When it comes to Facebook, too often people confuse “bigger with better”. This may have been the case in 2013, however, the metrics of Facebook has changed and a bigger audience might actually do more harm than good. Instead of measuring “Total Page Likes” the number you should focus on as a social media manager is “People Talking About This” and here is why. While the absolute formula is a Facebook secret, what we know is that posts to page are shown to the total page audience based on a combination of audience size AND engagement. If your page has a big audience but relatively low engagement, Facebook will “penalize” your page by making your posts less visible to your audience. Essentially, you may have 41,593 followers, as in the example below, but the actually number of people exposed to your daily posts is a very small percent of total audience.
The example below is from a prominent entertainment business in Calgary who expressed to me how excited they were with their “total page likes”, however when I viewed the page, individual posts had a very low impression and engagement rate, with most posts being viewed by less than 5 people. This is a very low number given the perceived audience is 41,593 (note I said “perceived”).
In comparison, our 98.5 Virgin Radio Facebook page has a smaller “perceived audience” and yet the “Talking About” number is incredibly high. What this means is that while the audience is smaller, Facebook recognizes that those following the page value the content, and therefore, individual posts are delivered to a high percentage of followers, increasing engagement and total page value. Image below.
Furthermore, having a large audience that is not engaged is more detrimental than having a small, engaged audience. My advice to social media managers building an online audience with Facebook is to target your page by interest and area, avoid high “click farm” areas (I actually block these countries from seeing my pages to avoid unsolicited followers who bring down my page value) and always run a targeted post engagement ad AS WELL AS a page like campaign whenever advertising. Grow your page slowly and focus on posts that generate audience response, and over time, your Facebook page will become a valuable communication vehicle for your business.