March 19, 2013

How about a little insight, Facebook?

After enough pushing, prodding and hearing the “But everybody’s on Facebook” argument, you finally decided your business needed a page. About 90 percent of small businesses are on it, so welcome to the club. Whether your page is brand-spanking new or a couple of years old, you want to know how you’re doing. As with any other aspect of business, you have to check your figures, right?

Before we get started, make sure your Facebook page represents a business, not a person. If it doesn’t  the Facebook FAQs can take you through the transfer. Once you’re all squared away, you’ll find your business page equipped with free analytics (yes, free) called Facebook Insights. Not only is Insights complimentary, but it’s also fast and relatively painless. Managing your social media pages can be time-consuming, so the last thing you want is to spend more time crunching numbers. No worries. Insights spits out the important information, giving you just enough not to be overwhelming.

Carve out some time to check your figures. It doesn't have to be every week — maybe the end of every month or quarter.

Carve out some time to check your figures. It doesn’t have to be every week — maybe the end of every month or quarter.

First, know this: Once John Doe “likes” your page, he isn’t coming back. “What do you mean? Where is he going to see my posts?” Try the News Feed, where you’re posts will compete with updates from his friends and family and they usually win out over businesses. Second, the majority of your fans won’t ever see your posts. On average, about 16% of followers see a post. Frustrating, isn’t it? There are certainly ways around it, such as Facebook ads or promoted posts. While these paid solutions are a great complement to your Facebook marketing strategy, you can reach more people simply through posting smarter.

Facebook can handle it all: text, links, pictures, videos and most other things you can dream up. Go ahead and try them all. Social media involves a lot of trial and error. There is no perfect answer. Your industry, customers and business personality will shape your social success. Mix it up then look to Insights to show you what worked and what didn’t. Even though Facebook gave News Feed a makeover,  the same principles still apply.  Be as visual as possible. Photos generate twice as many “likes” as text updates. And please don’t be overly promotional. Would you share a post from some business, spouting off about how great it is? Unlikely. If your page is fun and vibrant, people will want to share.

You may be asking, “When should I post?” While there’s lots of advice out there about the best time of day, whenever you decide, focus on next few hours after you post. More likes, comments and shares increase your chances of showing up in News Feeds.

How’d you do? Click that Insights tab. In the overview, you’ll see a timeline of your posts. Focus on Reach and Engaged Users. These metrics have the most to do with EdgeRank, Facebook’s system for determining where posts show up in that tricky News Feed. Under the Reach tab, look at tab views. Filter by month to see if you’re gaining or losing momentum. Also glance at visitor locations to make sure you are covering your business footprint. Finally, you should always check page likes, but remember: The goal is engagement, not racking up followers. Quality trumps quantity.

Carve out some time to check your figures. It doesn’t have to be every week maybe the end of every month or quarter. Look at which posts were successful and which ones bombed. Mimic the ones with strong reach and high numbers of engaged users. Your followers will appreciate it.