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The Most Important Facebook Metric You Choose to Ignore

When it comes to tracking Facebook success, the first metric that social media marketers turn to is “likes,” which is a decent indication of community size. But as I mentioned in a previous article, “Why Engagement Trumps Likes,” this antiquated metric is becoming more and more irrelevant.

If you’re truly looking to measure your Facebook footprint, it’s time to stop ignoring and start prioritizing Facebook reach, which is defined as “the number of unique people who have seen your post.”

Because the size of your Facebook community has no bearing on the amount of people who actually see your content, you’ve likely shifted your attention to increasing engagement. While engagement is inarguably a key component to success, to take your presence the next level, you should instead focus on increasing reach.

Here’s why:

  • Facebook reach is a more accurate indication of your base: While your page may have upwards of 25,000 likes, if only 2,000 fans regularly see your content, your actual communication base is much smaller than your “like” total indicates.
  • Higher reach increases the likelihood of more engagement: Before anyone can engage with your content, they must see it first. Reach indicates how many users have a chance to interact with your messages in the first place, so the higher the reach, the higher the pool for potentially engaged users.
  • Engagement is a means to the end goal of reach: Increased engagement leads to increased reach, both with your current base and potential customers. So, if you’re looking to attract new eyeballs to your Facebook page, pursuing engagement is a solid strategy, but it serves as a means to increase reach and overall brand awareness.

To better demonstrate how reach and engagement go hand and hand, take a look at the following graph from Facebook Insights. Notice how as Weekly Total Reach grows, so does People Talking About This (engagement):

Facebook Engagement 


Is this correlation a case of chicken and egg? Probably so. But if you’re looking to increase sales, word of mouth and brand awareness, focusing your Facebook strategy on building reach will positively impact all other Facebook metrics.

So how do you increase reach, anyway? Take a look at these proven ideas:

  • Mix up your content to see what resonates: If you’ve fallen into the habit of simply posting links to your latest blog post on your Facebook page, snap out of it. Shake things up by uploading pictures, sharing simple text updates, running polls and various contests. The idea here is to throw different ideas on the Facebook wall to see what sticks – to do so, use Facebook Insights to measure which types of content have the highest reach totals.
  • Post updates at the right time: While most Facebook content is posted during standard business hours, experiment with different days and times to see when your content is best received. For example, many business pages see increased reach early Monday mornings and late Friday afternoons, while others see a nice peak outside of business hours.
  • Include specific CTAs on each post: If increased engagement leads to increased reach, encourage more content interaction by providing specific calls-to-action within each of your Facebook updates. You can do so by explicitly asking users to like or comment on a post, or leave it more open-ended by asking them a question or encouraging them to fill in the blank.
  • Share content that serves a purpose: This is the golden rule of content marketing, and it serves well for social media purposes, too: don’t post content for the sake of posting content. Instead, create and share messages that provide utility to your base, whether it’s through education or entertainment. By sharing content that people want to interact with, you’ll organically boost your engagement, reach and positive sentiment.

Without a doubt, increasing the number of likes to your page will continue to be a priority. But if you’re looking to actually profit from the community you’ve worked so hard to build, look no further than increasing your Facebook reach – once you stop ignoring this metric, you’ll be better equipped to take the Facebook world by storm.

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