Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Analyse a Facebook page

Understanding the impact that the content put out on your brand's Facebook page has on your audience is a critical component in objectively analyzing the performance of your Facebook efforts. Conducting the analysis, however, is often easier said than done.

Facebook Insights provides a nice interface which allows you to see a number of metrics related to each post, but there are quite a few other post level metrics that are beneficial to the analysis yet are not visible in the interface. Gaining access to the additional metrics can be done by either using the

Facebook Graph API or exporting the data from Facebook Insights.

Once you have the data, it's time to get organized.

There are many ways organize the data for analysis, but the focus here will be on three top level segments and four metric categories, each of which can also be segmented.

After the analysis, you will have insights into questions such as "what type of post or mix of posts should I utilize in order to achieve a specific objective?" and "when is the ideal time to post?"


The top level segments are the type of post, such as link, photo, video or status, the time of day that the content was posted, and the day of week that it was posted.

Each of these will provide insights on its own or can be combined with other segments to provide even more in-depth insights. This information is provided by Facebook for every post.

You can also refrain from segmenting at all and instead compare all posts against each other. This can often be a good starting point to get a high level view of your individual posts.

Metric Categories

The next level down from the segments gets into the metrics that can be used to analyze the performance of each segment. The metrics can be organized into four categories, each of which can be seen in the figure below.
  1. Exposure: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It shows the number of impressions that were generated by your posts. This can be viewed as either total impressions, unique impressions (reach), or impressions by users who have liked your page. These metrics are useful on their own, but become even more useful when used as part of derived calculations, which will be touched on at the end.
  2. Consumption: This one moves beyond exposure to having some sort of meaningful interaction with your post. This category is called consumption since it is an indication that the user went from being exposed to your post to consuming the content of the post. The sub-metrics of consumption include video plays, photo views, link clicks, and other clicks on the post. Similar to exposure, consumption can also be looked at in aggregate or segmented by the number of unique users who consumed the content and the number of consumptions that came from users who have liked the page.
  3. Engagement: This is the step you hope users take after being exposed to the post and consuming the posts content. The sub-metrics here include likes of the content, comments about the content, and shares of the content. Engagement can also be viewed in aggregate or segmented by unique users who engaged and engagements that came from users who have liked the page.
  4. Negative Feedback: This is one that you hope to minimize since it is an indication that the content you're releasing isn't relevant or viewed as spam. Examples of sub-metrics for this category include reporting the post as spam and clicking the X button, which hides the post from the users view.
All the metrics described above are easily accessible using the Facebook Insights export feature or for more advanced users via the Graph API.

You're probably familiar with some of these metrics just from using the Facebook Insights interface, but you need to bring the data out of Facebook Insights in order to perform the real analysis.

Once you have your data together in a spreadsheet, you can supplement it with your own derived calculations that will add value by providing greater insights into the performance of your content.

Just like the metric categories and sub-metrics described above, the derived metrics should also be segmented to give greater insights.

Some insightful metrics that can be used in aggregate or segmented include:
  • Percent of page fans reached by each post
  • Page fan engagement rate vs. non-page fan engagement rate
  • Consumption rate of videos vs. consumption rate of photos
  • Negative feedback rate for each post type
These are just a few basic examples of derived metrics. There are many others that can also be computed depending on the objectives of your Facebook page.

Monday, September 10, 2012

8 Things to Consider When Writing a Social Media Strategy

1. Set Clear Goals
Many of us name the activity we pursue as “B2B Social Media Engagement” or “Social Media Marketing.”

While this is often accurate, what we want to achieve with social media can turn out to be something more specific than these general descriptions (i.e. branding, recruiting, lead generation creation, exposure for new products, building a reputation, finding new business partners/customers, gathering information).

When done right, social media will influence more than one aspect of a business. Succeeding in one area of social media will help other elements of your business strategy. (Once you have built an active community and engaged within it – you will propel your marketing efforts.)

To achieve what you are aiming for, be clear in what you expect and what you wish to gain from your activities.

You should also be clear about what kind of results you want in terms of timeframe and actual numbers.

Unrealistic expectations will result in frustration, but having specific goals is essential for measuring success. (The answer to your goals and expectations can even be that social media is not the best solution for you and a different marketing investment is better suited for your professional needs.)

Remember to be patient; social media is a long-term relationship.

2. Hone in on Your Target Group
There is virtually no group of people that you cannot find in social media. Therefore, knowing whom you wish to speak with is essential to reach your desired results. It is building these relevant and active relationships that breeds lasting social media and business success.

Once you have determined your target group, the next step is to know where to find them — and how communicate with these people. Choosing the right outlets and content for your target group is crucial to social media success.

