Understanding social media metrics

September 4, 2017 By    

Having a Facebook page for your propane business is gaining popularity. Whether you handle your online marketing in-house or use an outside agency, optimizing and understanding the performance of both a website and a Facebook page can be complex and time-consuming, but it is well worth the effort and expense.

Facebook performance metrics are important to review and understand if you expect to get a return on your investment. The most common Facebook metrics are often misinterpreted. Big numbers don’t necessarily mean big performance.

Here are some things to remember about Facebook performance.

Reach is the number of people who received impressions of your post on their timeline. It doesn’t mean they read it. It is easy to scroll by a post without reading it. Everyone likes to brag about the big numbers of reach they get, but it is a meaningless metric on its own. To put it in propane terms, it would be like bragging about how many miles you put on your bobtail without looking at gallons delivered or number of stops per mile.

Engagement refers to the number of times that Facebook users like, share or comment on your posts. This is where all of the magic happens! Engagement is directly tied to the quality of your audience, what they are interested in seeing and how your posts resonate with them. Your strategy may get you impressive reach, but Facebook users won’t engage with your posts if the content is not something they want to see. Facebook’s algorithm favors posts and pages with higher engagement. Those posts are more likely to be seen.

The most common mistake made in business Facebook campaigns is posting entirely what you want your fans to see, not what they want to see. Olivia Mastromonaco, social media coordinator at our company, says, “Think of a Facebook campaign as a television program. Your general interest posts are the show and can draw lots of engagement, while your brand content posts are commercials. You wouldn’t watch television if it was all just commercials and you wouldn’t engage with Facebook posts if all the posts were commercials for a business.”

Depending on the quality of your general interest and brand content posts, I have found that a ratio of 70 percent general interest and 30 percent branded posts seems to be most effective for the industry. Facebook users will likely continue to engage with your business posts that are more directly referring to the benefits and applications of propane and why they should do business with you, if you maintain a good posting ratio.

Engagement ratio determines the effectiveness of a Facebook post or an entire campaign. Out of all the people you reached, how many people did something with your post? Facebook Insight Data can give page owners a wide array of metrics, but you don’t need to go that deep to find out what is most important. The most important metric to consider is the division of total reach by the raw total number of likes, shares and comments. Engagement ratio results can vary widely, but they won’t be good when you see few likes, shares and comments on your posts. In our industry, if your engagement ratio falls below 2 percent, you should consider revisiting the quality and ratio of your posts. In propane terms, it would be like driving that bobtail many miles, making few stops and not pumping many gallons per stop.

If you are satisfied with the quality of your posts, you can also invest in boosting posts to expand your reach to seek more engagement. A boosted post is pushed to the top of your audience’s timeline more frequently. However, a boosted post doesn’t guarantee engagement. It only pushes your posts to more timelines. You can also run Facebook paid ads to generate more likes for the entire page or promote a sale or special offer.

You should consider having an active Facebook page for your propane business to seek more action by more consumers. You want them to visit your website, become a propane customer, remain a customer or purchase a product or service. Over 80 percent of Americans use social media, with the average user spending nearly two hours a day on social media sites. You want to be where the people are.

Tom Jaenicke is vice president of propane marketing services at Warm Thoughts Communications. He can be reached at tjaenicke@warmthoughts.com or by calling 810-252-7855.

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