Sure, 'likes' are an obvious popularity metric and a powerful 'trust mark' - if you visit a page with big 'like' numbers you are more inclined to join that page and be receptive to the content being shared.
But (and it's a good 'un), this doesn't tell you ANYTHING about how well the page is being managed or how the community interacting with the content being provided.
Facebook have tried to make this more obvious with metrics like 'talking about this' (the number of people who have actively engaged with your page in the last seven days) and 'reach' (the number of people who have seen content from your page in the last seven days).
With some help from the team at SocialBakers.com, here is a really simple way for you to gauge the REAL performance quality of any Facebook post / page on the web.
Engagement Rate Explained
It's pretty straightforward really.
Take the number of likes, comments and shares per post on a given day and divide it by the total number of fans of the page.
My maths skills are terrible but even I can understand this!
So, let's bring this to life by looking at three recent posts from the Domino's UK Facebook page.
Domino's UK Facebook Engagement Rate Examples
Unsurprisingly, the middle update recorded the lowest 'Engagement Rate' score as Dominos have literally asked their community to like a dull price-led advertisement.
If you walked past a bus stop in real life and saw that ad, would you stop and think to yourself 'wow, I really loved that ad and am going to tell all my friends about it'.
No? Didn't think so.
But, I hear the Marketing Director in the back saying 'I need this Facebook investment to have a commercial impact on my business, you know, sales!!'
Sadly, you have to play the long game on Facebook - the real benefits are when your community stands up on your behalf when you need them (example to follow).
Clearly, the top update got the most engagement and deservedly so - that's s fun little update to have pop u in your stream.
Note: The pages I've been analysing tend to either score really poorly per post (0.01% to 004%) or sore 'well' at 0.20% to 0.50%
You can also calculate a daily engagement rate.
The long versus short game
The importance of the provision of on-going engaging content has been made evident on several occasions to me recently, but none more so than the following example.
I really encourage you to take a look at the exchanges between fans on this particular post from the Costa Coffee Facebok page.
To give you a quick overview, someone said that Costa's Facebook page was a copy of Starbucks.
Instead of Costa having to respond to that comment, the community spoke up, pointing out how different the pages are and what they loved about Costa.
Everyone talks about advocates, and their importance, and posting engaging and shareable content as opposed to strictly core product-based updates is one simple way of enabling advocacy.
Using this new metric (wisely)
Like with all measurement formula's, don't bet our life savings on the results but use them as part of your competitor analysis toolkit.
The pages that consistently serve up post rate scores above 0.20% are the ones (most likely) doing a better job than ones that aren't.
Discloure: Costa Coffee is client.