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Facebook Theme Week: Case Studies of Popular Pages (and What They’re Doing to Get Great Engagement)

Posted By Stacey Roberts 5th of August 2014 Social Media 0 Comments

There has been much discussion in blogging circles of late about Facebook and the effects their algorithms have on reaching all your “likers” with each of your posts. While Darren mentioned yesterday in his brief overview of organic vs paid reach that both have positives and negatives, the fact remains that many bloggers are still doing their best to increase their engagement organically. Today we are going to look at five popular Facebook pages and see what has been most successful for them when interacting with their audience.


The most popular page on Facebook is actually the “Facebook for Every Phone” App, with more than 480 million fans. They haven’t updated their page since December 2013, but still rank the most overall. The second most popular page is Facebook itself (which defaults to whichever country you are in unless you opt to see a different one), but their engagement differs wildly with each post.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 3.33.11 pm What works for Facebook

Posts per day: One (but not every day).

What types of posts do they do? Videos, images, and links with images. They share motivational images and Facebook user information.

Most popular recent post: A motivational quote image. It garnered almost 140,000 shares, which was way over and above anything else on the page. It had just over two million likes, and more than 22,000 comments. This type of engagement doesn’t appear to be common, with the next-highest sharing rate being 64,000.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.48.08 pm


Least popular post: A shared link from the American Cancer Society, asking people for donations. It had 13,000 likes, and less than 1000 shares.

What gets the most engagement overall? Videos, by far.

Most popular topics: Motivational stories, Facebook user information.


Shakira is a musician from Colombia, and is the most-liked person on Facebook. She was the first person to reach over 100 million likes, and ranks third in the most popular Facebook pages (just under an App for Facebook, and Facebook themselves). She has a super-engaged page, with fans interacting constantly.Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.38.57 pm

Posts per day: One (but not every day).

What kind of posts do they do? Images, video, images with links.

Most popular recent post: A grid of images of Shakira performing at the World Cup Closing Ceremony, and a message from Shakira herself. 2.5 million people liked the image, almost 85,000 shared it, and it was commented on more than 42,000 times.Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.38.47 pm

10556436_10152673650169560_2488786109078107775_nLeast popular post: A shared link from the World Food Programme asking people to donate to the Mwamba Primary School in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It received 75,000 likes and only 87 shares.

What type of post gets the most engagement overall? Videos of Shakira performing, or addressing her fans.

Most popular topics: Behind-the-scenes peeks into Shakira’s life.

Real Madrid CF

With almost 70 million likes, Real Madrid CF is one of the biggest pages of Facebook.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 3.43.18 pm

Posts per day: Between 3 and 9 posts a day


What kind of posts do they do? Mostly images and video.


Most popular recent post: A photo album of their star player Cristiano Ronaldo practising for an upcoming match. It had more than 300,000 likes, 5000 shares, and 3000 comments.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 3.44.34 pm

Least popular post: A link (with image) to their online store. It had 37,000 likes, 764 comments, and 169 shares.

What type of post gets the most engagement overall? Photo albums of their players training.

Most popular topics: Players training.

I F*cking Love Science

IFLS is a site bringing science to the masses. Elise Andrew shares images, cartoons, science news and interesting tidbits that are designed to be accessible by everyone, not just scientists. IFLS might be trailing these pages in likes (although 17.5 million on a page updated by only one person is quite the achievement), but they are knocking them out of the park with engagement. Just about every single post has high engagement, and each type of post seems to do well.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.26.32 pm

Posts per day: Between 8 and 19, at a rate of about one update an hour.

What kind of posts do they do? Mostly images, followed by images with links.

