There’s a Home for PR Poets on Facebook

Katie Harbath, associate manager for policy at Facebook, said at PR News’ Dec. 1 Facebook Conference in Washington, D.C., that posts between 100 and 250 characters (less than three lines of text) are seeing about 60% more likes, comments and shares than posts greater than 250 characters, and that more than anything, communicators should use Facebook as a place for conversations—for real back-and-forth exchanges of ideas and insights.

This is exactly why Facebook is the best thing that’s happened to PR practitioners since, well, the invention of touch-tone phones. They have the writing chops to keep things short, simple and on message. Yes, Twitter has taught us all to be brief, but a tweet is its own animal. Writing a post on Facebook is less forgiving. Garbled language, typos and bad punctuation don’t play well on Facebook, which is a writer’s medium in the end.

Katie’s stat about optimal character count means that successful engagement on Facebook comes down to math and poetry. You have to count your characters (the math) and you have to make each character count (the poetry). PR pros are by definition communicators and by training (hopefully) wordsmiths. No one is better suited for mastery of the era’s dominant literary form: the Facebook post.

—Steve Goldstein