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Data driven decisions on Facebook

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Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

UPDATE: October 2011

Seems that with the new Facebook Insights that you can now export all the data that you need to make the below work again without using Plus there are some new metrics too, individual users who have seen each post as well as reach.

Good times!


UPDATE: seem to have been taken over by Simply Measured and don’t seem to offer the same, very cost effective, solution as what we did below.  Hoping to find out more, but as you can imagine, I’m very keen to keep using them!

I was having a chat with a colleague last week and she asked me why we update our Facebook page twice a day and how do we make that decision? Was it just a guess or a hunch?

The answer to both was by using data.

At the BHF we have a very healthy Facebook community with lots of engagement, take a look – I am very proud of it. We have worked very hard to make sure that we are talking to our ‘likers’ every day and engaging them in conversation not just broadcasting at them, using our top class content to build better relationships.

But how did we make decisions about when we should post a Facebook update?

In April, we used to export the previous 12 months Facebook data to a huge Excel file.

Our Analytics Executive Dan manipulated the Excel file and in a few hours we knew:

  • Time of our updates
  • Amount of likes per post
  • Amount of comments per post
  • Whether posts included a video, photo or if they were just a text update
  • Our top contributors to our page
  • Lots more treasures…

Now we had all that data we could cross reference the time of our updates by comments and likes and find out when updates had higher levels engagement – allowing us to make decisions on when we post using data rather than just a hunch.

We are due another data mine soon and due to the substantial increase in ‘likes’ that we have had since April I think that our timings may change slightly. I’m keen to find out whether our updates with a question are more engaging with our ‘likers’ than one’s without  too as well as some more extensive work into what topics get more engagement (if you’re reading this Dan then that’s what I’m going to ask next week..).

For the record, our highest engagement came between 11:30-13:00 and 18:30-19:30…

N.B We had to pay $50 dollars for our file due to the size of our Facebook page, but if you’re managing a page with less ‘likes’ then you may not have to pay at all. (We have 100,000+ likes now).

Mark Zuckerberg talks Facebook & Mobile, Single Sign On & Places

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Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

Click the link to play the interview.

I am doing a lot of work around single sign on (long story) but interesting to see Facebook talking about it and also mobile/location. No Facebook phone at the moment, but the concept of single sign on with your Facebook ID across all sites (without having to re login) is interesting.

Also in the interview talks about deals and social deals. Obviously an idea that will evolve (as with places) but nice to hear such a big company talking about doing things slowly, when they are ready.

Love the passion for making online experiences social, massive culture shift. For me I wonder what this means for organisations/charities who are set up with their databases. If people use their Facebook data and ID to interact with websites. Awhile until this is an issue, but the iceberg may come.

Also, some interesting bits on Places. Apparently more people are going to places on their mobile app rather than their newsfeed. Which makes sense. Places is going to be big people!! It is so relevant in mobile for sure.

What do you think? Long and VERY interesting interview.

Real life social networks version 2

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Will be trying to summarise this presentation and the one below soon but this is one of the best I have seen for along time. What do you think? Really like the user examples.

The socialisation of brands

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Found this via @Wearesocial on Twitter, as ever a really interesting link. Best to print off or view in full screen, get a coffee and take five minutes.

What are your thoughts?

Facebook’s new groups. All change?

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Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Yesterday Facebook announced new functionality in the way groups will work on Facebook. Something I have been expecting for a while.

It is a pretty big change. Not only to groups but to the way that we use Facebook. The new groups will allow us to make mini Facebook experiences and for you to list together your interests and people. That might mean a group for the people who you lived with at University, or your amateur football team. All groups will be start as closed unless you make them open or private and only those in the group can see what goes on. The group admin can also update to group members newsfeeds.


There is also a big play on collaborative working. New groups allow uploading of documents and event editing these on the group. This is interesting and for me shows a play into the professional space. The groups even have group chat which allows you to talk to the whole group or those online in the chat module.

The final functionality which makes me think that Facebook is looking at the professional audience long term is being able to email the group. Every group (from the looks of it) can have an email address so that you can email the group even when you aren’t on Facebook. But when would you not be on Facebook but able to email? Perhaps at work…?

What about non profits?

For non profits I think this is an interesting move too. There are hundreds of thousands of groups dedicated to fundraising areas, events and organisations that can sometimes fragment a brand. Empowering these people and harnessing their amazing enthusiasm whilst keeping that activity streamlined is a challenge.

