Facebook Measurements: One More Piece of a Complicated Puzzle

Raise your hand if you’re satisfied with your company’s/organization’s number of Facebook fans. Yeah, I’m not either. But here is some advice you may find encouraging — mainly that the totality of fans may not be the greatest indicator of impact, so you shouldn’t be so disappointed about it. Besides, there are so many other terrible things in life to be disappointed about, anyhow. (I think Tony Robbins originally said that. No?) Regardless, Ragan’s PR Daily asserts:

Here are five reasons (number of fans) should not be used to measure social media success:

1. They are not a measure of impressions. Measuring impressions has been described as an old-fashion metric, but counting fans isn’t even that. Hypebot recently released a study showing that one in a hundred fans “liked” brand updates. Worst yet, previous studies showed that 1 in 500 brand updates reached their targets.

2. They are not a measure of advocacy. According to eMarketer, research shows that Facebook fans are not more likely to buy from the brand after becoming a fan. In that research, the top two reasons to become a fan are “to receive discounts” and “I am an existing customer.”

3. They are not a measure of engagement. On any given update, Coca-Cola receives about 5,000 “likes” and comments; Justin Bieber averages 30,000 “likes.” If you’ll recall, Bieber has about 23 million fewer fans than Coke.

4. They are not tied to a particular objective. The Barcelona Principles of Measurement place “Goal Setting and Measurement” at the very top of the list. Unless your business objective is to obtain fans, measuring fans is not the way to go.

5. A small fan base is fine if it’s active. Don’t beat yourself up if your page has a small number of fans. If your fans are engaging with you and responding to your updates in the way you are hoping for, you are doing fine.

This is not to say that a Facebook Fan page is not a good tool for marketing or corporate reputation management. But in 99 percent of cases, there are better ways to measure you’re success on Facebook.

They include:

•Measuring click-throughs. If your Facebook updates links to your online properties—for instance, a news release, a landing page, an online brochure, an article—the click-through rate will tell you how many fans read it. While this isn’t the ultimate in PR measurement, it at least tells you how many fans did what you expected of them.

•Measuring feedback. This will tell you the quality of your engagement. Not only does it show how many fans saw your update and reacted to it, but it also tells you how many are likely to receive future updates from you.

•Monitoring global discussion volume and sentiment on your page. This practice will give you valuable information on your brand’s advocacy and reputation. It will also detect crises or opportunities as they emerge.