So 207 people clicked “like” on your organization’s latest Facebook post. Does it mean anything? According to social media consultant and coach Jay Baer (@jaybaer) and Socialrealist.com’s Jennifer Mattern (@queryfreewriter), it sure doesn’t.
The gist of Jay’s original article and Jennifer’s subsequent response is that as PR or social media professionals maintaining an organization’s Facebook (or any social media) presence, we’ve got to delve deeper than surface level facts: how many fans we have and how many times those fans “like” our content.
They’re both right. I’m pondering all this in regard to a Facebook presence I help maintain. This account, on the surface, is pretty damn successful: around 4,250 fans, a number that puts us among the top of rankings for organizations of our type and size (sorry, Jay, I’m bordering on “crazy and frothing”!); consistent, quality postings and information; and, quite frankly, it looks good, branding wise.
And that’s the point: what does any of that marketing chatter really mean? Well, it is a start. Without an attractive profile with consistently interesting and engaging content, we likely wouldn’t have our 4,000+ fans. But now that we have them, we have to both keep them (so they don’t un-follow us, hide us, or, Heaven forbid, block us) and keep them engaged.
As Jay accurately mentions in his article, Facebook “administrators” (those who control a Facebook page) are privy to details about their page’s activity. We get a weekly report that lets us know how our page is performing. Let’s look at one important part of this report: active users. These are your fans who actively engage with your page: they visit your page, make comments, “like” things, post on your wall, and link to your page. Simply put, they use it.
On my organization’s Facebook page, we have an average of 876 active monthly users: 20% of the audience is paying attention, so to speak.
What if only 20% of the audience in a movie theater is paying attention and the rest are sleeping or talking over the film? What if you write an e-book and 4 out of 5 readers glean nothing from it? What if a professor is giving a lecture and 80% of the students stand up and walk out halfway through?
For traditional marketing efforts, if we’re dropping thousands of dollars for, say, the inside front cover space in a print magazine, surely we’d rethink this advertising strategy if we learned that our ROI was this minimal.
Then again, can we even make these comparisons when it comes to evaluating the success of our social media efforts?
If the answer is a resounding “of course,” then now we have to ask the big question: how? BlueFuego (@BlueFuego), a higher education marketing and recruitment firm, has a formula based on comments and likes per post (click for the image, it won’t take you away from here) for measuring a Facebook page’s engagement success. After working the numbers for the month of September, we had an average total engagement of less than 1% of our fans. Which, according to this particular BlueFuego article, is about average for my type of organization.
I don’t know whether to like or unlike this.