While managing your Facebook communities, one of the generally accepted indicators of success is the talking about indicator.
It shows you just where you stand among your online communities and competitors, but… Is Talking about the appropriate indicator of your communication quality? By comparing a few brand pages’ Facebook activity, iSTUDIO conducted a research on this topic and here are the results. Are they surprising or expected, find out by yourselves.
Imagine you just switched high schools and now you are a new student in a new high school where you don’t know anyone. So you just came in and your math teacher assigned you an extremely difficult homework assignment on your first day! Tough luck… And now you need to find somebody who knows math a little bit better than you in order to help you with your homework. The only person you have heard about so far in your new high school is Sandy, destined to be the prom queen. Every person in the high school knows who Sandy is, but everyone you asked so far couldn’t be of any help with your homework. Obviously, finding the person who knows math or knows someone who knows math is much more difficult than finding the soon-to-be prom queen.
Our hypothetical situation is a very good example of the talking about indicator in action. In your new school everyone seems to be talking about Sandy, while a very few people can be of help with solving your homework problem.
Here is how Facebook’s Talking about is defined and calculated:
People Talking About This is the number of people who have created a story from your Page post. Stories include:
- Sharing, liking or commenting on your post
- Answering a question
- Responding to an event
- Claiming an offer
Let’s observe the following table of different brand pages’ activity during a period of one month:
% growth in new fans
Number of wall posts
Total interaction per post
Avg. interaction per post
IPT (Total interaction per 1000 fans)
TPT (Talking about per 1000 fans)
*The values in the table were adjusted because the real values are confidential
In the table above you can see the comparison between five different brand pages within the same industry during the period of a single month. Talking about values are calculated on a weekly basis, but here we are using a monthly average. The observed brand pages are different in size and almost every other indicator in the table. Let’s observe the talking about column. It is obvious that Page D had the largest value in the past month, but at the same time it also had the largest growth in the number fans which was the main reason for such a large value. It is obvious that the increase in the number of fans has a huge impact on Talking about so it wouldn’t be far-fetched to conclude that the Facebook ads campaigns significantly influence Talking about by bringing new fans to the page. Page D also had the largest number of wall posts which contributed to its Talking about. Although Talking about is pretty representative in a way that it shows significant data about page’s growth and activity, it does not show the true quality of communication on the page.
Page D Fans (over a period of time)
Page D Talking about (over a period of time)
Above you can see examples of Socialnumbers graphs for Page D. It is very clear that the growth in fans influenced the increase of Talking about.
At the same time, Page E had a much smaller growth in fans in the past month and wasn’t talked about as much as Page D, or any other page in the table. On the other hand, Page E manages to gain an average of 19,2 interactions per 1000 fans which is much more than any other observed page! Its IPT index is by far the highest and can show us the real value and quality of communication on Page E. Page D had a much smaller IPT, while at the same time its Talking about was through the roof. This tells us something!
iSTUDIO gives you 3 reasons why IPT is more relevant than Talking about when examining the quality of Facebook communication:
- IPT shows you just how much you engaged your fans because it puts your Total interaction per post and number of fans into proportion
- The growth in fans isn’t taken into account while calculating the IPT, which gives more credibility to the assessment of your Facebook communication quality
- IPT excludes Page Like Stories in order to give you a better insight into your communication quality without Facebook ads campaigns
Neither of these two pages had the largest number of fans in the table, which shows that you don’t have to be the biggest to be the baddest in the neighbourhood, that is Facebook. In order to show that you don’t just talk the talk, but also walk the walk you need to examine IPT because it gives you more insight into the quality of your Facebook and social media community management. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Talking about is not important! It shows you the general information about your page’s growth and activity which is pretty important in order to know where you stand among other competitors on Facebook. Just don’t mistake Talking about for the quality of your communication. Even though being a prom queen is tempting, we feel that being a math wizz is of much more value to your fans and, in the end, your customers.