For most companies, there’s a gap between social media results and business results.  For example, growth of a fan page does not typically have a high correlation with an increase in sales, especially when you’re looking at short-term results.  I am not saying that a correlation doesn’t exist.  I think social media can generate business results, some of which are hidden on an income statement, but that’s a different conversation.  As a result of this gap between visible business results and social media activity,  companies often try to make sense of their efforts by benchmarking themselves against their competitors.

A company that I recently looked at had achieved some great results in terms of recent fan growth on Facebook, but wanted to get an idea of how they might better manage their social media presence moving forward to keep their growth rate up up keep their community engaged.

One of the drivers of both engagement and organic fan growth on Facebook is the fan interaction rate.   When fans interact with a brand’s content on Facebook, activity feeds on a user’s profile drive organic traffic to their Page.   I like to think of this as SEO for social.  When search became the emerging media, everyone wanted to optimize their websites for organic search results by dropping keywords and key terms on their pages in an effort to increase traffic from search engines. Fast forward to social: if you want to increase traffic to your social presence, getting your existing community to interact with your content is an effective tactic.

Below is a graph that shows what I believe to be a correlation between the amount of photo and video content that’s posted by a Facebook Page and the corresponding interaction rates for each.  This is pretty intuitive: photos get higher interaction rates then text alone when it comes to Facebook.

Here are the terms and definitions:

  • Page Size: Defined as the number of Likes on the Facebook Page, denoted below by the size of each bubble.  The biggest bubbles have the most “Likes” on Facebook, and the smaller ones less so.
  • Interaction Rates: [(Number of post likes + number of post comments) /  number of Page likes] *100.   For example, if a page has 10,000 Likes on Facebook and posts an update that generates 40 Likes and 10 comments,  that post would have an interaction rate of .5%: [(40+10)/10,000]*100=.5%.
  • % of posts that include photos: Looking back over a set period of time, finding the approximate percentage of updates that contain a photo or  video, not including link out thumbnails.

While I don’t think this is a particular shocking discovery,  I have been impressed to see that this correlation scales with Page size.   One would think that after a company gets into millions of Likes that interaction rates would fall because the denominator in the equation grows so large.   I’ve found that Page size has almost nothing to do with it.    Pages that post more photos in their updates tend to enjoy higher interaction rates, and higher organic growth rates as a result.