On Facebook, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Occasionally new research related to social media comes out, and really shakes the industry to its core.

That happened last week, with new research from Facebook research company PageLever.

In business settings, the goal for Facebook Fan Pages tends to be to grow the membership consistently over time. The more fans or Likes you have, the more valuable the page is to the company’s business objectives.

This new research suggests that as a Fan Page’s membership grows, engagement and page-views-per-member shrinks.

From a purely aesthetic perspective, looking at the Fan Page and seeing that 10,000 people like your business on Facebook has its benefits. It makes you feel good.

But when it comes time to talk value, it can be a bit more difficult to find the silver lining. You might have 1,000 Likes on Facebook, but if you’re averaging around 5 Likes or comments per post, then only 0.005% of your users saw the post and cared enough about it to respond.

That being said, you cannot expect mass action on everything that you post to your page. And not every one of your 1,000 fans will care that much about you or your content.

But if you’re managing a Fan Page, out of all of the data available on Facebook Insights, one of the only numbers you should concerned about is Post Feedback, relative to Post Views. That tells you how much interaction is happening, and how much of your overall community is participating.

In a write-up on the Inside Facebook blog, the author explains that those numbers should serve as a call to action for Facebook page managers:

The low absolute percentage of users who view either a Page or its news feed updates might surprise some. It should be taken as signal that admins need to work hard to produce compelling updates that draw Likes and comments which boost a Page’s news feed visibility, otherwise their efforts might go unseen.

Once you come to terms with the realization that even with the most interesting content, you likely won’t be able to attract a large amount of your community to one single posting, you can then focus on quality of content in general.

Development strategies with the goal of attracting different parts of your community, based on what you know about them from demographics reporting in Facebook Insights, is another way of rounding out your monthly Feedback numbers.

Just remember, growth is good. While you would like to grow the size of your community in terms of total Likes, growing your community in terms of participation is as much, if not more important when it comes to showing value.