Each quarter Snoo.ws tackles a new series topic to provide our audience with insight, intelligence, examples and ideas. This month is Monitoring Month where we will cover everything from basic monitoring 101 to the top monitoring tools to monitoring’s role in your overall strategy. So, stay tuned – there’s plenty to come.
Facebook Timeline is now available (and is actually the standard format) for brand pages. With the newest update to our beloved social media platform comes oodles of changes; including some new and/or improved features that impact the way we analyze our Facebook endeavors. Since it’s Monitoring Month here at Snoo.ws and every Facebook Page is now in Timeline, let’s get into how the new FB affects monitoring.
Let’s start with broad strokes.
Generally speaking, one of the most notable changes I’ve seen with the release of Timeline for brands is a trend that has been taking shape over the past several years as social media has matured from collegiate boredom-killer to big business: vocabulary. The terms to identify behaviors, features, buttons, and kinds of content are becoming more specific. With this evolving jargon comes a clearer picture of how it all works. Facebook “stories” are now defined using “Insights.” It’s all managed in the “admin panel.”
While Facebook has always clearly labeled its various tabs and tools, the curation of vocabulary for the kinds of content posts and how they’re presented is helping users to understand their profiles on a broad level. Stars, pins, features, shares, likes… (the list goes on); there’s a bevy of specific content pieces to listen for when it comes to monitoring a current Facebook Page.
The vocab is significant – in general terms of social media monitoring, a brand is listening to the web for mentions, sentiment, conversations involving in the brand. When monitoring Facebook Pages specifically, we’re looking to assess the success of various content pieces. By assigning words to describe the various types of posts, we’re setting up an arena for analysis. Nailing down the jargon increases the preciseness; social media is a science.
The tools are becoming more custom-tailored, Facebook is really ramping up the offerings it provides each Page administrator inhouse.
The two biggest differences in how Facebook Timeline for brands impacts social media monitoring lies within the admin panel and the newest delivery of Insights.
Facebook’s Help Center describes the admin panel as “a place where you can respond to people using your Page and quickly see how your Page is performing.”
The Whole Brain Group, on their company blog (Whole Brain Blog) did a lovely job of explaining how the new admin panel functions in clear and concise terms: “A new addition to the page is the admin panel. It resides on your main page (only viewable by admins) and can be open or hidden as needed. The panel shows messages received, new likes, insights, notifications and an activity log for your own posts all in one spot.” (What Businesses Need to Know About Facebook Timeline for Pages, March 2012).
The admin panel is not viewable to your visitors – only the official admins of a Page have access.
It’s your mission control, it’s the brain of your FB Page; on other monitoring platforms, a similar section would be called a dashboard. I find this new feature very handy and easy to use. I like that I don’t have to go milling around looking for notifications in one place and then analytics in another – everything that tells you how your page is doing and what’s new (comments, messages, posts that tag you or happen on your Page’s Timeline) are, at a glance, all in one area.
Not everyone agrees with me. Alison Zarrella, an Internet marketing consultant, writes that the new admin panel is not so intuitive and requires more clicks than previous FB versions did to get around. Check out her post, Managing and Monitoring a Page With Facebook Timeline, to read a different take.
The “Insights” are the actual metrics that are measuring how your Page is doing. These analytics have been really revamped and updated with the release of Timeline.
The old Facebook analytics took up to two days to generate data on a post. Now Timeline’s Insights start pooling information in five to ten minutes. What a tremendous improvement and a real impressive monitoring tool! Some Twitter services take months to cull content – mere minutes just blows my mind.
According to StatCounter, the half-life of a shared link on Facebook is about 3.2 hours (the point in time when a link has garnered half of the engagement it will ever get). Timeline users can change content on the fly, reacting to the success of content is near real time.
Simply Measured points out in a blog post that one of Timeline’s important monitoring features is “measuring the impact on audience size and content amplification,” (Simply Measured, March 2012).
Finally, I’ll mention the specific metrics that are the most useful, telling, worthwhile data pieces to come from Timeline Insights (and this particular opinion and list is originally from Mashable on New or Enhanced Metrics, March 2012; follow the link to learn more about these metrics and how to study/apply each of them):
-People Talking About Engagment
-Friends of Fans
Your brand posts a photo to your Timeline depicting a new product that will be launched soon, this photo post is the first public image of this item. With real time stats at your disposal, you can track the the shares, reach, and attention that this photo is getting within minutes of it going up. You can compare it’s data with the rest of your Page’s content, other photo posts, etc. Notice a runaway piece of content? Pin it and help maximize it’s popularity; keep an eye on content and when a story starts to really garner a lot of attention, invest in turning that piece into an ad via Facebook’s Sponsored Stories advertising platform.
Trying to hash out and discuss all of the new Timeline-era monitoring options would take much more than one Snoo.ws post. I hope I’ve at least laid some groundwork for you though, helped to explain some main ideas.