Marketers nowadays are data driven numbers people. I get it. I consider myself a numbers guy, too. That said, when it comes to Facebook, I think a lot of marketers have it all wrong. The Facebook metric marketers tend to focus on -- a page’s Like count -- does not matter as much as marketers and business owners think it does.
There are three other Facebook metrics that provide businesses with far more valuable insight:
1. Talking About This
The “talking about this” number, which you can find to the right of your page’s Like count , is broken down into two metrics: "people engaged" and "other page activity." People engaged is the number of unique visitors who liked, commented, shared or clicked on your posts. Other page activity is the number of page mentions, check-ins and posts by other people on your page.
Why “Talking About This” is Important
A whopping 93 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ fourth annual content marketing report. With so many businesses investing in content marketing, a business’s Facebook page often becomes a main hub for sharing content.
If your business’ "talking about this" is low, it might be a sign the content being shared is not resonating well with your fanbase or that the language used in your posts isn’t effective at driving post engagement. Either way, you need to make changes.
Start testing fresh calls to action, alternating long and short posts, posts with and without an image, etc. The more testing you do, the better you will understand your fanbase and the type of content/posts they react to best.
How to Improve This Metric
First, find out what your page’s user engagement percentage is. To do this, divide your “talking about this” number by your page’s Like count. A good engagement percentage is 2 percent, but most bigger brands with more than 100,000 fans have closer to 1 percent.
Second, if your page’s engagement percentage is low, it might be time to tweak your content and posting strategies. Again, the best advice is to learn as much as you can from testing.
Post Planner does a great job of keeping their audience engaged and their PTAT numbers high
2. Total Reach
"Total reach" is the number of people who saw any activity from your page, including posts, posts by other people, page like ads, mentions and check-ins. This metric can be found in the Overview section of the page insights dashboard.
Why Total Reach is Important
Do you remember a couple of months ago when folks were up in arms about Facebook’s most recent algorithm change? They were angry because the update affected the reach of their posts.
Reach matters a lot for one big, and fairly obvious, reason: If Facebook doesn’t feature your brand’s posts in the news feed, the engagement with your posts will take a nose dive. No eyeballs, no engagement. It’s as simple as that.
How to Improve This Metric
There’s one easy way to fix total reach -- But it’s going to cost you. Investing in Facebook ads is a surefire way to improve reach. While the “pay to play” mentality can be frustrating for many people, especially small business owners with limited budgets, it’s becoming almost mandatory if you want your brand’s content to be seen. Thankfully, Facebook advertising is relatively cost effective and even businesses with the smallest of budgets can afford to invest.
Facebook Insights makes it easy to see what is and is not working on your Page
3. External Referrers
"External referrers" measures he number of times people come to your page from a website other than Facebook. You can find this information at the bottom of the Visits tab in Page Insights.
Why External Referrers are Important
Knowing the sources of your page's traffic gives your business great insight into which websites are most effective at attracting new and genuine Facebook fans.
For instance, my company’s blog, Socially Stacked, drives a lot of readers to our Facebook page. This tells us that a good number of our blog readers are becoming new Facebook fans.
How to improve this metric
There’s no need to really “improve” external referrers, but it is helpful to keep an eye on its changes.
Referrers are an important part of a Page’s traffic
One element that affects the above three metrics is the quality of your Page’s likes. Last month Mashable ran an article looking at just how much Like counts really matter, sparking many debates in the process (including in our office!).
The post shed light on the fact that the majority of Facebook pages have Like counts containing many fake Likes, or Likes that come from so-called click farms. And as most marketers know, fake likes are useless. In fact, they end up compromising the metrics that actually matter, like engagement and reach.
The lesson here: Stress less about Likes.
A page with 1,000 genuine fans is far more beneficial to your business than a page with 10,000 fans, a portion of which are fake. Ask yourself: “Why is my business on Facebook?” You should be there in order to build stronger relationships with your customers and promote transparency within your business. It’s not just a popularity contest.
Readers, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below sharing your most valued Facebook metric. I’m curious if your views are the same or different than mine.