New “insights” for Facebook pages — another reason for businesses to rethink social media presence

I wrote a City Talk column recently about the weak and ineffective presence that many small businesses have on Facebook.

Businesses — including bands, nonprofits, and other organizations — make all sorts of poor choices in their use of Facebook, but probably the worst are related to the use of friend/personal accounts instead of business pages.

The situation might be getting a little better these days as more users become savvier in their use of social media, but it’s still a pervasive problem.

And the longer businesses take in making the transition, the deeper the hole they will have for themselves.

As the manager of the Facebook page for this blog (please “like” Savannah Unplugged on Facebook), I’ve long had the ability to know just how many people have seen individual posts. That feature is obviously not available to personal users.

Yesterday, my account also began giving me all sorts of interesting data — the kind of information that could be absolutely critical if my blog were one of my key income sources.

I’m going to include a few screencaps here of what this new information looks like.

Be warned: if you’re paranoid about privacy because it never occurred to you that companies are tracking things like this, you might be in for a shock. I suspect most of my readers are aware, however, that there is all sorts of identifying information out there in cyberspace. Nothing that Facebook is now providing betrays the privacy of any individual user.

That said, I’ll share a few of the new features that page managers can see under “insights”. Click for larger versions.

I can now see what time of day the followers of Savannah Unplugged are online:

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 1.19.44 PM

I was somewhat astonished by this. Savannah Unplugged has 1,421 likes at this moment. Between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., over 500 of those fans are on Facebook for at least a moment in every single hour. I know that I frequently leave a Facebook window open anytime I’m at my desk at home or at Armstrong, but I am surprised by just how pervasive the use of the service is.

I can now see how many fans see and interact with various types of posts. Obviously, photo posts are the most interacted with:

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 1.23.38 PM

And look at this next screencap. I can even see not only how many fans saw individual posts but how many clicked on them. Since I’m hoping readers will go from Facebook to my blog, this data provides considerable information. The one post here with 0 reach was a comment on an existing blog post — obviously that comment appeared in no one’s news feeds. You’ll see that relatively few Facebook users clicked on any of these posts, but the percentage varies widely, from less than 5 percent to more than 10 percent.

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 2.06.15 PM

All this info is in addition to the types of information I’ve been getting already, like the age and gender of those who follow Savannah Unplugged:

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 1.36.48 PM

As you can see, women make up 46 percent of all Facebook users, but 53 percent of Savannah Unplugged followers are women. I have virtually the same number of followers in three age demographics: 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54. But my blog is dramatically underperforming among young people relative to their presence on Facebook. The opposite is true among older users.

I don’t know what — if anything — I’ll end up doing with this additional information. But, as I noted above, my livelihood doesn’t rely on the number of hits I get on Savannah Unplugged on Facebook or here on the site itself.

And let me end with a bit of a pitch. If there are blogs like mine that you enjoy, you should “like” them on Facebook and try to interact with them there occasionally. Interacting in any way with individual posts can dramatically increase their reach.

And if there are businesses or other entities that you’d like to support, you should take similar steps.

I have over 3,100 contacts on my personal page, many of whom friended me because I write public columns in the newspaper. But only 900 of those contacts have liked my blog, which is also a public forum where I post information and opinions like those found in my columns.