The science of love (why Facebook makes business sense)
Why ‘Liking’ is not enough
How to measure fans’ attachment to your brand community
You many have thousands of fans and hundreds of ‘Likes’, but what does that really mean? Anyone can click on the ‘Like’ button without thinking too hard. It doesn’t mean a fan absolutely loves your content or cares enough to comment or share it with friends. How can you measure your fans’ level of attachment to your community, and what benefits does their engagement bring to your brand? In short, what constitutes good Facebook business?
Engagement = interaction
Your fans can be divided into different types depending on their level of familiarity and involvement with your brand community online. We’ve identified five types: strangers, friends of friends, acquaintances, observers and brand lovers. How engaged they are shows up in their actions: the more engaged they are, the deeper their level of interaction. The deeper their interaction, the more important they are to your Facebook business strategy. Starting from the most superficial level, fans can ‘Like’ the content they find or watch what’s going on. You know they care more when they start commenting, sharing content or contributing ideas. At the most engaged level, they’ll physically act – for example, by trying your new product, going to your store or showing up for an event.
Community love: how fans show their engagement
Why engagement matters
Intuitively, a fan who is engaged in your community is also a fan who feels more attachment to your brand, and this brings plenty of benefits. But engagement is not just an end goal – it’s an essential foundation of your social media strategy. Put simply, if you don’t have engaged fans in your community, your content may go unnoticed.
The EdgeRank algorithm: Facebook’s secret sauce
The reason is that Facebook displays content on users’ ‘Top News’ wall based on relevancy, which is based on interaction. Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, looks at three criteria: the affinity between you and the fan (e.g. how often the fan interacts with you in any way), the weight or type of interaction (e.g. a comment is considered more important than a Like) and time (recent interactions count more). In other words, if you want your posts to show on your fans’ pages, you need to have regular interaction with them.
The engagement lifecycle
The overall level of engagement in your community rises and falls as new fans join and others leave. This engagement lifecycle goes through four main phases:
- New page, new followers. The first fans are often die-hard brand addicts who are committed enough to come to the page with little or no incentive from your brand. In fact, sometimes your brand’s community has even been created by a fan. These fans are naturally very engaged and willingly interact with the community.
- Organic growth (rise and fall). The next phase in the engagement lifecycle is when the fan base grows through friends of the core group and low-key recruitment activities. As less committed fans join the group, overall engagement levels fall.
- New growth with the beginnings of engagement strategy.The community may have grown to significant numbers and this is typically when brands realise they need to define an engagement strategy. As community managers begin to implement a plan, engagement levels rise again.
- Maturity. This is a stage that most Facebook business prescences will ultimately reach; the fan base reaches a broader population, including many users who are not fanatical about your brand. Overall engagement tends to fall once more. Here the challenge is to keep up positive interactions with your most loyal community members, while gradually increasing engagement among your other fans.
Measuring engagement and campaign effectiveness
Digibonus tracks four main metrics to give you an indication of your fans’ engagement and how effectively your content is reaching fans:
|Metric||How we calculate it||What it indicates|
|Active ratio||Weekly active users (those who have interacted with you in some way) divided by your total fan base||Recent activity: how much fans and their extended community have interacted with your social content|
|Net Likes||The difference in 7-day rolling averages between likes and "unlikes"||Affinity: whether more people are choosing to stay in your community than leave it|
|Feed impressions per fan||Number of times your posts have been viewed divided by your fan count||Reach: how well your content is reaching your audience, how willing your community is to relay information and therefore how well you are performing on Facebook EdgeRank|
|Fanpage impressions per fan||Ratio of unique fan page views vs. number of fans||Attraction: how many fans come to your page and how many people could generate content on your pages|