There’s been lots of gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and pounding of keyboards about Facebook’s Edgrerank lately. “How dare they!” pontificate the social pure bloods. “We put forth the effort to get fans to ‘like’ our page, and now we have to PAY Facebook to reach them? It’s an outrage!”
Facebook is a publicly traded company. They are interested in their own success, period. If that happens to overlap with your success, it’s gravy. Nowhere and never did Facebook say that they would deliver every kitten photo or other inanity you post to 100% of the people that ‘liked’ your page. And to expect them to do so for free, forever, shows just how little business acumen many social practitioners really have. Would you expect ExactTarget (client) to send emails to all of your newsletter subscribers for free? Would you expect Google to give you limitless free clicks on an Adwords campaign? Does CNN give you free TV time because you “put forth the effort” initially?
You may not like it, but social is a business now. And one of the core tenets of modern business is that you have to be faster than your competition. (in fact, I co-wrote a book about it)
A couple weeks ago, I published on this blog a little chart that provided a simple formula for figuring out when to pay Facebook to promote a post - which shows your post to more of your fans. (Note, the existence of this voluntary option, and Facebook’s refusal to show your kittens to everyone without paying their toll is what is wadding panties)
Facebook Stats Live as They Happen
But now, I’ve got a far better solution to show you. My friends at PageLever (a company in which I’m a proud investor) have just rolled our their new Pagelever Now Facebook stats tracker which gives you reach, comments, and likes data for every Facebook post live, as they occur.
Starting at $99/month, PageLever Now lets you see stats in real-time, publish posts, and see and reply to comments in a simple dashboard. Most importantly, the live stats show you the perfect time to pay to promote a post, and help you avoid cannibalizing your own attention by publishing/promoting too close together.
I love the easy, five star system they’re using to nudge you to promote a post. Based on your rolling, 30-day average engagement, PageLever shows you how the post in question stacks up. The more stars, the better the post is performing, and the more you should consider promoting it (a key principle of post promotion is that the rich get richer. if your initial subset of fans like a post more than usual, pay to show it to a larger segment)
In this example from one of our clients, the nationally syndicated TV show and video website Right This Minute, you can see that the first post has one star, but the second post (iPad Giveaway!) has five stars, and probably should be promoted.
A Bloomberg Terminal for Marketers
The system also includes post scheduling, and an alerts ticker that tells you whenever something important has happened on your page. Jeff Widman, co-founder of PageLever, says the new Now service is like the “Bloomberg terminals that enable stock traders to make instant decision, but this one is for marketers.”
Peering into this data can yield insights that are contrary to conventional wisdom about Facebook fan page, too. Says Widman:
One of the surprises we discovered with real-time analytics was how short the average post lifetime is. Most posts seem to die within three to five hours, meaning you can safely post to your Facebook page at least four times a day.
This annotated screen shot from Widman shows the overlapping waves of activity of multiple posts, and how ideally they should be spaced out evenly across the day and week.
PageLever Now is set up nicely for agencies, too, as you can toggle between all of the fan pages you manage in a single interface. It would be ideal if this system would allow you to Promote a post from within the dashboard, and if you want historical and deeper post and page data you need to look at the traditional PageLever interface (sold separately). But those are minor points.
There are of course many other ways to get Facebook stats, but I’m pretty certain this is the only source for truly real-time data. For $99, if you’re serious about Facebook marketing optimization, this software is a steal, and can make a real difference in your effectiveness.
(what’s this thing? It’s a disclosure badge from cmp.ly, another company about which I’m very enthusiastic)