This article was first published in the February 2019 issue of British Dealer News.
During the social media training course I ran back in December for MCIAC accredited motorcycle training schools, one of the things that delegates seemed to find the most surprising – and potentially useful – was how easy it is to monitor the social media activity of peers and competitors.
Along with a whole bunch of other social media analytics, we looked at Facebook’s ‘Pages to Watch’ feature. It’s a tool than anyone with a Facebook Page (with more than 100 ‘Likes’) can access within the ‘Insights’ section. You can ‘Watch’ any Pages you choose, and you don’t need to have ‘Liked’ them beforehand. Facebook will automatically list your own Page so that you can benchmark its performance against the others Pages you monitor.
If you’re not familiar with it, the generic example in this article shows how the UK Pages of seven motorcycle manufacturers compare in terms of audience size, activity, and engagement during a seven-day period. The ‘Engagements This Week’ column is a summary of the total number of reactions, comments, and shares achieved by the posts.
The trick with this kind of data is to look past the headline numbers. On the face of it, Triumph’s posts yielded more engagement than any of the others. Given it has by far the largest audience on Facebook of those in the example, that might be exactly what you’d expect. However, proportionally speaking, Norton achieved significantly more engagement than anyone else despite posting less content. While Triumph’s nine posts had an average of 233 engagements each, Norton’s three posts had 400 each. As a percentage of audience size, Triumph’s engagement rate was 0.06% compared to Norton’s 0.7%
In other words, while Triumph (and Yamaha and Honda) have nearly twenty times the audience of Norton on Facebook, Norton was able to engage its audience more effectively.
Which begs the question, what characteristics did the content posted by Norton have that led to better performance? Was it more interesting, useful, or perhaps entertaining? In fact it was simply more customer-focused than anything else, and that’s an important factor to bear in mind for your own content strategy. It’s the ability to discover that kind of detail that makes ‘Pages to Watch’ so valuable.
You can click on the Page names in the watch list to view the Posts that contributed to the statistics. By doing so, as well as getting a feel for the kind of content that was posted, you can see exactly how many times each one was Liked, commented on, and shared – and by whom. That means you can go beyond the numbers and investigate the most influential content-sharers and conversationalists. If they’re not engaging with your content, think about what you could do to encourage them.
Over time, you may notice that advert-style posts invariably perform very poorly in terms of engagement, whereas anything to do with people (like customers and motorcycling personalities) almost always perform well. If there’s a story behind the content, so much the better.
The point of all this, and of being able to analyse and interpret performance data in general, is to inform your choices about future content production and social media activity. By watching what others are doing in an objective way, you can learn more about what works, what doesn’t, and how your approach could be adapted and improved.