Because the return on investment (ROI) of social media can be a little harder to track than other marketing efforts, it can sometimes feel like you’re stabbing in the dark.

Fortunately, there are new tools and apps for measure social performance popping up all the time (try an quick Google search and you’ll see). Some of the more advanced social platforms like Facebook have their own robust analytics tools built in. Facebook’s Insights are so robust, in fact, that they can be a little overwhelming to look at all at once. So today we’re going to take 4 sections of your Insights dashboard that can be very useful and talk about what you can learn from them.

First, let’s get you to the Insights panel. If you’ve never accessed Insights, or if it’s been awhile, just log in to Facebook, make sure you’re using Facebook as your page, and look for the little gear icon to the bottom left of your cover photo. Click there and scroll down to “View Insights”.

1. The Overview Graph
When you first arrive at the Insights dashboard, you’ll get the “Overview” panel. This shows you your total likes, how many people are talking about you, and your weekly total reach. As a refresher, the metric “People Talking About This” refers to the number of people who have created some kind of story relating to your page – posting on your wall, sharing a story, liking, commenting, etc. The “Weekly Total Reach” figure comes from the number of people who have seen any story related to your page, whether it was posted by you or someone who likes your page.

How to use it: This graph is useful because it shows you overall trends in the performance of your page over time. At a glance you can see the resulting trends from actions you have recently taken or any changes you’ve made. If you implemented a new posting strategy (posting more, posting less, posting different content) you can see whether that had an overall positive or negative impact on your performance here and make decisions about how to go forward.

2. Post Performance Chart
Below the overview graph, you’ll find similar metrics for individual posts from the set time period. You can look at these posts by date, post name, reach, engaged users, talking about this, and virality. There are two terms here we don’t see above, and those are “Engaged Users” (people who clicked on the post) and “Virality” (the total number of people who created a story off your post out of the total number who saw it).

How to use it: This is really one of the coolest and most useful tools that insights provides. If you’re just getting started with your posting strategy, this can save you lots and lots of time by showing you the kind of content you should be posting in order to achieve your social media goals. Because you can easily click the metrics (reach, virality, etc.) to sort posts, you can quickly see the kinds of content that your followers respond to best. If you want to increase your reach, sort by reach and see which topics and post types rise to the top, and base your strategy on that information going forward.

3. The Likes Tab
At the top of the overview graph, you’ll see that the next tab is “Likes”. This is an area that shows you lots of fun details about your followers at a glance. You can find out demographics like the gender of your followers, where they come from, what languages they speak, and how old they are. You might have made some assumptions about who your target audience is when first laying out your social media strategy, but this dashboard can tell you in raw numbers who you’re really speaking to.

How to use it: When you have a better idea who you’re talking to, you can craft a message that they’re most likely to engage with. For example, if you thought your target audience was mostly men ages 18-24, but you find that most of your fans are actually women ages 24-35, that might be a good time to take a look at your posting strategy and make some changes to better suit the interests of your audience.

4. Where Your Likes Come From
Further down on the Likes tab page, you’ll find another very handy metric that shows you, among other things, all your main sources of likes. These include things such as a Like Box or Like Button from your external website, people who click Like directly on your Facebook page, likes that come from Facebook’s Page Recommendations or Similar Pages features, from search results, etc.

How to use it: This can be very useful for determining your social media strategy going forward. Knowing where to find the people who want to engage with you on social media can be very helpful. Additionally, if you see that something like a Like Box from your website is not performing well, you know that you need to reevaluate the placement of that item on your site in order to get more likes from it.

There are, of course, many more metrics available to you on Facebook Insights if you take the time to poke around and really get into the numbers. And we definitely recommend that you do that in the future. But if you’re just getting started with Insights and you want to get the most out of the time you spend on it, these four areas are a great jumping off point.

Love social media analytics? Manage your Facebook and Twitter content through Pagemodo Posts and get tons of fun details about how your followers relate to different content types, posting times, and more.

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Pagemodo. Loves social media, branding, whales. Get more from Sarah on Pagemodo’s Blog and Google+.


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