Just how important are Facebook’s post interactions? That depends on your marketing strategy, intent with your posts (i.e., awareness vs. ranting vs. education/information vs. lead generation), and the outcome you expect with each post (i.e., what did you want the viewer to do after viewing). I read a post on SocialMediaToday.com stating that Facebook would no longer give total Like counts on posts in Australia. Instagram has already been doing this in several countries, so it makes sense that Facebook would follow suit. Why would they eliminate a stat that’s been deemed so important for so long? Simple: these two tech giants want their users to focus on their “well-being”.
THAT will be an interesting stat to measure!
Merriam-Webster defines ‘well-being’ as “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. Given such a subjective definition, how can either Instagram or Facebook know what exactly helps each of us achieve “well-being”? On top of that, behaviorally, these two platforms (as well as others as it’s been defined within their own structure) have literally trained us to expect a certain number of post interactions, especially Likes, and the more, the better. We’ve come to expect that the more Like counts our posts have, the better. In other words, the social media tech gurus created a giant “Pavlovian sphere” to get us hooked on what they told us was important, and how they’re taking that away. That’s not a behavior that can be so easily changed.
With this post, I thought I would go over the three basic interactions Facebook offers with their posts. It’s the same for both personal and business, but I’m focusing on the business aspect here. Just to restate: based on your marketing strategy, intent with your creating your posts, and outcome expectations, you’ll be able to determine which interaction works best for your business’ goals. All three of these can be seen on individual posts and on your Page Insights tab.
This one is probably the easiest interaction to measure. Simply put, how many total Likes did each post you created or shared receive? Thanks to Facebook’s programming, you can also give a heart, an angry face, a sad face, a laugh, and a “wow” (a.k.a. “surprised”) emoji. It’s a low-level interaction but can be an indication that the post was at least seen – maybe not exactly read vs. skimmed, but seen. The total number of Likes is the one feature being removed by both Facebook and Instagram; if you haven’t seen it in your own feed yet, you will soon.
This interaction is self-explanatory. How many total Comments did each of your posts get and what were they? Complaints? Questions? “Atta-boys”? This is normally an indication that the post was at least read; whether it was received well or not is defined by the viewer. TIP: Try to not let a negative Comment on your posts go by without a reply, but please be professional and courteous.
In my opinion, this is the strongest indicator of how well a viewer appreciated your writing. The viewer was so impressed with your post, they are willing to stake their reputation on the post and share it with their audience. Each post share is counted and displayed on your Insights dashboard, though you may not know you who in your network of Likers or Followers actually shared it.
I coach my clients on viewing these three interactions on their Insights dashboard. The strength and favorability of each post should be measured by the last two interactions. This will give you an idea of what content people are reading so you can create more similar content.
Likes are a decent indicator of the post having been read, but, since I don’t go by that interaction alone, I’m okay (for now) with the total number not being shown. You can click on the Likes hotlink and still see all the people who have Liked each post, just without the hard final number. Overall, as part of your marketing strategy, I wouldn’t depend solely on this number as the indicator for what content to create. I don’t know how much of a negative impact not seeing a total Like count on Facebook posts will have, and as writer Andrew Hutchinson pointed out, the devil will be in the details. I am curious about the effect this may have on the Influencers of both platforms; do people flock to them purely because of their follower counts, or do the posts Likes (hearts on Instagram) have anything to do with their influence?
Time and data will tell. Stay tuned.
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