We often judge the success of our social media efforts based on metrics like reach, engagement, and Fans. But it can be harder to determine why these posts are successful. There are a few other metrics we can look at to help solve this.
Before we jump into the data, we need to establish what metrics you want to focus on. This is by considering which metrics are most relevant to your business. Maybe you want to grow a community – so comments or likes might be a good indication of this. If you want brand exposure, reach or shares might be your focus. If you want to drive traffic to your site, clickthroughs are the metric to focus on.
Picked a metric you want to focus on? Great! Let’s look at how you can analyze it in a new way…
Head to Facebook Insights, and use the Export feature to download an Excel spreadsheet of your posts. Select ‘post data’ to find out details on your posts, rather than ‘page data’.
More data to gather from Facebook Insights…
Time of day
One simple approach to optimise your Facebook page, is to find out the most effective time of day to post.
Take a look at your time of day data in your Excel export, convert it to your local time (I’ve got a handy tool for this below) and then throw it in a word cloud generator to see what your most effective times for posting are.
You might be surprised to find out your audience are more likely to engage, for example, in the early morning or late at night, or on Tuesdays. Look for patterns in your time of day data. Once you know your most effective time of day for posts, update your social media schedule with this in mind.
Related: The Best Time of Day to Post to Facebook According to Science
There are conflicting reports around what media types are most effective on Facebook, especially in terms of which media types are favoured by Facebook’s algorithm. Is it better to post a picture? A link? A plain text post? On top of that, when Facebook rolls out a new feature, suddenly, that becomes the hot medium with the hugest reach (at the time of writing, its native Facebook video).
However, the simplest way to get the most relevant data for your community is to do some A/B tests with your own page. Over a few weeks, post a series of posts in a variety of media types. Try plain text, a link, a photo, a gallery and a video. Then, export your post level data to see if there is a pattern in which media types are most effective for you based on the metric you’re looking at.
It can also be useful to look at the images used, including the images pulled in on hyperlinks, and seeing if there is a pattern in the kinds of images or designs.
One of the most powerful tools in our social media toolbox is words. Analyzing your posts in terms of language can be a really interesting exercise. Compare your highest engaged posts with you lowest engaged posts (again, throw ’em in a word cloud generator!) and see if there are differences in the words you use.
Consider what your audience gets out of the post in terms of the way the post is designed: is it funny? Is it useful? Is it relatable? Does it have shock, surprise, or do people learn something? Is it breaking news? Is there a pun?
You might find posts using certain words are most effective. You might find posts that provide useful tips are most effective. Consider both the language and the motivation the audience has for engaging with your post. The language you use could be the difference in your post effectiveness.
Choose which metric is most important to you, whether its likes, shares, comments or clickthroughs.
Export your post-level data from your Facebook Insights, and sort your data so you can see which posts are working based on these metrics. I’d suggest looking at both highest and lowest because context can be the difference to turn information into insight.
Then, analyse the metrics in terms of time of day, medium and language to see if any of these make a difference.
You may even find a combination of these do well. There could be a pattern with a certain media type being posted at a certain time. For example, who can resist an adorable ‘TGIF’ cat meme posted at 3.30pm on a Friday? No one!
Want to work with Rachel?Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.
She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.
She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.