Most popular recent post: An image quote about the use of the planet’s resources. More than 96,000 shares, 350,000 likes, and 3708 comments were generated. With the exception of the unusually high Facebook post share above, it is a higher share rate than any of the other pages mentioned.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.29.15 pm

It appears that unusual or interesting images work really well for them – this post about fluorite got 22,000 shares, 240,000 likes, and almost 6000 comments in 16 hours.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.30.07 pm

Another thing IFLS fans seem to enjoy are geeky science puns. As you can see, this link to purchase a shirt got 37,000 shares in just 7 hours. With shares being the highest-ranked Facebook engagement (they appear to be more beneficial to your chances of higher organic reach than likes or comments), it’s clear that IFLS has a knack for creating viral content. It also goes to show content doesn’t need to be viral in a global sense, just viral to your readership.Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.27.14 pm

Least popular post: A straight link to an article about planets with companions having a better chance of harbouring life. Compared to the IFLS average, 8000 likes, 673 shares and 163 comments is ultra-low.

What type of post gets the most engagement overall? Images, by far. Especially if they’re punny.

Most popular topics: Health stories, animal information, and religion seems to get the readers fired up.


Humans of New York

Ask anyone what their favourite Facebook page is, and plenty of them will say Humans of New York. A page by photographer Brandon Stanton, it showcases the everyday person on the street, usually with a quote from the conversation Brandon has with them. It has quite the cult following, with 8.5 million likers and plenty of interaction.
Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.25.54 pm

Posts per day: 5

What kind of posts do they do? Images.

Most popular recent post: An image and snippet of an interview with an older lady reminding people to keep in touch with distant friends and relatives. It sparked 37,000 shares, almost 350,000 likes, and 6000 comments.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 3.24.58 pm

Least popular post: A link to buy Brandon’s latest book. 1000 shares and comments, and 73,000 likes.

What type of post gets the most engagement overall? Images with emotive or inspirational quotes from the people themselves. Half a million likes for this guy’s story.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 3.57.51 pm

Most popular topics: People doing and saying things you don’t expect just by looking at them.

What does this mean for you?

Ultimately, it depends on your readership. But the common thread between all of these pages’ successful posts is the human element. What are people doing behind the scenes? Who are they when they are relaxed? What’s going on in their real life? It appears that people like that glimpse into humanity, and they also enjoy a good joke.

Most of these pages saw real success with images on their own, without links. Links appeared to be less useful, especially if they were selling something, or asking for people’s money. The IFLS page still saw success when they posted image credit links in the statuses, but that might be because they’d been enjoying such high sharing interaction, driving up their organic reach in general.

I think it pays to look at your recent Insights to see what kinds of posts are resonating with your readers. Are you showing them enough of the human you? Are you being just that little bit different? Can they relate to your content? Are you being useful?

What kind of posts have you seen success with? Tomorrow we’ll be doing a case study on the types of things you can do for better organic reach. See you then!

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net, and the gal behind Veggie Mama. A writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd, she can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.

About Stacey Roberts
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.
  1. Hi Stacey,

    The 2 themes I see again and again from these Pages are engagement and eye candy. Chat, engage, ask, answer, and post images or videos – some inspirational – to drill home the point on the FB Page front, that you’re there, you’re listening and you’re intending to inspire your followers.

    I post 1-2 times daily to my Blogging from Paradise Page but find that the frequency doesn’t matter as much as the quick, timely engagement. Chatting quickly shows Page Fans that you’re not asleep at the wheel. When you do engage quickly a neat thing happens; more and more folks Like your Page and engage freely.

    Think of a domino effect on the engagement front.

    As for eye candy, people love pictures, and video, because images and video are either interactive, or at the very least, snag our attention quickly. Words are just words. They may move a few folks, but pictures, and video, snag our attention and keep it for a second or 2.

    People can almost always use a nice little inspirational nudge so whatever your Page is about toss in the inspirational photo and quote to rouse the troops. So few people are the type who are continually high on life. Help these folks out by giving them a high energy nudge and your engagement will increase quickly.

    Thanks Stacey for the super smart post. I like the images, the breakdowns, and spotting these patterns can let me know what I’m doing right and what I need to shore up to grow my Page following steadily.

    Tweeting in a bit.

    Enjoy your day.