3. Know Where You Stand (What does your current online audience look like?)
There is a vast difference in social media between starting at zero and building on an already established audience. (This applies to whatever networks/outlets you decide to pursue.)

It is also important to understand the existing knowledge of your employees. Do they already have experience, content and real life contacts that will influence your strategy and the time you need before seeing results?

Keep in mind that you need people to want to listen to you before you can tell them what you want them to know. Once you have them listening, you need people willing to share your content before it can make a true impact.

If you have already built an interested audience willing to share – connect and give them good content they are likely to share.

If you do not (yet) have a following, start with outlets that make it easy to build a community. Twitter, Pinterest, publishing platforms and news aggregates are good places to access already-existing communities.

Note: Do not make the mistake to measure the entirety of your social media influence by the outcome of your first feeble attempts at social media. The “gurus” with whom who may want to compare yourself have been doing this for years.

It takes time, diligence, measured campaigns/calculations, and a series of trial and error to find what works for you.

4. Utilize Your Budget and Resources
It will always take time to build an influence within social media. However, there are ways to speed the process.

Hiring a strong team of people with familiarity within social media channels and a willingness to learn and experience is one way to combat the enemy that is time in social media.

Investing in ad campaigns and optimization tools is another. While money is not the only answer, it is essential to utilize the means you have available.

Warning: Do not fall victim to the myth that social media is free.

5. Allow Your Time Frame to Be Flexible 
If you expect “Big Time” results tomorrow – buy them. If you want to achieve success by connecting with people, building a reputation, branding your business and establishing trust – understand that this process takes time.

Being clear from the beginning about what you want to achieve – and in what amount of time – helps you to decide on your optimal strategy and the means by which you can achieve set goals.

6. Rely on Your Employees  
For each company, there are different ways to pursue a social media employee strategy. You can outsource all of your activity, hire a complete internal team, or find a blend between the two.

The decision to involve people in different parts of your strategy will involve consideration about content creation, which networks to target, how much activity and branding you can do with given resources (and employees).

The experience, the communicative skills and the personality of your employees will help to establish network influence. Hire specialists when necessary, but don’t miss out on utilizing the talents and communities of your existing employee network.

7. Utilize Various Outlets
Social media is not all about Facebook. Especially in B2B, Facebook might not be the right outlet for your activity (even though you can, theoretically, reach almost anyone, worldwide).

There are countless other networks that are interesting for your business and may be better suited to reach your target group.

If you are starting out with limited resources in time and money, select channels for publishing and spreading your content; figure out how they work and get them started.

There are social media outlets where it is easy to start and utilize a given audience and others where you have to work hard to build a following.

For an easy start, consider including some of the easy to use networks providing you with an already established audience.

For publishing you can reuse your content on news aggregate sites like Business2Community or directly tap into the community on exploreB2B. For spreading an easy start are matching LinkedIn groups and build a following on Twitter.

Once you have the accounts running, keep managing these communities while looking for other outlets that fit into your strategy.

8. Understand the Important Process of Content Creation
The kind of content best suited for you depends on many of the already mentioned aspects of your marketing strategy: What you want to achieve? Whom do you want to reach?

Which networks best achieve these goals? Once these questions have been answered, the content itself can take on many forms: videos, articles, pictures, graphics, and more.

For many people, the question about what content to use is the most difficult to answer. Maybe this is due to the fact that the possibilities are so vast that there is no short answer to this question.

There are some basics you should keep in mind when deciding on what type of content to produce. Think about what your target group wants to know instead of what you would like them to know about your business.

Look around and find out what you like to read or watch – this is often the best hint on what your audience will also want to read and watch.

There are numerous lists on content ideas to help you get inspired and start being creative.  Include your employees into your content creation process and give a voice to your happy customers.

These are often the most under-utilized voices that can help create trust and formulate a reputation for your outstanding business.

Final Remarks:
There are numerous decisions to make before you start. Some decisions will certainly turn out to be “wrong” and you will have to adjust your strategy.

But if you start with a clear idea, you will be able to identify where you went astray, and can get back right on track.

In the end, you just have to get started and find your own way. All of those experts you look up to right now have once been in your position, too. They have made some mistakes, learned, (re-learned) and kept going.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Infographic: The Problem with Projects

Effective project management relies on precision. Projects that miss deadlines and exceed budgets are more likely to require remedial intervention, restarting or cancellation.

The success of a project relies on hiring the most experienced, project manager.

Why do projects fail and how PMPs can help

NB: This Infographic is an advert for Villanova University, a provider of PMP Project Management Certification.