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Get the Most Out of Facebook Insights – What Questions to Ask

Facebook fan pages are all the craze with clients, celebrities and those aspiring to be famous in one way or the other. Unfortunately, for those of us who live and and breath analytics this also represents one of the biggest obstacles with Facebook.

Here is what current fan page owners are currently able to get insight into:

  1. The total number of fans and active fans on their page. An active fan is a Facebook user who engaged with your fan page in some way.
  2. Gender demographic data
  3. Fan subscription and un-subscription trends
  4. Language and location statistics

To the untrained eye, you’re left rather un-impressed with Facebook’s Insights. And while there is something to be said about its limitations, let’s focus on what we can learn from them. Like any analytics platform, you should use this data to find trends and form hypotheses. Here are some ideas to get you started and in the right frame of mind.

Fan Interactions and Demographics

Take a look at which status updates, video posts, etc. get the most fan interaction (comments and likes) and determine why. Is it because you are giving something away? How did that affect your fan growth rate? What demographic was most active – male or female? You need to ask all of these questions so you can maximize the effectiveness of your future updates and posts.

You want to maximize fan interaction, and in order to do that you need to have an understanding of who is paying attention and why. By looking at a user’s demographic you can better target them with future updates. It’s also a good idea to see how this compares to your website’s users. Does that match up? What you need to determine is how this affects your online marketing strategy.

Un-Fanning Metrics

One area you’ll want to keep a close eye on is un-fanning metrics. It can be difficult to determine what exactly caused someone to decide to no longer be a fan of your page, but there are some questions you can ask to narrow it down. Here are some things you should look at:

How frequently are you updating your page? Perhaps your audience needs more or less updates to keep their interest or to not overwhelm them. Test this and take it one step further by testing different days of the week to determine which days get you the most fan interaction.
How engaging are your updates/posts? Are you giving users a reason to want to monitor your updates and to want to get involved in the conversation? You should try different types of updates to see how it affects the number of fans you have.

Are you losing most of your fans after you give something away or run a contest? This is a common way to lose fans as people will become a fan of the page just for a chance to win. The question now becomes: how can you keep them around? Do you offer up some type of minor giveaway at random times to fans?

Conclusions

Facebook’s Insights provides us with numerous opportunities to ask “why?” Asking questions about the information they give you plus a little out-of-the-box thinking can go a long way to getting the most out of Facebook’s Insights. What questions do you ask when evaluating your Facebook Page Insights?

Facebook Changing Become a Fan in Favor of Like

Facebook Like Button

Facebook has announced it will soon be changing the “Become a Fan” button that you’re so accustomed to seeing on Fan Pages to a more universal “Like” button. According to Clickz, Facebook has started sending out confidential emails to ad agencies informing them that the “Become a Fan” button which functions as a subscription/membership button  to fan pages will be changed to “Like” button within the next few weeks.

Quite simply, Facebook believes that by changing the “Become a Fan” button to “Like”  will increase engagement between consumers and brands. “Like” offers a simple and consistent way for Facebook users to connect with the things they are interested in most. Facebook did some research and found out that users are more two times more likely to “Like” something instead of becoming a fan.

“‘Like’ offers a simple, consistent way for people to connect with the things they are interested in. These lighter-weight actions mean people will make more connections across the site, including with your branded Facebook Pages. We believe this will result in brands gaining more connections to pages since our research has shown that some users would be more comfortable with the term ‘Like’. The goal is to get the most user connections so that you can have ongoing conversations in the news feeds of as many users as possible.”

What do you think of this change? Are you more likely to “Like” a brand on Facebook vs. become a fan of one?  While you’re at it “Like” Only Facebook!:)

1-1000 Facebook Fans in 35 Days

One of my favorite blogs, Freelance Folder, created a Facebook fan page on October 6th, 2009. On November 10th,approximately 35 days later, they reached the one thousand fan milestone. How did they do it? I’ll show you how they accomplished it and how you can to!

First things first, we’ll run through a quick guide to creating fan pages. From there we’ll move into some of the fan growth strategies.