The new groups will allow much more private and personal interactions. Instead of a new group hidden away for anyone to join you add friends and contacts to the group. How this fits with your organisation Facebook strategy depends what you are trying to achieve but I would suggest that groups are going to change a lot of people’s experiences on Facebook so it may be a good idea to start exploring the functionality and possibilities. For small/tiny organisations it may even allow you to have a small collaborative intranet or space which is private and at no cost apart from the cost of a Facebook account.


We shouldn’t underestimate the way this will change our experience of Facebook. I am part of the tiny 5% of people who use Facebook lists, I find them a great tool and help me control privacy. New groups will make that a lot easier. You will be able to potentially create a group for each interest and area of your life and friends. For example I may have a group for my family, old flatmates and university friends and then friends who live in London (where I live now). That would mean I could have 4 different Facebook experiences which will have an impact on my feed too.

I think that this is the first step in the groups product. The old groups had become outdated and not fit for purpose. How brands use groups I am not so sure. I am sure there will be stories about brands using groups as an intranet or working group, I think that could work, though I have some big question marks over that. But we know Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone in the world to be on Facebook. If you can be on Facebook for work that might make that dream a bit easier.

Coca-Cola Camp Lets Teens Update Facebook Profiles in Real Life

Saw this at a conference and it is interesting to see that more companies are starting to think about the platform and not just let us update our Facebook profile as a marketing channel. Also interesting is the offline complementing the online which again is something I firmly believe in (for the moment).

At the same time, rather scary that so much data of teens who obviously are excited and (on a sugar rush?) being monitored 24/7 – if they choose to be of course…

I think the tech is obviously expensive and for a big brand this may be a useful way of engaging offline and online. But I think there may be something in it for small brands and Non profits too. Maybe not now but for the future.


Want to grab the attention of Generation Y? Here’s how Facebook Places could help

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Want to grab the attention of Generation Y? Here’s how Facebook Places could help

My first blog on the website. Take a look:

As a proud member of Generation Y – the generation born after 1980 – I am often asked
how to engage young people.As a group we are said to be more ethically conscious than other generations, and we
want to make a difference to the world. But we have shorter attention spans, question
everything and can come across as arrogant. Doesn’t sound too different to every
generation that has gone before us before taxes, bills and all of those other
grown-up things come into play, does it?

What marks us out from previous generations is that we have had access to the internet
and social media during our formative years. Other generations didn’t. Not being able to meet
and collaborate with other like-minded people was probably the downfall of a lot of great
ideas in the past.

Now we are just a Facebook group away from being able to meet people who share our
ideas and goals. Look at how fundraising or volunteering has changed: every summer, we
are inundated with links to donate to JustGiving pages, which in turn enable us to share
and ask people to donate to our cause.

Location-based services are set to take this connectivity to the next level. I was an early
adopter of services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, but I always knew it would take
Facebook to dip its toe in for location-based services to become mainstream. That’s why
last week’s announcement on the launch of Facebook Places was music to my ears.

What excites me about it is the possibilities to engage new audiences into traditional third-
sector areas of business, such as shops and events.

For example, Foursquare allows businesses to add special offers if people visit or
become “mayor” of a particular location. Imagine you are logged into Foursquare and see
the local charity shop is offering two-for-one to people who check in there. This tactic may
attract younger people who don’t usually visit charity shops. Of course, the shop needs to
have good stock and look appealing. But location-based services would be the first step to
capturing that new generation of customers.

With Facebook Places also comes the functionality to advertise your “place” or
location. This is great news, as it means that you can target users in a very specific

The principle is the same as Facebook ads, which allow business to promote pages to
specific groups of people. But we can now make the experience even more personal and
local. For example, if you run a charity shop in Rochdale, you can target a new audience
by advertising your “place” only to those Facebook users who have mentioned Rochdale
on the site – again, another way of promoting traditional charity to a new audience.

Another by-product of Facebook Places is that instead of having a fragmented social-

media space where a charity has a Facebook page or group for every one of its shops or
events, they can now be listed as locations, which allows a more consistent approach.

Start small and wear the software in. Location-based services are new, and they will take
time to mature. If there are no big results early on, keep trying.

The key thing to remember is young people are no different from any other group. They
want to be treated on a level playing field, be more than a token thought and to actually
have their ideas and efforts considered and given time of day. Be honest and open with
what you are trying to achieve and why you want to achieve it. A positive experience will
capture the loyalty of Generation Y for a long time.

Which brings me onto crowdsourcing…but that might be another blog.

Posted on 24th August 2010, by RKtalks, under Social media, Technology

Tags: facebook, foursquare, fundraising, generationy, gowalla, justgiving, places


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