Likes and comments.
That’s the first thing we look at when someone asks about engagement on Facebook, right? Okay, maybe community size, then Likes and comments. The truth is that measuring community engagement on Facebook is much deeper and more complicated than that.
I want to take a look at what engagement looks like from a numbers perspective, then drop some ideas on how to get better and more repeat interaction with those beautiful people who have publicly told your brand, “Hey brand, I like you.”
ENGAGEMENT BY THE NUMBERS
Our numbers match up with other analysts that community engagement on the whole sits a little over 3%. That means that out of all of a brand’s fans, each post might have 3% of their audience engage with it. And that’s if it’s a GOOD post. Of course there are things you can do to bump up your Edgerank, which helps your posts to be seen by more people, but we’ll assume you, as a social media marketer, are doing a pretty stellar job talking to your community. 3%. Not necessarily the same 3% with each post, but 3%. It varies by community, but 3%.
There is a fascinating series of blog posts by Michael Wu over at lithosphere.lithium.com about looking into deeper metrics to find superfans within the engagement spectrum on Facebook. He takes a look at things like comment thread depth, repeat interactions within the same post, timing and velocity of those interactions, and Facebook as a community for brands verses a social network…that is, pre-established relationships (social network) vs. opportunity for relationship growth through engagement (community building). Several of his stats stand out:
- 30% of active fans reengage with fan pages. That means 70% of fans post once to a brand page and never return.
- Only 9.6% of fans return to the same conversation on a fan page. 90.4% of active fans post once in a thread and never return to the conversation.
He points out that, while social, Facebook is not inherently designed to be a relationship building website. Because the news feed falls down the page so quickly, it’s very difficult to create and maintain meaningful conversations. From that view, a 9.6% return rate makes sense (and even sounds a little high).
THE CASE FOR FACEBOOK COMMERCE AS A RELATIONSHIP SUSTAINABILITY TOOL.
We talk a lot about rewarding fans for publicly saying they like you. The process of liking a brand is not difficult. A button falls in front of you and you click it. But the emotional high five that comes along with it, I think, is highly underrated by brands.
We get so caught up in the number of fans we have that we forget these are PEOPLE who are very much alive. We have the opportunity to superserve them because by Liking us, they have also admitted they’d like to be entertained by us or learn from us or be treated like VIPs by us.
It’s a remarkable opportunity.
THE FAN ENGAGEMENT SPECTRUM
I believe communities can beat 3%. First we have to look at a brand’s audience and how fan behavior and engagement travels through various engagement levels. We believe in a Leap 5 social commerce philosophy. What we mean is there are 5 types of fans which are at different levels of engagement.
- Purchasing fan
- Advocate fan
- Engaged fan
- Potential fan
The path to Superfan starts with Reach.
1. Reach (Potential Fan Opportunity) – A key to growing your base in any medium is reach. Quality of channel is also critical, but the Social Graph creates an efficient, high quality, word of mouth channel. So the key here is measuring and growing your reach constantly. Key metrics include:
- Monthly Active Users
- Total Fans
- Total Fan Network Size
- Count of Shares, Likes and Comments per post
2. Interaction (Potential Fan -> Engaged Fan)
– Once a fan has chose to “like” the brand, they must be driven to engage. Key metrics include:
- Page Loads per fan
- Count of Shares, Likes and Comments per fan
3. Conversion (Engaged Fan -> Purchasing Fan)
– After engagement, ROI becomes critical. Driving sales from impressions and cart building are key metrics to watch:
- Conversion from Impression
- Conversion in cart
4. Revenue & Referrals (Purchasing Fan -> Super Fan)
- The power of Social Commerce is empowering fans to promote the brand to their networks, as well as making it effortless to have great buying opportunities over and over. Super Fan metrics to watch are:
- Avg Cart Size by fan
- Frequency of purchase by fan
- Total sales by fan
- Referred members by fan
- Referred buyers by fan
I believe the tools are there – Facebook has built-in engagement and what they don’t have, they let you link to. Tools + Caring + Consistency = Relationship Building. Here are the ways we engage fans on Facebook:
- Surveys – ask your community questions – do you like this or this? Don’t be afraid to go off-topic and speak to current events. The conversation does not have to be exclusive to your brand.
- Photos – share photos of live events, behind the scenes at the office, photos that prompt comments (what do you think of this?), and photos of new products. Ask questions in the title or description of the photo and participate in the comment thread – answer questions or comment back multiple times as your community comments.
- Videos – Use a similar strategy to photos…or take a queue from the Old Spice Guy and make custom videos for specific users in your community based on a question they ask.
- Comments – Comments are what started social. Each piece of content created can have comments. Use them. Jump in to your community’s posts and comment on them. Then react and interact with comments on your own wall. We’re aiming for conversation that takes the relationship to a deeper level.
- Free Downloads – offer communities something for free. Free is the first step toward commerce, you know. Some of our most viral campaigns have been free offers that let people discover new offers from their friends. Friend-to-friend marketing is the essence of social.
- Commerce – You signed up for Rue La La or Gilt Groupe didn’t you? You want that discount. You crave the well-fashioned sales opportunity and limited quantity. You want to receive notices every day of what the next sale is shaping up to be. Learn from the wave of discount retail sites and implement similar strategies to your Facebook page.
The case for Facebook commerce sneaks in there when you empower your Facebook page to reward those fans with great offers. That could be deep discounts, items only sold to Facebook fans, limited edition or autographed items, etc. Teach a community to show up every Tuesday at 10a.m. for a deal, and you’ll reach an entirely new level. Commerce is a great way for a Facebook fan to get a payoff. Suddenly, it’s worth it. That emotional high-five got them in the door. That’s when you push the pedal to the floor and build affinity.
TO SUM UP
At the highest level fan count (Liking a page) is not a good metric for engagement. Community engagement (likes and comments) on average sits around 3%. To increase interaction with the fan, utilize different types of content to drive conversations that deepen the relationship with the community and drive potential fans to superfans. Introducing commerce as part of your overall social media strategy is a fantastic way to reward fans and create buzz about your Facebook page. This all requires an understanding that the world we live in today makes it easier than ever to have real relationships with global customers and to increase brand affinity. Treat customers well and word will spread.