Knowing Your Followers: Thumbs Up for Facebook Insights

Better Insights, Better Posts

At this point no one should really need to tell you that your company should have a Facebook page, or that you should be posting to it regularly. The question is: What kind of content should you be posting?

Getting started, you should be able to find plenty of guides about what to start posting when you first set up your company Facebook page. Posting your web content, relevant links/pictures, and copying your competitors themes for your own posts are both popular and wise choices.

But what do you do after your page has built some momentum? When you have enough fans and enough posts to really start looking at what is working and what is not? And how do you use that information to plan for more effective posts in the future? The answers to these questions can be found with a simple excursion into your Facebook Insights.

With a few simple clicks in Facebook’s Insights section you can download a whole host of information that can you use to learn all about your Page’s posts and how your followers have responded to them. Using a few simple, key metrics found in Insight data and little bit of analysis you will be able to determine the kind of Facebook posts that will garner the greatest response from your audience.

But the benefits do not end with Facebook. The process […] is really about becoming better acquainted with your audience and when you know your audience your content improves across all your marketing channels.

The Metrics

Post Message
Far and away the most important metric, without knowing what you have said in your post the rest of the metrics are meaningless.

Post Length
Just how wordy are your posts? This will tell you.

Post Date
When was this posted – this metric will tell you down to the minute.

Post Reach
This tells us how many people saw a particular post. If you pay Facebook to “boost” your posts, you can also split this metric by Organic, Paid and Total.

Post Engagement
This number we calculate ourselves by adding up a posts total number of Likes, Shares, or Comments. There is an actual “Engagement” stat provided by Facebook, but we prefer using this metric because these three types of engagement represent a strong and deliberate action by the viewer. For further granularity you can also dissect Likes, Comments, and Shares separately as stand alone metrics.

Photo Views
For posts with photos or albums this lets you know how many people actually viewed the photo(s).

Link Clicks
If a link is included in a post, this will tell show how many times that link was clicked.

How to use these metrics

Now that the metrics have been sorted and defined, the next step is to organize this data into a series of reports that will tell a story about your Facebook Page and your audience.

Post Themes

Assigning a theme/topic to each Facebook post is a handy way to group them together. The goal is to keep the topics broad so they account for a number of posts.

After grouping posts under their themes, you can also add their totals for Engagement and Reach. See which themes are reaching a lot people and driving a lot of engagement and which themes aren’t resonating with your audience.

What to take away
First, count up the number of themes you have. Less than five may show a lack of variety in your Facebook feed and a staleness that can lead to disinterested followers. While more than ten themes could be signs of a scattered and directionless page that is confusing its followers with tons of unrelated content.

Next, be sure that themes you have, align with your business – you wouldn’t to be a sandwich store who only posts on Facebook about ice cream, sports, and the weather, sure they are popular topics but they having nothing to do with your core business of selling subs.

Finally, look at which themes are performing best with your audience and plan to post more content in the future using those successful themes. Identify the underperforming themes and either cut them or try modify them to better cater to your audience.

Post Length and Engagement

By comparing Engagement and Engagement Rate with Post Length we can see if there is a relationship between a post’s Engagement and its word count.

What to take away
Do your followers like longer, wordier posts? Or do they prefer things to be short and sweet? These kinds of questions can be answered with reporting. Combine this with the themes report to see if some post themes are falling behind because they are too lengthy or perhaps not detailed enough. Use this information to discover if certain themes may be lagging in useful information, or if others are crammed with superfluous chatter.

Date, Relevance, and Engagement

Knowing when a post was uploaded can offer great insight into why that particular post failed or succeeded. For instance, a post asking your audience “what their favorite BBQ tricks are” the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend may have an especially big impact because of its relevance.

What to take away
By picking these posts out and comparing their engagement you can tell when or if your followers respond to time sensitive/relevant messages (e.g seasons, holidays, current events, etc). Or you could find that your followers prefer evergreen content (content that provides value regardless of its age or the time of year it was posted).

Views and Link Clicks

See what kinds of images are getting the most views. As with posts, if there a lot of photos on your page you should establish categories or themes for the photos and then compare the total views of those categories. This same line of reasoning should be applied to Link Clicks as well.

What to take away
Take a close look at the type of images getting the most views. Are they of people? Places? Objects? Your Products? Are they relevant to your business? What kind of style are they taken in? Make a plan to post more images matched to the type that have done well and don’t waste your time posting the types of images that have low viewership.

When tracking links pay attention to where the links refer, the types of content being linked to, and whether the links point to your site or someone else’s. This is where Facebook Insights can not only help you improve your social media content, but also the content you post on your website as well. See which links to your content are getting the most clicks and plan on creating more content like this in the future. At the same time if you have links to other sites that are getting a lot of clicks, take a few notes out those web pages’ playbook for you own content – just be sure to keep your content original and not derivative of another website.

The More You Know

Knowing what your audience likes and being able to intentionally post content they’ll respond to is key to the long term health of your Facebook page. These insights when used properly will help ensure that you continue to post content to your page that your followers will favor and engage.

But the benefits do not end with Facebook. The process above is really about becoming better acquainted with your audience and when you know your audience your content improves across all your marketing channels.

Photo by NASA (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.