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Ask Dows: Matching Up Facebook Data With Strategy

Ask Dows About Data: Matching Your Facebook Strategy and Data Hi Chris, I currently manage 20+ Facebook fan page communities, mainly handling fans’ inquiries. I’d like to measure whether my strategy is working. Strangely, though, it seems like the data from Facebook Insights doesn’t directly reflect what I’m seeing. How can I match up what I’m doing day-to-day with the numbers? Thanks a lot!

— Mary

 

Hi Mary,

“Facebook insights” is a funny animal. On the one hand, Facebook gives you a bunch of metrics to use to improve your Facebook page community – which is really nice of them. Not all social networks are as generous. On the other hand, we’ve seen Facebook change some of their algorithms that display updates and how messages reach your audience. Anytime they do that it will impact your metrics.

You mentioned that you mainly handle fan inquiries, which is great because it tells me that you probably have some good engagement happening on Facebook. And you mentioned wanting to look at the insights in relation to your strategy, which is a great way to see if your activities are improving the community.

It sounds like you’ve been looking at the data and maybe the metrics aren’t hitting the mark.

Here are some general steps you could take to set up a tracking process with Facebook.

Matching the data to the strategy

You’ll often find me scribbling out a doodle on whiteboard…and I’d recommend you do the same:

1. Put up your specific strategy tactics for Facebook on one side. One example, if you were a food brand, might be to share 3 recipes a week featuring your new Tortilla product.

2. Next to that strategy you could write a simple explanation about what this will achieve. I do this because it helps me think through the measurement aspect and keep focused on the goals. For example, you hope that sharing a recipe will encourage your community to share their own experiences cooking with these ingredients.

3. From there, you could draw some branches that leads to some possible metrics that will help you understand if your tactics supports what you hope to achieve. In this example, you could measure the average number of comments per recipe post on the Facebook page. You could also look at the “People Talking About This” metric per post.

This type of exercise will help you map out the metrics that you really want to look at and will give you insights into your Facebook tactics.

In addition to these metrics, you might also take a look at the top-line metrics that Facebook provides, like total number of likes and demographics of your audience. Some articles call these “vanity” metrics, but they can be helpful to certain brands and in certain instances. For example, you’ll want to monitor the number of new likes following an external Facebook promotion. Or the demographic information is helpful to understand who is following your page.

One important thing to note is that you might not be able to get all the metrics you need from Facebook. For example, I use a lot of ratios with other companies to help tell me whether something is significantly above or below the average. If you’re in the same boat, you can easily export data to excel. There you can paste the data into a master spreadsheet you’ve set up or something similar, so that Excel will calculate the ratios for you automatically.

Hopefully these overview steps can help you get more from the Facebook metrics.

 

Have questions about data and your community? Get your questions answered here, and visit the Ask Dows About Data column to learn more about community data.


Image cred: Niharb via Compfight

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About the author

Chris Dowsett

Chris Dowsett (or Dows for short) is your friendly data analyst, statistician and numbers person. Originally from Australia, Chris works for Intuit as a social media analytics manager. He's also studying a Doctorate focused on improving data use in business decision making.

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