June 17, 2012

HTC's direct call-to-action FB status scores big!

HTC | Source: Facebook.com/htc
Everyday we hear, see, read a lot about Social Media. A lot of detailed articles are written on Facebook strategies, twitter campaigns, etc. This field is such that there's no end to your learning as it all depends on how much time you can give, and how much you can grasp. In order to learn the nuances of digital marketing, I feel it's important to first of all have an open mind. One can read numerous published posts on leading social media blogs but the real learning happens when you are sharply observing the little details. On twitter, I converse a lot but at the same time I also keep an eye for what I call - 'patterns'. It's like picking up numerous small insights from diverse sources and then bringing them all back to my learning incubator so that I can brew new ideas from them! It takes time but gradually you can become a master.

Coming back to this post, last month (May 31, 2012), I spotted a status update by HTC on their facebook page which popped up suddenly while I was checking my newsfeed. As soon as I saw it, my gut intuition told me that this status update will get MANY 'Likes' and I literally meant MANNNYYY! I keep a close watch on major brands, how they act on Facebook, what is their strategy, how they respond, etc as this allows me to learn and pick up the best practices. Let's have a look at HTC's post below and then I'll tell you why it scored big - on Likes, and Comments!

HTC's Facebook campaign, May 2012 | Source: Facebook.com/htc

What did you notice first? The photo of two phones? If your answer is "Yes", then I will ask "Do you really think the image was unique and powerful that it could have got more than 20,000 Likes and 2,700 comments?" If you have been around in Social Media space for some time then chances are you'll probably say "No." There's nothing wrong with that! Okay, now look at the image once again and this time start slowly from top to bottom. Did you notice something? Did you notice the way the status update line is composed? Well, that was the only thing I noted when this post popped on my newsfeed. I read it three times and told myself "Wow, what a simple, direct and powerful call-to-action status!" Let me elaborate what I mean by breaking the status update.

Anatomy of HTC's Facebook Status Update:

Digital or analog? "Like" for digital, comment for analog.

  • Digital or analog?: The status starts with a question, which itself makes the viewer think as soon as he/she sees it. It's quiet common that questions generate a faster response than plain conversations. As Marketers, observe this henceforth.
  • "Like" for digital: Once you know the answer, the next element of the update, i.e. a direct call-to-action forces your sub-conscious mind to impulsively hit Like. And, I wasn't surprised as it's pretty obvious that most young people like digital. Smartly composed! 
  • 'comments for analog': As if the first call-to-action was not enough, the third element of the update leaves a window open for those who like analog. Yes, it doesn't disappoint them and they happily comment adding to the numbers. Chances are these guys would also hit Like in the first place.

Final result: This status update received more than 16,000 Likes and 2,000 Comments within the first 48 hours of posting (yes, I did keep a tab)! You may say "So what? It's because it's HTC, hence they got so many Likes", but no, that wasn't the case. If you browse through facebook.com/htc, you will not find any other post in the last 2 months which has scored more Likes and Comments than this post. We pay a lot of attention to the photos, the links but sometimes overlook the basic element - the status update itself. I'm sure Facebook has provided that to us for a reason and it lies upon us on how smartly we use it? Some folks hold this view that writing 'Hit Like for...' is not a good practice, I agree to a bit but then there's no harm in a one-off use of a direct call-to-action phrase. Once again if you go back to HTC's facebook page, you'll see that they rarely use 'Like' as their call-to-action. Instead, they drive conversations by posting their status updates in form of a question, ending in '?'. This is something which one can learn while composing status updates for his/her own company. Of course, the objective may vary from company to company and depends on which industry they belong to. Not every company would look good if they start using 'Like this...' kind of status update. We should learn by example and use our common sense while deciding on whether to use 'Like this...' or not?

I shared this observation on twitter and to my surprise, HTC's Worldwide Community Manager - Darren Krape (Follow @dkrape) responded.

My admiration for the status update line was so much and that I replied back to Darren to which he replied something very important.

Well, what can I say? HTC is indeed quietly brilliant! As you can see, Darren gave full credit to his team who helped him develop the status update text. This is a very good practice as if you are unsure then you should always check out with your teammates first and take their opinion. I often do this often at work and trust me, this really helps! In Darren's words, "Good stuff is always team effort!" Now, some of you might have this thought - why think so much for just one line? Well, I wouldn't have blogged about it if the numbers didn't support my assumptions. In this case, right from the moment my gut told me till I hit the Publish button tonight - it did support my assumption. Sometimes, it's good to learn from best practices and this is one such post. Do let me know what have your observations been when it comes to Facebook status updates? Leave a comment below if you came across something unique and successful.

You can also see this story on Storify at storify.com/arifkhan7/htc. And, if you want to stay connected, then do subscribe to my Storify page at storify.com/arifkhan7.


  1. Neat! Thanks again for the call-out.

    One really interesting thing about this post is not just how many like/comments it received in the first few hours, but how many it received after. Most Facebook posts have a lifespan of two to five hours, perhaps a day if you are really lucky. This post received perhaps 3000-4000 likes after two days, which is quite rare in my experience. I think a significant reason was the number of comments, which then drive Edge Rank and appearances on user's news feeds.


    1. Yes Darren - you're absolutely right. I remember seeing 16,000 Likes on the second day and now the post has more than 20,000 Likes which could have been only possible because of the consistent comments coming in even after so many days. This boosted your post's viral reach.

      Right from the word 'go', it's been a good learning by simply observing this post. Kudos to your team. You all are quietly brilliant! :)

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    1. You're welcome Felicia! I'm glad you found this post useful.