A lot of effort goes into creating a unique social marketing strategy. For those who are new to the process, we recently wrote out an entire 7-Step Guide for creating your own social media marketing strategy.
While all seven steps are important for ensuring that you have a well-rounded and comprehensive plan in place, in this post we aim to unpack the seventh step—Track, Improve and Market Your Efforts—specifically as it relates to Facebook.
Below you’ll learn how to conduct your very own deep Facebook analysis using Sprout Social, and how that can help create a stronger social strategy.
1. Connect Your Facebook to Sprout Social
This process requires access to Sprout Social. If you don’t use Sprout Social, you can start a free trial without having to enter credit information or download software. You won’t be charged at the end of your 30-day trial, so if it’s not a great fit you don’t need to worry.
Go to Your Dashboard
Follow this link to get to your Sprout Social dashboard. If this is your first time, this page gives you an overview of your social media data, as well as information on connected networks and team members with access to your account.
Add Your Facebook Page
You need to attach a Facebook Page to your account so that our tool can collect your data and build you a customized report. Click the Connect a Profile icon in the upper right corner of the web app and choose to Add A Facebook Page.
Note: You can add a Facebook Business Page or, if that isn’t available to you, you can click Connect a Personal Profile instead.
2. Run Your Facebook Pages Report
Sprout’s Facebook Pages Report presents you with all of the data you need to conduct a thorough Facebook analysis. Please keep in mind this report can only be run for Pages with 30 or more fans or followers.
- Go to the Reports tab of the platform
- Select Facebook Pages
- Select the appropriate date range
- Your report will automatically populate
You can analyze the data right on this page, or export it as either a CSV or PDF. The PDF is customized and designed, which is a good route if you’d like to print out your report and work with pen and paper.
Note: Once you’ve connected your Page, it may take up to 24 hours for Sprout to collect all of your data. Sprout gathers historical Facebook Insights data going all the way back to July 19, 2011.
3. Choose Your Key Facebook Performance Indicators
There are many different metrics that you can look at when it comes to Facebook, so it’s important to determine which are the most important goals for your business.
We’ve trimmed the list down to the seven key metrics we feel indicate strong content and a successful social strategy. Choose the metrics you would like to see increased with this analysis and optimize for them using the following steps.
According to Facebook, “post reach is the number of people who have seen your post. Your post counts as reaching someone when it’s shown in the News Feed.” This is a metric that you’d definitely like to see increase because the more people you reach, the more potential customers there are seeing your posts.
The algorithm that Facebook uses to decide what to show in each user’s News Feed is called Edgerank, and it’s made up of a handful of different factors. We list a lot of those factors in our Facebook Edgerank guide, but to keep things simple let’s assume that your posts will gain more reach with an increase in clicks, shares, comments and likes.
Someone sharing one of your Facebook posts is a strong indicator that your post resonated with them, and they think that their friends and followers will enjoy it as well. When it comes to sharing, users can:
- Share on their own Timeline
- Share on a friend’s Timeline
- Share on a Page they manage
- Share in a private message
- Share in a group
No matter how your fans share, this fuels the Edgerank score for that piece of content and, in turn, increases that post’s reach.
Comments allow you to get direct feedback on your content from your audience. It may not always be positive, but negative comments may be an indicator that you should stop and re-think your content. Positive comments and engagement indicate that your content is resonating with your audience. In the end, more comments is also more fuel for the Edgerank algorithm, so it’s important to monitor closely and understand when sentiment is positive and when things are turning negative.
As your content starts to draw engagement, it will naturally start to see more reach. Then as long as your click-through rates remain constant, you’ll see an increase in the overall clicks on your posts or clicks to your website.
This is the number of people who click the “Like” button on one of your posts. Facebook likes are a clear indicator that somebody is enjoying your social media content. This is a metric that you should work on increasing, as it shows people are favoring your posts.
The number of people who clicked anywhere in your post without generating a story plus the number of unique people who created a story about your Page post. This is a great metric to increase because it means people are creating their own unique stories about your posts.
The number of people who have created a story from your post. Stories are created when someone likes, comments or shares your post, as well as when someone answers a question you posted or responds to an event invite.
4. Ask Yourself the Right Questions
There are five very important questions that you need to ask yourself when conducting your Facebook analysis. The answers to these questions will guide your future strategy and make you a more effective Facebook marketer.
What Kind of Messaging Resonates?
A major reason to conduct a Facebook analysis is to find out which of your content performs the best; then, use that knowledge to guide your copywriting strategy.
Halfway down your Facebook Page report you’ll see a section titled Content Breakdown. This provides you with information on how each individual post you’ve created has performed.
Click your key performance metric at the top to sort by the top performing pieces of content. Study these posts to see what they all had in common.
Did you ask your audience for their opinion on a matter? Was it less sales driven than others? Was it funny? Figure out what about that post had an impact on your audience and optimize future copy for that.
What Type of Posts Get Shared Most?
Facebook posts are typically broken down into four categories, and your engagement rate will vary depending on which type your audience prefers.
Find the part of your report labeled Your Content, and focus on the By Story Type section.
Although it’s important for you to take advantage of all four post types, you should also favor the style that your audience engages with. This leads to increased overall engagement.
Who Are Your Facebook Users?
Understanding the demographic breakdown of your Facebook audience is a powerful insight that could help inform which types of products or content you post about and how you position them.
Locate the Sharing portion of your report and study the Sharing by Age & Gender section.
Do some additional research to find out how you can talk to this audience, and use that to inform your future publishing strategy.
Tip: Couple your personal demographic information with all social network demographic information to figure out what other networks you could benefit from.
Where Are Your Facebook Users?
As companies and social media sites go global, the idea of geo-targeting has become very popular. Distributing different content to members of their Facebook audience in different locations is something that great Facebook marketers should always be considering.
In the same Sharing section that you found your demographic information, locate the Sharing by Location.
Figure out where in the world your customers are and target those locations with more relevant content. You could also try to target the locations that you don’t see in order to build more brand awareness in areas that lack it.
When Should You Post to Facebook?
Most social media marketers are fascinated with finding the best day for them to post to Facebook. According to Google, May 2015 saw the highest amount of people ever searching for the term “best day to post to Facebook.”
That’s why our final step is to analyze your Sharing by Day of Week stats in the Sharing section.
If you have a limited amount of content, or don’t like posting every day of the week, use this information to pick and choose the best days to get your audience to share your posts.
It’s All About Your Followers
All these strategies are just a way for you to have a more meaningful connection with your social following, so that you can create lasting social relationships. If done well, and consistently improved upon, you should see an increase in the amount of traffic, leads and revenue you drive from social media.
Michael Patterson: Michael enjoys writing about all things social media, and his insights can be found on Adweek's SocialTimes, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner. When he isn't pouring over blog posts he can usually be found exploring Chicago's unique neighborhoods and breweries.