Getting Started With a Facebook Fan Page

To create a Facebook fan page you can simply visit the public page that allows you to create ads and pages. Click on Create a Page. You will be given three options:

  1. Local
  2. Brand
  3. Artist, Band, or Public Figure

Creating a Facebook Fangpage

Simply choose the category that suits your business the most and follow the instructions. As you can see, creating a fan page on Facebook takes about five minutes max. That said, building it and growing a community within that page can take months.

Now that you’ve created a fan page for your business or site, let’s start growing it.

Get Your Friends Involved

The first thing you want to do to grow your fan page is utilize close friends on Facebook. Let your friends know that you have created a fan page and ask them to be a fan. It’s almost guaranteed that they will become a fan without hesitating.

Save the first few days for the close-knit group and then extend invites to a larger group.

Now it’s Time to Send Some Invitations

Suggest your fanpage to friendsNow that you have asked your close friends to become fans, it’s time to send out invites to your acquaintances.

If you have a few hundred friends, do not send out invites all at once. You don’t want a spike of fans one day and be dead in the water the next day. A great ‘rule’ to follow is to send out invites in sets by first letter.

 For example, you can send out invites to those folks with names thta begin with the letters A, B and C on day 1. On the second day, send out invites to people whose name begin with the letters D, E, F and G and so on.

This way you don’t end up getting fifty fans one day and nothing the rest of the days. The Suggest to Friends feature is on the left right under your fan page profile picture as seen in the image above.

Now that you’ve sent out your invites, you need to decide whether to run an ad campaign to promote your fan page.

Run a Facebook Ad Campaign (optional)

Being a freelancer myself I know that budget are extremely tight. That said, if you can spare $5.00 to $20.00 I highly recommend running an ad campaign. Facebook allows you to target your ads and gives you the option to pinpoint who sees the ad. You can target ads based on age, gender, location, profession, etc.

Facebook ad campaign

You can either pay for impressions or for clicks. I recommend the impressions model because the main goal is to get the page seen by as many people as possible. Even if they don’t click and sign up when they see the ad, there is a possibility that they might come back later.

To create an ad, go to public page that allows you to create ads and pages.

At this point, you can start promoting your fan page through your website.

Cross-Promote Your Fan Page

Now that you are done asking for help from your close group of friends and sending out invites, it’s time to start promoting on your web properties.

Talk about your fan page on your blog or your site – and don’t forget about Twitter! Grab a fan page box and embed it on your blog.

Promote with a Fanpage box

After you are done implementing the above tips, be sure you are engaging with your fans. Above all, make sure your fans are interacting. There is no point in having a fan page with thousands of fans where no one really interacts. So let’s see some of the ways to pull in people without really having to ask them to become fans.

You should follow the tips outlined below as soon as you get your fan page up and running.

Your Updates Should “Call For Action”

Ask questions to draw participation

One of the best ways to “call for action” through your updates is by asking a question – something that Freelance Folder does extremely well. People love to voice their opinion and share their expertise. Make sure your updates ask them to do that. Simply linking to each article you publish on your blog won’t help you much as far as growing your fan page goes.

Two of the best ways for your fans to interact are through the Like and Comment features.

Like and Comment Are Your Best Friends

Facebook "like" feature

These Like and Comment features are extremely important to growing your fan page. Every time someone comments on your update or clicks the like button it shows on their feeds. Your fans’ friends see their profile or feed on the main page. They also see that one of your fans have been commenting on or using the like feature on your fan page. This can creates a viral effect.

If the update is good enough and really thought-provoking, those users who didn’t know about your fan page might join because they saw someone they knew on Facebook actively using it.

The key is to make sure your fans are participating and using those Like and Comment features so that it shows on their feeds. This is one of the best ways to get your fan page exposed to as many people as possible.

Now onto third party apps…

Utilize Third Party Apps

Blog and Twitter Tab on Facebook page

One of the reason Facebook is so popular is because of all the third party Facebook apps that are out there. I am talking about the apps that actually add value to your fan page.

If you look at Freelance Folder’s fan page, you will notice two tabs at the top that are not default tabs for fan pages — News and Twitter. If you click on the News tab you will see our recent posts. If you click on the Twitter tab you will see our Twitter updates.

These apps allow for a single stop information source for their fan base. (you can find these apps at involver.com for free). Now fans can quickly check Facebook updates, see what’s new on the blog, and even see what is being tweeted.

I personally think one of the best Facebook apps is the FBML application, also known as FaceBook Markup Language. You can use this app to create customized tabs, etc.

