Your initial strategy is set, your tone of voice defined, your unique content uniquely content-ified you’re running advertising and blog seeding about your exceptionally well-thought-out sweepstakes with a killer first prize, your fan base is growing and all those squiggly lines are moving upwards… (you’re not entirely sure what they mean… but up must be good, right?) So what now?

I’m going to begin this by talking about Facebook insights, as it’s probably the most widely used, but don’t fret, you can also monitor social media as a whole as well. But I’ll save that till the end.

To start with, if you click “Insights” you’ll be taken to a page that shows you an overview of your progress. I’ll try and make the explanation of what each figure defines and means to you specifically as user friendly as possible. But two warnings should be laid out beforehand… 1. Some of these definitions can’t be simplified or distilled into much more than what they are, and 2. Although, they offer insights into how your strategy and posts are performing, they are not to be taken as signs of “success” or “failure” in general… mainly because they will CONSTANTLY be creating little mountain ranges of ups and downs. So use them as guidelines, not road maps.

FACEBOOK OVERVIEW PAGE

I’ll start with some definitions.

Likes:
Ok, so I won’t start soooo general. I think you can follow me here. So it is safe to say, in general, that you want to see this number go UP.

Friends of Fans:
Of the amount of “likes” above, how many collective friends do these “likers”  have? (AKA. The “if-all-your-friends-told-all-their-friends-number-of-people-you-could-possibly-reach” number.)

People Talking About This: The amount of people liking, commenting, tagging, checking-in, sharing, INTERACTING with your brand in a given time period. (This number is an average of the last 7 days… unless otherwise specified.)

Weekly Total Reach:
Another weekly number. Basically, for all the people “Talking About This” their interaction creates “stories” that are then placed into their timelines, which opens opportunity for their friends to interact with the brand by proxy. That is reach. For example, Bob comments on Brand 1’s photo. On Bob’s timeline it says “Bob commented on Brand 1’s photo,” Fred sees this activity and likes it. That’s reach. The one difference between this and a higher level “Talking about this” number is that this also includes your PPC ads and Sponsored Posts.

Total Subscribes:
Some people prefer to “subscribe” rather than “like”… it’s like the Twitterization of Facebook, but to each his own, right?

PAGE POSTS

Now here comes the slightly more difficult part. This sections insights allow you to start extrapolating what is working and what is not in terms of posts. This is essentially a long list of all your posts, what kind of engagement or performance they had, and are broken down like this:

Reach:
The amount of people who were exposed to your post in some way or another. This is a passive number, not a definite sign of engagement, of the number of people who had this post show up in their line of sight SOMEHOW

Engaged Users:
These users, however, are people who interacted with this post in an engaged way. They clicked, they liked, they viewed, they shared, they something-ed.

Talking About This:
Similar to engaged users, but focused ONLY on the engagements that publish stories to their newsfeeds, tickers, etc. These actions being sharing, liking, tagging and commenting.

One way to mentally distinguish “Engaged Users” from “Talking About This” users in your head is to think that the first are the lurking, voyeuristic users, the second are the vocally, interactive users.Virality:

This is simply the “Talking About This” measurment divided by the “Reach” measurement.

You will notice very quickly, almost without fail, that photos will be your highest “Virality”, which means photos are high engagement items. They are not necessarily the highest reach, but they are highest actionable posts.
(Take note of this, it’s very important when creating your strategy, or modifying your numbers if they aren’t where you want them to be yet.)

 

FURTHER INSIGHTS

 When delving into the sub-pages, the definitions of each of these previously defined terms remains. The only major thing to note is that you can change the range of the dates you want to view, from just today, to viewing an overview of the last 90 days, to just viewing a single day up to 90 days past. This can come in handy when trying to test the validity of a modified strategy over a course of a specific couple weeks. Stated otherwise… let’s say you think photos of puppies are great, and your coworker thinks that questions a series of questions about the series Breaking Bad is better… don’t fight it… try it. 10/1-10/7: Cute’n’cuddlies – 10/8-10/15 Scary ex-teachers with frightening facial hair… Then, on 10/16 check each weeks numbers, likes, reach, engagement, talking about this numbers against their respective weeks… and voila. You’ll know who won. (Hint: I love Breaking Bad, but the puppies are gonna win. Sad but true.)

That’s Facebook monitoring at a glimpse, sure you can get more detailed, but that number crunching is mostly done in one of two other ways.

  1. A very detailed plan is laid out in advance (i.e. Time of day, Type of post at said time of day, taking note of external factors that could impact, and the consistency is upheld with religious fervor and also measured against these previous numbers to get a bit more detailed view.
  2. Use a third party like EDGE RANK CHECKER

OTHER MEASUREMENTS

Unlike other social media channels, Facebook makes it easy to monitor, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it just means you’ll have to use third-party software. Depending on the software you choose, the range of what you can monitor varies. But, suffice it to say they all more or less give you an idea of how many fans, what kind of engagement, and what media those “engagements” are happening most often in.

There is one number we haven’t talked about yet, which I think, over the long haul, is a great measurement. And that is sentiment. There are several tools online that give you omnipresence over all things internet-y. Basically, the first time you run them with your brand name and/or key words, using an algorithm that deciphers good words and bad words surrounding your keywords, it will deliver a report to you of how your brand is being talked about in terms of positively, neutrally, or negatively.

This can be a great piece of knowledge for you to have, for two reasons.

  1. Having omnipotence over the whole of the webiverse allows you to jump into, and disarm negative commentary or conversations that may be happening on the web that you would have otherwise never known about.
  2. If you start your social media strategy, and your positive sentiment is 49%, your neutral is 28% and your negative 23%… and you re-check it six months later and you have a positive sentiment of 53%, neutral of 32%, and negative of 15%… I’d say your social media marketing is doing JUUUUUST fine.

Again, these are overviews. And the amount of third-party monitoring tools out there are pretty staggering and the range of what they cost is from free to Whoa! Hold on there. But given your level of involvement, or desire to have a bird’s eye view, there is an option for you.

My personal favorites that you might want to take a peek at are:

  1. Topsy
  2. Netvibes

CONCLUSION

Social Media is a many splendored, multi-headed, ever mutating, and completely non-lateral beast. This 4-part series is, honestly, less than a scratch on the surface of the fullness and richness of a marketing outlet that social media can be. Over the coming months, we will continue to delve deeper into more of the pieces and chunks of the social media experience — both because they’ve been all but ignored in this series, and because in 6 months, it could all be completely and entirely different — but until we’ve had a chance to publish this knowledge, please don’t hesitate to visit our ASK AN EXPERT page and send us your questions… to which we will either e-mail you directly with an answer, or turn into a lengthy blog post to be read by all… right here at NavigantMarketing.com

(Now that the series is complete: Here’s the quick links to access all four parts at your leisure: Part 1: StrategyPart 2: Unique Content CurationPart 3: Fan Acquisition, and finally, Part 4: Monitoring . Enjoy!)