As a marketer, you know big numbers usually impress when presenting results.
Traditionally, thousands of ‘fans’ or Facebook page views are key metrics when relating success.
While these are indicators, the social web makes deriving meaning from these numbers more complex.
Facebook Insights is great, but it chucks a lot of data at you that has to be analysed and used in the right way – the simplest thing to do is find the ‘big numbers’ to impress. But these aren’t always the most meaningful figures.
So what information is really important if you’re a brand or organisation running a Facebook page?
- What are they?
Facebook users can ‘like’ your page but they can also ‘like’ comments and posts made on your page or showing in their own or friends news feeds.
- How important are they?
‘Likes’ are the simplest social currency in Facebook – when related to posts and comments, they are a good indication of engagement with your brand and tehy do generate brand awareness as they have a viral quality (they show up in people’s tickers and news feeds).
People who like your page are classed as ‘fans’…
- What are they:
Facebook fans are simply people who have ‘liked’ your page. This doesn’t include people who may have ‘liked’ a comment or a post on or about your page.
- How important are they?
Fans can ‘like’ a page without even visiting it – they may see a Facebook like ad and click ‘like’ in the moment, but never visit the page or – crucially – engage with it. You still have a route to these fans – so we’re not suggesting fans aren’t important, simply that high fan numbers alone aren’t as meaningful as many people think they are. Nice big fan numbers don’t automatically mean increased awareness, engagement or sales – so be wary. Fan numbers alone don’t account for reach and the social media marketers ‘holy grail’ – engagement. It’s easy to generate a lot of ‘likes’ of a brand page – whether those people end up as meaningful advocates – or buyers – is another matter.
Judging the success of your posts is more complicated than it first appears. Obviously, likes, shares and comments will tell you if a post has gone down well with your fans or not – but this isn’t the whole story.
To truly understand your audience, you need to analyse the content of your posts, the time of day they were posted, the type of post (photo, link, text, question etc) and you need to categorise your own posts on a weekly or monthly basis. You’ll soon build up a picture of what makes your audience tick and you’ll be able to optimise your engagement with them to fully maximise engagement with your Facebook page.
Comments and shares
Comments and shares from fans on and about your posts tell you an amazing amount about your audience. Don’t just count numbers here – look at what they are saying and feed this insight back into your editorial plan.
Where are you fans interacting with each other in your comments? What can you learn from this for further postings?
Remember – comments are the start of a conversation with you from potential brand advocates. Don’t just blanket ‘like’ all comments on a post – it’s meaningless and demeans the effort the people posting have made. Actually respond to them – don’t be scared to have a conversation – they’ll love you for it.