    • Stacey Roberts says: 08/05/2014 at 4:22 pm

      Ooh I agree about timely engagement! It makes all the difference if you’re there to interact. I am surprised that video is so popular, personally I hate them and rarely watch them or share them! i didn’t expect that at all.

  2. I have to agree with Ryan. I’ve certainly noticed that if you’re available to engage in conversation after posting it certainly helps. I recently initiated a game night on my FB page and told people I’d be around to read comments, interact, post further and clues. The results were fantastic and went on to have great results with my reach for many days after. People like to know you’re noticing them and paying attention.

  3. Some really interesting information there, especially about the number of posts per day – it just goes to show you don’t necessarily have to be posting lots and lots of updates. I know the best engagement I get is when I share either 1) A really interesting/relevant article as a link and lots of people click on it, 2) a plain status update with no link or picture that is funny and about my own personal life.

    • Stacey Roberts says: 08/07/2014 at 12:38 pm

      I thought my text statuses were doing well, too – but my insights say different!

  4. Stacey,

    Thanks for the great post. At a time when most people have trouble reaching even a small percentage of their page’s followers, it’s important to see how the human element, stories and images (often combined) can really drive shares! A great example for the rest of us to follow (and yes, even with much smaller numbers these ideas still make sense).


  5. Hy Stacey Roberts,
    Thanks for sharing this list of most popular Facebook page here. But i am unable to view I F*cking Love Science, whenever i clicks on the link it redirects me to the home page of the Facebook. Can you please solve this and send me the valid link?

    Thanks and Regard

    Rabin Mistri

  6. As for eye candy, people love pictures, and video, because images and video are either interactive, or at the very least, snag our attention quickly. Words are just words. They may move a few folks, but pictures, and video, snag our attention and keep it for a second or 2.

  7. Thanks for sharing the list of top pages. Most of them are very new to me. Great to see that video pages are becoming so popular these days. Thanks for the awesome share.

  8. The engagement is certainly crucial. People like to know that they are talking to “someone” and not just a page. But there does have to be a happy medium without posting too much about “me”. I know some people have unliked pages because they were sick of hearing all about the person behind the page. I guess this is down to providing readers with something of value.

    Not including links is an interesting one. I have noticed that some pages have started to put the link to the blog post in the comment section rather than in the update. What do you think of this method?

    • Stacey Roberts says: 08/07/2014 at 12:41 pm

      I think a lot of the pages I follow are for personal blogs, so I can’t comment on people talking about their own lives! That’s what we love them for. I think the point I was trying to make is to share things about humanity and relationships – things that other humans relate to. It doesn’t always have to be the “ME” show.

      I cannot stand link in the comments, personally. But I do know for beginner bloggers, it helps increase their reach significantly. But at what cost? Who are they annoying?

  9. That is cool i will try to use as you explain thanks.

  10. Excuse my ignorance – but how did you discover these top Facebook pages? Is this info easily accessible to all Facebook users?



  11. In the world of affiliate marketing and blogging, images and streaming web video + unique content will always drive traffic faster than content in a blog or webpages alone.

  12. A very interesting read indeed. I totally agree with you when you say about it paying to look at your recent Insights to see what kinds of posts are resonating with your readers. This really is the best way to see what resonates with your readers and allows you to give them more of the content they want. Really enjoyed reading this article.

  13. Surprised Vin Diesel Facebook fan page is not mentioned, is one of the most loved actor in the world with high fan engagement, millions of likes per every post.

  14. Great article. I agree with you. I enjoyed reading this article. It would also be interesting to see not so super popular facebook sites and how they are posting and enganging with their potential readers.

  15. Great summary here Stacey, looking at these pages as established brands it’s easier for them to post once a day and get the results they are after. I think it’s important for pages in different niches to test what works best and always experiment with the frequency. Lastly with regards to the Humans of New York page there is a post that got over 1.2 Million likes. I think it summarizes what we all knew and that is people love good content whether its 80 characters or 800 as long as it tells a story and adds value people will engage.

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