What’s in a Word? Plenty When It Comes to Facebook Status Updates

By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur.com|December 30, 2010

Words are powerful things and Facebook status updates can prove to be equally powerful tools for those of us who use social media to promote our businesses. Because a major focus of social media-related marketing is on creating content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share with their own networks, our choice of words becomes paramount.

A couple of months ago I wrote an article based on a white paper entitled, “The Anatomy of a Facebook Post: Study on Post Performance by Type, Day of Week, and Time of Day.” That 18-page report, published by Vitrue, an Atlanta-based social management company, outlined the best ways to reach an audience on a social media site, the best time of day to post an item on Facebook and the best day of the week to be most effective with your Facebook audience.

Among other things, that study claims marketers have three content options on Facebook — text, image and video. And, it says, photos trump video and both trump text. The white paper also found that Friday is the best day to post and Sunday is the worst; and that morning posts get more traffic than evening posts.

Now, Facebook’s data team has released some statistics of its own regarding Facebook status updates and the words that attract the most “likes” and comments from its members. This report, titled “What’s on your mind?” can help entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses of all shapes and sizes take advantage of particular word categories.

What the Facebook crew did was research the use of words in 68 different word categories provided by the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) dictionary. Among other categories, the words are organized by their emotional impact — including positive and negative emotions like anger and joy. The data team collected and analyzed about a million of these status updates for its report.

Among the findings are some interesting factoids. This includes the finding that…

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