffic and deep content are a winning combo: In the month since the Schumer post, engagement has remained high. Posts that might have had a couple of hundred likes and shares now get them in the thousands. And many of the new followers who clicked through the post on Schumer's page got busy exploring mine to see what they liked. This is where having already deep content pays off. Users started liking, commenting on, or sharing dozens of other graphic quotes in the photos file on the page, or clicking through and reading blog posts promoted on the page. My entire backlist of posts has had a new influx of readership, thanks to this one post. In the month since, it is not uncommon for me to check my notifications to find that one newcomer has dug deep and liked or shared dozens of posts in one sitting. Since my one of my Pinterest quote boards is connected to this FB page, I gained more users, likes, and shares on Pinterest, too--a reminder that offering users paths to your other social presences pays off.
  • Comments and likes: Some of the male commenters were pornographic, but most of the comments were positive and from my page's core demographic. And there were some make-me-smile moments: It's always nice when Marlo Thomas likes your post.
  • Page likes and invites: If you explore the number of people liking your post by clicking on the number of likes, you'll get a pop-up window that lets you scroll through the likers and see which ones already follow your page, with an "invite" button next to non-followers. I did invite many newcomers to follow the page, but eventually ran out of time to do this thoroughly--and thankfully, many of those frequent explorers hit the like button themselves.
  • Put the sales items out in front of the crowd: The weekend that this tsunami hit, I had a promoted post going from Thursday to Monday for my two upcoming workshops on creating a TED-quality talk. That promotion was highly effective, but I posted again about the workshop following the Schumer post and matched the organic reach of the promoted post. I also had posts scheduled about my ebook on moderating panels, and have a "shop now" button on the Facebook page, and sold some books as well. It pays to have things to sell up and available for all those explorers.
  • The Emmy bounce: Because Schumer's page left my post at the top for almost a month, it was in prime position for fans who flocked to her page earlier this month, when she won an Emmy Award. Cue additional explorers, likes, comments, and page likes. You can't plan for this, but it's nice to watch.
Overall, I'm glad that I had a deep well of content available for the crowd, and that so many of them chose to stick with the page and the blog past that Sunday. And Amy, we can still talk about renaming the blog, if you want...

I've got a workshop on Creating a TED-quality Talk coming up in January 2016 in Washington, DC. It repeats twice in that month: on January 14, and again on January 28, and I'm limiting them to 5 seats per session. Seats are already filling, and you get a 25 percent discount if you register by October 30. All registration closes at the end of December or when all seats are filled, whichever comes first. Please join us, whether your goal is TED, TEDx, or just an elevated, current presentation style.

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