These Sites Have Perfected Their Facebook Tone

Why the tone of your Facebook posts matter, and three examples of publishers that are doing it right. 

‘Tone’ is something that’s often talked about in the context of successful Facebook posts. It’s the way that you present your stories to your audience in a way that’s appropriate to them, and it isn’t always that easy to strike a successful balance.

Through Spike, we see what type of posts are taking off on Facebook – and it often has a lot to do with how the content is presented on Facebook. While there’s lots of tweaks that you can make to the appearance of the post itself, another significant factor in a post’s success comes down to tone.

You’ll be able to take a much closer look at your page’s demographics through Facebook Insights, which will show who’s subscribed to your page. That in turn gives you a better indication as to what type of tone you should be taking when posting for maximum engagement.

Here are three different examples of good use of Facebook tone in action:


1) BuzzFeed


BuzzFeed know what’s up on social.

Across their numerous Facebook pages, they manage to hone a distinctive voice that will be familiar to their readers – fun, curious, and pitched just at the right tone.

They also mix things up pretty well, content wise. Not every update is a link. There are lots of images and images that can engage and delight subscribers to the pages without even necessitating a click off their newsfeed.

As we move towards more and more content being posted directly to social platforms, BuzzFeed’s  dedicated Facebook native page is an interesting place to watch experiments in distributed content being tried out for the first time.

Kids today will never know the struggle

Posted by BuzzFeed BFF on Wednesday, 15 April 2015


2) BBC Sport


BBC Sport have seen an impressive 6,000% jump in their referrals from their Match of the Day Facebook page since they started consulting their social analytics more carefully, and adjusting their tone, in September 2014. Digital Development Editor Chris Hurst explains:

“One of the biggest challenges was engagement and how we could encourage these younger audiences to come from social media to the BBC website.

After the football World Cup we carried out some research which reinforced our belief that we needed to make our accounts more fun and engaging. Our target audience wanted the Match of the Day account, for example, to be ‘knowledgeable’, ‘cheeky’, ‘irreverent’ (hardly surprising given that the page audience is predominantly from the UK, under-24 and male, with Facebook connection analysis suggesting they’re likely to enjoy light-hearted entertainment pages).”

Even a quick look at the main BBC Sport Facebook page shows the kind of voice that’s been so successful for the social media team.

All of the headlines are re-written for the page. They’re typically 6-8 words long. The excerpt text is removed completely, making the posts look uncluttered. They’re to the point.

The accompanying descriptive copy is also minimalist, and can be funny when needed. Another interesting stat from Chris’s report – In January, five out of the top 12 referrals posts had a quote in the caption.


3) The New Yorker


Now for a much different type of audience.

The New Yorker’s audience has traditionally been pretty high-brow – they claim that 62% of their print readers have a third level qualification.

On Facebook, it’s a matter of making the New Yorker’s often wordy articles appealing to an audience that might have less time to spare than a direct visitor, or a print reader. However, the New Yorker are no strangers to social success.

Humour writer Andy Borowitz is by far the most popular New Yorker writer on social, with his bizarro political takes attracting hundreds of thousands of engagements in the last month. In March, one of his stories became one of the most commented stories of the month.


But many other stories get a lot of attention on Facebook, too. The New Yorker has long had quality writing at the heart of what it offers – and Facebook users still want that. A post on the death of German writer Gunter Grass this week attracted over 1,000 likes on the New Yorker’s main page. The original Facebook post simply used a well-chosen quote to attract interest.

And of course, their cartoons are just as popular on Facebook as in print. Usually, their own caption is enough.


To see more Facebook posts that are trending in different niches in real time, sign up for a free Spike trial today. We’ll add any Facebook page you want.