Beware! The ‘People Talking About This’ Facebook Insight may fool you!

Social Media Metric, Facebook Metric

Facebook has developed habit of renewing itself by releasing new updates and features. One of the recent (about a month old) updates is ‘People Talking About This’ metric. If you use Facebook for business as a page owner/administrator, you probably know what I am talking about. Even as a user, you may have noticed this number, as facebook chose to make it public.

What Does This Number Tell You?

If you haven’t already hovered over the little question mark nest to the metric, here is what it stands for

The total number of people who have created a story about your page, which happens when someone

  1. Liked your Page
  2. Liked, commented on, or shared your Page post
  3. Answered a Question you’ve asked
  4. Responded to your event
  5. Mentioned your Page
  6. Tagged your Page in a photo
  7. Checked in or recommended your Place

By default, the number you see on the page is for a week (that ends 2 days before the date you see the page)

How Can This Metric Fool You?

The metric is unlikely to fool you, it is more about how you measure success using this metric.

So how do we do that?

There is no straight-forward solution to measuring one’s success using this metric :-)

Among other things, it involves  an understanding of your content bank and the expected outcome from the series of updates/engagement activities.  However, I  am sure that a higher number will not always guarantee  achieving business objectives.  Here are some possible ways of getting this number higher without meeting your business objectives:

(Assumption: Your business objective is anything but to build a big community that makes random noise)

  1. You/Your agency runs a blanket ad campaign targeting just about everybody in your country. This increases the ‘Page Likes’ . Your fans may not be your core target group.(Tip:  Avoid gunning for huge numbers in a short period. Don’t pressurize your community manager/agency especially while advertising on facebook )
  2. You very often post ‘catchy updates’ in your facebook page, that have absolutely no linkage with your businesse.g. If you love your country and you know Click Like below OR  A Rajnikant joke
  3. Who deserves to win the match tonight  (Assumption: Your product/service is not remotely related with soccer)a) Man-Ub) Chelseac) Screw them both, I am watching IPL !(This one may just shoot your numbers)
  4. The after effect of (a) could also be like getting a bad tattoo-  a fan base that just randomly tags you on their posts, images. I haven’t seen this occur very commonly- but you never know.

Think about this: if  the majority share of your social content bank comprises of such updates,  you are likely to  score high on this metric, and measure  ‘impressions’ and ‘passive eyeballs’- something you would have done better on TV, print and radio.

A request, in the interest of the (new media) public: If your campaign focuses on such initiatives, please don’t crib about social media not delivering ‘real business’ and being a ‘waste of time’. To do so would be classic pseudonormicks!

The Power of this Metric:

Don’t get me wrong, just because I painted an ugly picture first. This metric is actually a powerful one, that is, if you have your content bank sorted. It is powerful because it gives you a combined view of the following key social metrics, in addition to others:

  1. Social conversion: #of comments on your updates or # of check-ins to your ‘physical location’
  2. Social applause: # of likes on your posts or  # of recommendations your  ‘physical location’ has received
  3. Social amplification: # of shares your updates have received.

Industry Numbers and Benchmarks:

If you read the post carefully, you are likely to concur with me that there is no possible way to figure our a benchmark for this number. Each business will have its own set of social objectives and methods to achieve them-so  your guess is as good as mine! It is best to refrain from judging the success of  a page based on this metric, unless one completely understand the  business objectives.

Just for the sake of getting some perspective, I browsed through the 10 recent posts updated on pages operated by Indian entities in five different verticals. I classified these into eight different categories (derived as per the flavor of each post read) and added tally marks.

The classification is obviously subjective, I would love to hear your opinion on the same.

Facebook insight: analysis on business entities posts

The numbers listed are as of 06 Nov, 2011.

Your Thoughts:

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this metric, especially if you administer a page. How effective is this metric and how much weight do you assign to it in your reports and in the overall measurement of success?

If you sell your products online and have a facebook page- how have you perceived this metric?

If you represent one of the five brands above, would love to hear about your level of satisfaction from the page engagements during this period.

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