What Do You Measure on Facebook?

I’ve read a couple articles lately about what to measure on Facebook. Just as recently as last year, the gold standard that marketers aimed for was “likes”. But is that still the same standard now? What’s most important: likes, shares, comments? Or is it more than that?

What is in a like? That little thumbs up icon that defines society now. What does it mean?

With Facebook’s complicated algorithm to determine which posts show up in your news feed, chances are only a third of your audience is actually seeing your posts anyways (and that’s if you’re lucky). So if you have 1000 fans and 300 see your post and 100 people “like” your post, is that a success? That means that only 10% of your audience actually liked the post. But it also means that 33% of the people who saw the post actually liked it. So if you could assume that every one of your fans saw your post, statistically, 333 would actually have liked it. If a third of your audience likes your post, is that a success? Or does that mean that 67% didn’t like it? Wouldn’t that mean you failed the majority of your audience?

Ok, maybe I’m looking like the pessimist that sees the glass half empty. But this isn’t what I’m actually trying to prove.

The problem with a “like” is that it’s not an actual representation of who likes your posts. Plenty of people may have read your post and actually enjoyed it. They were just too lazy to click that little button, or maybe they just aren’t socially active in that way. You know you’ve come across these people even on your personal page. The ones who never comment or like anything on your wall, yet when you see them in person, they know every detail of your life from the things you’ve posted.

Comments and shares have traditionally been even more valuable than a like because they require a person to actually take action and publicly declare that they like, agree, disagree, enjoyed, or experienced some other emotion from your post. Understandably, these interactions tend to be much lower in frequency than the likes.

But does a lack of a Facebook shares or lack of comments mean that they didn’t like it, comment, or share it? If your post was a link, it is very possible that they may have shared that link directly from the source. They may have shared it to other platforms like Twitter or Google+. They may have also left a comment directly on your blog posting rather than posting it to the Facebook feed.

So what should you really be measuring in terms of your likes, shares, and comments? I recommend that you measure the overall trends of these combined engagements. You should be considering the ratio of interactions to number of followers. If you notice that the ratio of overall engagement is increasing steadily over time, that would indicate that you are connecting well with your audience and speaking their language while providing them information of value.

You should also be running analytics from your website to see how many of your website visits are coming directly from Facebook. If these numbers are steadily increasing, then you are successfully directing people to your website – which should be a major goal of your Social Media strategy. From here you should be able to track where they are going and how and if they are converting.

Also, be wary of fans that you gain from promotions or contests where people are required to “like” your page in order to receive a reward (a discount, sample, or chance to win something). Typically, these “fans” are here to get free stuff and aren’t likely to be highly engaged. These new fans will significantly decrease your ratio of engagement.

What do you measure on Facebook? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or in the comments on Facebook! 😉

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4 thoughts on “What Do You Measure on Facebook?

  1. I try to not get so “hung up” on the numbers. Likes may be great, but I value the engagement of comments and shares more. However, as you point out, not having comments or shares on any given post does not mean that post had no value. I just keep trying to share original and other content that would be of interest and let the numbers fall where they may!

  2. I agree with Kimberly. Numbers are great to look at but I try to be realistic and look more for quality engagement and being a positive influence online. As a web designer, I help my clients understand what Facebook is about and what to realistically expect from it.

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