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If you are running a Facebook page for a business or a nonprofit organization, Facebook Insights are absolutely indispensable. Now the good news: It’s a free tool and it’s available for all Facebook Business Pages. If you have a regular Facebook profile and not a business page, you will first need to create one, which you can do by going to Facebook under “Create A Page” option here.
Some questions people often have to ask about Facebook Insights:
…and the questions pile up. It may sound more than a bit intimidating.
Here are some things you can start doing right away. It will only take about 10 minutes in one sitting, and you will be on the upward path of growing your Facebook community. These don’t involve any of the heavy analytics jargon, or key performance indicators (KPI), or really any number-crunching. So rest easy, this really is a lot simpler than it needs to be – at least at first. Eventually – you may become a social media analytics ninja, but it starts first with following some best practices already proven by experts. In time, all the KPI will start making actual sense.
Take at least 10 minutes looking at Facebook Insights each day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be every day, but it should be done frequently and consistently. Don’t let a week slide by before you visit Insights.
Facebook Insights overview panel
How sensible would it be if you were on weight loss plan, and you didn’t weigh yourself every so often to gauge your progress? Ridiculous right? It’s no exaggeration to say that it applies just as much here. Every time we post on Facebook, we are “talking to our audience”, and that is half the conversation. Facebook Insights, or Facebook analytics, is the “listening” part.
While you’re here on Insights, don’t let a session go by where you don’t check your “reach”.
Click on Posts (also under Insights) to check your engagement rate.
Notice the section “All Posts Published“? Scroll down and you will see your post history and all the engagement metrics for each.
Before you post, make it a habit to ask yourself this question first:
How big should that orange bar be when I see it on Insights later?
Then make a mental note to revisit this post later on Facebook Insights to see where that orange bar stacks up.
its all about that orange bar
How shareable is this content? Will people in your user community want to share this? In the end, what makes your post viral is the number of times it is shared. Certainly, likes and comments add up, but sharing is truly the stuff of “virality”. Go for viral hands down, each time. If someone is going to share your content, chances are, they will most certainly like the post, and possibly make a comment or two. Why else would they share it if not for liking that post in the first place?
It’s all about that orange bar!
You’ll notice that probably 80% to 90% of your posts will perform as expected. There will also be certain posts you noticed didn’t perform as well as it could have.
For those posts that don’t perform so well or exceed expectations, that’s another story, and one well worth considering.
If you find a post doing exceptionally well, or even those that do better than average, do some investigating, without getting heavy into metrics. I’m not saying that metrics don’t have their place in social media analytics – they do, but it makes a lot more sense once we have the fundamentals down.
Ask yourself these questions:
The answers may surprise you, other times it may not, but knowing what people like is crucial, and that’s what makes Insights so much more important.
If you find a post performing well below your expectations, consider asking yourself these same questions:
The answers to these questions may not arise immediately. However, done over time, as a matter of habit, these questions will sharpen your focus, and over time you will notice patterns arise that may begin to answer these questions, not just on one post, but on recurring patterns or issues that you would otherwise have missed.
Do this for at least 5 days in a row, and it will all start making better sense, enough to take your analytics proficiency a step further. That’s when you are ready to move on to the next step, a more in-depth understanding of what all the metrics mean, and how to beat the Facebook algorithm.
For starters, here are two Facebook hacks you can employ to start beating the algorithm and staying ahead of the curve:
Since it was rolled out last May 2016, Facebook has been promoting heavily this new feature that allows you to record and stream live video on your feed. Facebook will give preferential treatment to pages that use them, so use them whenever possible and when appropriate. Facebook will love you for it.
You hear that right! It might be tempting to upload a video to Youtube or Vimeo, and then share a link to it on Facebook. If you want to make a dent in staying ahead of the competition, you will get much more juice if you upload that video instead directly to Facebook, and avoid simply making a link post out of it.
For those of you that aren’t newbies and would like to take a step further in mastering analytics, I will have another article on Facebook Insights coming soon!
What matters more – reach or engagement, and what really is engagement?
Facebook posts – under the hood and what all the numbers mean…
Kevin Naruse is the social media director at the Painted Brain and social media consultant specializing in nonprofits and social enterprises. You can visit his blog at kevinnaruse.com.
Sources and Recommended Reading: