I participated in an informal research experiment conducted by our friends at Keller Fay Group. The participants got an email invitation from Ed Keller on late Friday afternoon, asking us to post this simple statement on our Facebook Walls. "Hi friends. Please help me with a research project. If you see this, please click 'like' on my status. It's that simple. Thanks." We were to report back to Ed in 48 hours with the percentage of our friends who actually clicked through.
Mine hovers around 10 percent. Not bad, considering I am connected to 428 friends, family members and colleagues through Facebook. The one qualitative finding that didn't surprise me was who commented and who got into a conversation under this comment. I had six comments from four unique users - all of whom are what I would call 'intensive' Facebook users and natural conversationalists. I know that their offline networks are pretty broad as well.
But if you go from 428 to four to have true engagement, then maybe we should not equate the number of friends to actual impressions on a wall post. Of course, we have to consider that my message was not anything counter intuitive or newsworthy. It was a simple (perhaps questionable) call to action that got posted at a time when most people were drifting off of work. In a more formal rendition of this experiment, I would also vary time, quality and content of the message. That would yield pretty interesting results. I am sure not all wall posts are equal.