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David Hartstein is a partner at JG Visual, an Internet strategy company that works with organizations to develop and implement their online presence. You can connect with David on the JG Visual Facebook Page.
You’re a small business owner and you’ve decided to create a Facebook Page for your company. Or you’re an employee in an organization and, since you are the only one who “gets” social media, you’ve been charged with running a Facebook Page.
You set it up and make it look nice. You put up some photos and videos that you think represent the organization well. You e-mail a bunch of your friends and the page has almost 100 “Likes.” But one day, your boss comes in and asks you the question that you have been dreading: “Is this Facebook Page helping us or just eating away most of your time?”
Enter Facebook Insights, a powerful analytical tool that can help any organization evaluate the effectiveness of its Facebook presence. But, for a small business where time is perhaps the most important (and often rarest) resource, Facebook Insights can help you evaluate whether you’re investing or wasting your time.
The following scenarios are illustrations of how a fictional small business, “Bill’s Tech Company,” can leverage Facebook Insights to evaluate the effectiveness of its new Facebook Business Page. Within each scenario are the different aspects of Facebook Insights that Bill could utilize to answer his questions. Beside each measure (in parentheses) is a note on where to find that specific piece of data in Facebook Insights.
Facebook Insights Overview
Before delving into the specifics of Facebook Insights, it is helpful to understand some of the basics. Once you have 30 “Likes” on your Facebook Page, Facebook Insights will automatically be activated and available on the left sidebar of your Facebook Page.
When you navigate to Facebook Insights, you are brought to the main dashboard, which shows you two summary graphs titled “Users” and “Interactions,” both providing overviews of subpages with the same names. Below is a list of the measures you will find on each of these subpages:
Users: monthly active users, daily new “likes,” total “likes,” new “likes/unlikes,” “like” sources, demographics, page views, tab views, external referrers, media consumption
Interactions: daily post views, daily post feedback, daily story feedback, most recent posts, daily page activity
Now that we’ve outlined the basics, let’s dive into the scenarios.
Scenario 1: Are “Likes” Enough?
Bill’s Tech Company launched a Facebook Business Page two months ago. When he created the page, Bill sent out messages to all of his friends and it quickly grew to around 100 followers. While he feels good about having 100 “Likes,” he wants to know if having these “Likes” is enough.
- Daily active users (top of main dashboard): Bill should avoid the lure of looking only at the number of “likes” that his page has received. Realistically, passive followers that “like” his page and never come back aren’t helping his business grow. Instead, he should focus on daily active users, which are the number of users that actually come to his page or consume his content on a given day. If a follower engages in some way with Bill’s page, it is far more likely that Bill’s Tech Company will be on the top of this follower’s mind, which is crucial for any small business.
- Daily page activity (bottom of Interactions): To go beyond “like” counting, Bill should use daily page activity to measure his followers’ level of engagement with his page. In particular, he should pay attention to the number of mentions that his page is receiving. When someone mentions Bill’s Tech Company, they are broadcasting his company to their friends. Mentions can help a business reach a whole new audience.
- Daily story feedback (top of Interactions): Is Bill engaging his followers? Is he alienating them? Daily story feedback can provide Bill a glimpse into the minds of his followers. Whenever a follower “likes” or comments on something on Bill’s page, it will show up here. Bill could go a step further by looking at particular days of the week that his followers are more active and targeting the release of his content to the days that are more likely to garner a response.
- Spikes in “likes” and “unlikes” (top of Users): Bill should take time to check his “likes” and “unlikes” for any deviation from the norm. A spike in either is worth investigating. To help him understand such a spike, Bill should align the date of the spike to the content he has released using most recent posts (middle of Interactions). He can sort his content by date posted to see what he did on a particular day that may have caused users to “like” him or leave him. If he sees that a certain subject or type of content seems to cause a spike in people “unliking” his page, he should avoid this content in the future.
Scenario 2: Producing Content Your Followers Want
Bill’s Tech Company only has two full-time employees and can never seem to find enough hours in the day to get everything done. They can’t afford a full-time social media strategy coordinator but definitely want to leverage the “power of social media” that they keep hearing about. In the little time that they have between serving their clients, Bill wants to know what content he should focus on to use his time most effectively.
- Most recent posts (middle of Interactions): Bill can’t afford to waste time producing content that no one cares about. By utilizing most recent posts, Bill can sort his recent content first by impressions to see how many people are seeing a post on his page, on a news feed or on a follower’s profile page. Generally, the more that followers share a post by posting it to their profiles or sending it to their friends, the more impressions it will receive. Bill can then sort his most recent posts by feedback percentage to see which of his posts are leading his followers to comment or “like” an individual post.