Here is a good example of a custom welcome page created by AllFacebook for their fan page using FBML.

Using FBML app to create a custom page for your fanpage

We’d love to hear your experience growing your Facebook fan page! Do you have any additional tips to share?

How To: Customize Your Facebook Page & Attract More Fans

Facebook Fan Pages are gaining popularity due to their high adoption rates among Facebook’s 300+ million users. Currently more than 10 million users become fans of Pages each day. However, the basic fan page layout is quite, well, basic. Adding some simple modifications can really make a Fan Page standout and  attract those valuable fans. By doing so, you’ll benefit not only improved appearance, but it is easy and cost effective as well.

The average Facebook Page lacks the ability to modify a page so that the visual appearance can match that of your website, promotional material or landing page. One simple application can add this functionality to your pages and pull in Facebook statistics as well.

The application Static FBML will allow you to create a new tab on your Facebook Page that can be completely customized to mimic your web presence and branding by displaying HTML and FBML so that you can render a truly customized section for your fans. Here is a step-by-step look at how you can implement this tactic.

First, you must have an active Facebook Page that you have admin access to. Then, head over to the Static FMBL Page and choose the “Add To My Page” link:

Static FBML

Once clicked, you will have the ability to choose a page (or pages) that you can add this application to. The application will then be added to the chosen Page(s) and will be labeled “FBML.”

Next, you will want to click “edit your page” then choose to edit the “FBML – FBML” application.

Change Name of Box

This is where the magic happens and the customization occurs. You can use simple HTML to fill this page and really have it stand out from your competition. Important: javascript is not supported, so stick with plain old HTML for best results.

There is also a good deal of helpful conversations which can enhance your troubleshooting within the “Discussions”  box of the FBML Page if you get stuck.  Coca-Cola and Gap both offer a great example of a customized FBML Page if you are looking for a few creative ideas.

Now, you should have your customized look in the newly named box … but you are not done yet! If your newly created page is really important for your brand (timely promotion, special savings or just an all around improvement from your wall) set this new box as your default location that users will arrive on when they visit your site. You can accomplish this by simply editing your “Wall Settings”. Select your new box in the “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else:” drop down tab.

Default Boxes

So there you go! With these simple steps, hopefully you can step up the presence of your Facebook Page and differentiate yourself from your competitors!

How To: Send Facebook Fan Page Updates

Over the weekend Facebook removed the sidebar action link that sends Fan page updates to your Facebook fans directly. You will now need to go through an extra click to get your updates sent. According to All Facebook, since the new Facebook inbox launched the click through rates on Fan page updates has increased significantly! We highly recommend Page administrators take advantage of this increased visibility.
So how do you send the updates? Simply click on the “Edit Page” link on the sidebar. On the right hand side under “Promote Your Page” you will see a link which says “Send an Update to Fans”. Despite the decreased visibility page updates are extremely useful for reaching those Fans who’s feeds your stories may not be displayed in.

As Fan Page updates continue to be implemented we’ll be sure to keep you up to date!

Facebook Fan Page and Fan Analysis

Facebook fan pages – you know, those public pages on Facebook that are created for brands, media outlets, celebrities, and wanna-be celebs, etc. Well, it turns out many of them just aren’t that popular!

According to Sysomos, a social media analytics firm, 77% of Facebook fan pages have less than 1,000 fans.

Sysomos analyzed 600,000 fan pages on Facebook and came up with the fan distribution curve in the chart above.  The majority of fan pages have only 10 and 1,000 fans.  Only 4 percent have more than 10,000 fans, and less than 1/20th of a percent have more than a million fans.  In their upcoming report it breaks down the additional data as follows:

  • 95% of pages have more than 10 fans
  • 65% of pages have more than 100 fans
  • 23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans
  • 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
  • 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
  • 0.047% of pages have more than one million fans (297 in total).

Here is what I found most interesting – Facebook fan pages tend to be updated only once every 16 days.  When you consider the craze around Twitter which measurs popularity on how often a profile is updated and followers are built because folks want to hear what is being said. Facebook seems to represent exactly the opposite. Fan support seems to be built on affinity rather what is being said or broadcast.

What are your thoughts? Why do you ‘fan’ a page?