With 1.4 billion users, 936 million of which are daily active users, Facebook is by far the most popular social network. It is also highly localized and wields a great deal of influence among peers within their closed networks. Unlike Twitter or most blog platforms, the information users put on Facebook isn't publicly available, it is shared within closed networks. Although some features can be made public, the majority of the conversations are occurring in feeds that are only visible to Facebook users that are associated with one another. In any given market, there are thousands of overlapping networks that include millions of people. Managing your reputation in this environment can be difficult for a business because Facebook's algorithm biases toward personal interactions over promotional interactions. By paying attention to likes and impressions, you can see into those personal conversations and harness the data to inform a smart content strategy.
Developing a Content Strategy for Facebook
The best way to leverage this channel is to be present and make engagement with your brand easy. When people know their friends like a business because they see posts, shares or frequent checkins, that business gains an uncommon marketshare with that network. Prospective customers will harbor a fondness for a brand before they have even experienced the business first-hand. Paying close attention to activity surrounding your brand on Facebook helps you learn more about your fans and prospective customers within a given network. You can see how they respond to your posts to measure what's working and what's not, you can identify trends or opportunities to engage more customers based on this data, and you can learn more about what values attract or compel people. Use all of this to inform your content strategy.
Engagements on Facebook:
- Total Page Likes is the total number of Facebook users that have liked your Facebook Business Page.
- Impressions are the total number of times your business has appeared on a Facebook user's screen within the date range selected.
- Likes/Unlikes are the total number of likes and unlikes that occurred with in the selected date range.
Additional Data in Your Facebook Business Page's Insights Tool
These are not the only analytics available through Facebook. We've distilled it into the most critical metrics so you can quickly assess and take action. If you want deeper information, your Facebook Business Page has robust sets of data available when you are logged into your account and looking at your Business Page, tap the Insights tab at the top of the screen to navigate through expansive user data.
Use the fields in the top left to select which Facebook Page you want to view data from and which date range. You can view Facebook data as far back as two years. The first metrics are page likes, post, impressions, and then your like to unlike ratio. The Like/Unlike Trends graph helps you analyze trends that may be driving people to or away from your business. These will be your first indicators of an opportunity or a problem and this product makes paying attention to that easy by putting it all in this one place.
The Total Page Likes number reflects the current number of users that like your business page on Facebook. Users are able to like or unlike pages, so this number can fluctuate upward and downward. Unlikes aren't uncommon, but if you notice them happening in significant numbers, take note. What is driving them away? Is it your content? A new campaign? Something happening in your business' reputation outside of social media? Likewise if you get an unusual spike in likes, look for the catalyst of the trend. Are users responding to a new campaign? Is your content being widely shared? You can learn some important basics from this measurement.
Facebook reports impressions, which are logged every time your content appears on a user's screen. View this over the course of a quarter, by day of the week, and by demographic to learn more about your fans on Facebook. Learn who they are, when they are accessible to your marketing efforts, and how they align with your target audience.
Once you've identified a trend is occurring, dig into the posts to see why. The Post Activity graph surfaces Reach, Engagement, Reaction, Comments and Shares. Reach will show you how many different people have seen the post. Engagement conveys how many users clicked into the content to read more. Reactions report the number of reactions (Like, Love, Haha, Wow, and Angry are the available reactions in Facebook) users have to your posts. Shares and comments are generally the deepest activities on Facebook.
- Shares mean users are passionate enough to take your content and make it part of their identity. This is usually a good thing, but make sure you look deeply before you react because they could be sharing a reason they passionately dislike your content and those shares could be spreading like a virus in the Facebook communities. Be prepared to react fast by either supporting and responding to their shares or by removing the content that poses a threat.
- Comments are almost always a good thing on Facebook (even if the comments are negative) because they are insular to the poster and the users that engage with that specific post, so it provides you with the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the people being vocal about your brand. By commenting, they've engaged you on a more intimate level rather than just putting you on blast or Tweeting their confusion to broader groups.\
Join the Conversation
As if managing your actual customers and all of the details of your business operation wasn't enough, now you have to worry about managing opinionated strangers on their computers somewhere. Yes. You do. It may seem like a silly pastime, but social paradigms in this century have changed. The people on the internet aren't agoraphobic nerds in their mom's basement, it's the active adults you see walking all over town with their eyes glued to their smart phones. It's saturation dwarfs television, print, or any legacy media. Facebook is the new town square and this is where word-of-mouth is driving consumer behavior. These conversations occur whether you participate in them or not. The smart play is to be in that conversation. The bright side of this virtual town square is that you have access to word-of-mouth conversations you never had before. Join those conversations, even if the comments seem negative. The freely offered opinions of Facebook users are also valuable feedback about your reputation and don't require you to print and manage comment cards!
How to Manage Negative Comments
Pay attention to mentions and comments, whether good or bad. Don't get down in the mud and fight with the naysayers, prove to them that you care about their experiences and you hear their suggestions. Respond, join the conversations graciously, take the opportunity to thank them and invite them back to see how you've responded to their concerns. Every time you join discussions about your business, it ripples through the overlapping social networks and is read by a far greater number of people than are liking or contributing comments. This form of micro-promotion is effective, has vast reach, and often lives online longer than you realize. When Facebook users see how attentive to your reputation you are online, they will assume that diligence is also exemplified in your business operation. You're building your brand in their imaginations before they've even stepped foot in your location.