Unless you sit staring at Facebook all day, every day, learning all its ins and outs, you could easily miss some valuable tools designed to help your business make a mark in the social networking world. Case in point? Facebook Insights, a free tool that illuminates your page's performance statistics.

In my last blog, I gave you a brief overview of what Facebook Insights holds in store for you. This month, we are going to dissect the leaderboard statistics, which are the first thing you see when you click on the Insights icon. CLICK HERE to review the last blog to learn how to access Facebook Insights. You must make sure you are looking at the most recent  version of Facebook Insights, which should have four key metrics across the top. If you see only three, click the link at the top of your screen that says, "Take me to the new Facebook Insights."

On this page you'll have the four metrics, each displaying a figure for the previous seven days. Every day these numbers will refresh to show whether the past week's figures have gone up or down since the week before. In other words, you can see at a glance whether you are up or down this week.

Understanding Facebook Metrics

This first area, along with the graph below and a few numbers on your wall, give some basic indicators of your performance over time. Understanding what these numbers mean will help you understand the rest of Insights, where the figures are broken down in more detail.

Total Likes: This one is just as it sounds—it's the total number of people who have liked your page. This includes all the likes and unlikes your page has received and shows by how much that figure has gone up or down since the previous week.

Friends of Fans: This is the total number of people who are friends with your fans, so is the total number of people you have a potential connection to. If you post an update on your wall and every single one of your fans shares and reposts that message on their wall, this is the number of people who would see it—all of your fans and all of their friends.

People Talking About This: This is a new addition to Facebook Insights and helps you focus on the number of people who are truly spreading the word about your page. When someone engages with your page updates, that action shows up in certain areas on Facebook for that person's friends to see. For example, when someone comments on your post, it shows up in the Ticker, on their wall under Recent Activity and in the Newsfeed.

Only certain types of interactions will qualifty as 'Talking about this'—those that create a story in one of these three areas. These actions are:

  • Liking a page
  • Posting to a page's wall
  • Liking, commenting on or sharing a page post
  • Answering a question posted
  • RSVPing to an event
  • Mentioning a page in a post
  • Photo-tagging a page
  • Liking or sharing a check-in deal
  • Checking in at a place

This is an important number to follow as it shows how many people are exposing your content and your page to others in their network. More on this number and what it means in future blog posts.

Weekly Total Reach: Just because you have the potential to reach a lot of people (your Friends of Fans number), doesn't mean your messages reach all of those people. It's important to know the actual number of people your message has reached each week. The weekly total reach shows how many people have seen any content associated with your page (including any ads or sponsored stories pointing to your page) in the past seven days.

Understanding Facebook Metrics

Don't forget to check your performance in these metrics over time to see if you are improving or not. You can also see the correclation between the number of posts you make and the change in your performance.

Quick Tips on Using Insights

  • Hover over the question mark next to the metric to see the time frame of each metric.
  • Hover over any point in your graphs to see the specific date and number for that date.
  • You can export your metrics into a spreadsheet to work with.
  • Filter your results based on specific date ranges in most areas—look for the date range calendars.
  • View your performance on certain types of posts, such as photos, videos or status updates.