- Media consumption (bottom of Users): Bill loves the idea of producing videos, recording audio and shooting photos to engage his followers, but each is quite time consuming. Bill should use media consumption to see how many views each type of media is getting per day. If Bill’s active users are not listening to the audio files he uploads, he should either change the nature of these audio files (perhaps try a new topic) or scrap them and use this time elsewhere.
- Daily story feedback (top of Interactions): Bill can leverage daily story feedback to see if a particular day has a spike in “likes” or comments. If so, Bill has clearly found a topic that resonates with at least some of his followers. He can focus his efforts on producing content that is similar enough to receive the same favorable response.
- Tab views (bottom of Users): This measure allows Bill to see how active users are engaging with his Facebook Page. If he’s spending a lot of time writing in the discussions tab but none of his visitors are viewing this tab, Bill should probably spend his limited time doing something else. Conversely, if one of his tabs is particularly popular, he should use it to engage his followers. To optimize the use of his tabs, Bill should ask himself the following questions: “What tabs are my fans engaging with?” “What content is within these tabs?” “Can I cut out any tabs?” “Should I change the order of my tabs to prioritize what I want active users to see?”
Scenario 3: Evaluating Facebook Beyond “Facebook.com”
Bill devoted an entire weekend to setting up his web presence. He created accounts on many social media sites, put Facebook Like buttons on his company website and began promoting the company’s Facebook Page all over the place. Bill wants to know what worked and what didn’t.
- External referrers (bottom of Users): Bill’s concern is a common one. He wants to know if the time he spent setting up everything was worth it. Fortunately, Facebook Insights has something called “external referrers,” which shows the top external domains from which visitors are finding a Facebook Page. Bill can see which sites are driving traffic to his Facebook Page and use these successes to change his profiles on less successful websites. Additionally, if Bill is getting traffic to his Facebook Page from his website, he’ll know that something on his site is piquing his visitors’ interest.
- “Like” sources (top right of Users): Since he added the ability for visitors to “like” his Facebook Page from his own personal website, Bill now wants to track whether people are actually doing so. He can find out simply by looking at his “like” sources. Most of his “likes” are probably coming from his Fan Page, but he may get some from other sources. If Bill wants to prioritize getting more “likes” from another source like his website, he should consider making the button more prominent and seeing if it leads to more “likes” from external sources.
- Insights on an external domain: Now that Bill took the time to add “like” buttons to his company’s website, he should definitely set up Facebook Insights for this domain. By going to facebook.com/insights and clicking the “Insights for your Domain” box, Bill can easily copy a bit of code onto his website and link it to his Facebook account. By doing so, Bill can see how users of his website are interacting with his content including what users are “liking” and sharing with their Facebook friends.
- Website analytics: Since Bill is interested in how effectively his Facebook Page is integrating with his overall Internet presence, he should definitely keep an eye on the website analytics on his company’s website. Ideally, Bill wants his Facebook Page to drive traffic to his website, which would show up as a referring source on his website analytics.
Scenario 4: Reaching the Right People
Bill has been using Facebook Insights to create content that he thinks will be popular with his followers and has been linking to this content on numerous tech blogs. He has been seeing steady growth in “likes,” which he is very proud of, but Bill runs a local service business and wants to make sure that he is reaching the right audience.
- Demographics (middle of Users): It is important that Bill first identifies the target audience for his Facebook Page. Does he want to target older men and women that may own businesses in the area? Does he want to target a younger crowd in the hopes that they will be influential when it comes to making decisions about tech spending? Once he has his audience identified, Bill can use Facebook Insights to evaluate how effectively he is reaching this target group.
Since Facebook collects personal information from all of its members, it can give page administrators demographic info about page followers. Bill can see who “likes” his page according to age and gender. He can also see what countries and cities his followers come from as well as the languages that they speak. If the demographics of his followers do not match his target demographic, Bill may need to adjust his content or even his entire Internet strategy to target a different group of people.
- External referrers (bottom right of Users): Bill can use external referrers to see if he is effectively driving traffic from the established tech blogs that he is posting on regularly. By adding his voice to conversations in his industry, Bill can establish his own authority on technology-related topics and drive traffic to his Facebook Page. If he’s not seeing any traffic from these websites, he may need to adjust the content he posts or the websites that he frequents.
Hopefully the scenarios above resonate with you and your organization. While Facebook Insights won’t provide you with all the answers to your questions, it can be a powerful tool for any organization to utilize when evaluating its online strategy. By utilizing Facebook Insights, you can ensure that you are making the most of your business Page while using both your successes and failures to craft a solid presence on Facebook.
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