Sometimes it seems like the people at Facebook simply make words up, especially in the case of one of their latest (and most important) statistics – virality. Seriously? Is that even a word? Before we write a letter to Webster’s Dictionary, let’s refocus on what it means instead because, whatever they call it, it still has a serious impact on your Facebook page performance.
Engagement used to be the key performance indicator for most campaigns and while it remains an important factor for both growing your fan base as well as maintaining relevance with your existing fans, it’s only the beginning in the eyes of the virality guru.
Virality essentially is defined as the number of people that have ‘created’ a story about your post, out of the total number of individuals that have seen it. Typically represented as a percentage, this little nugget of information tells you how many people find your post so interesting that they have engaged to a point that it has been shared with their fans.
This doesn’t mean that they have just clicked ‘Share’ and posted it with comments, although that action is included. It just means that they have engaged with the post in a way that has created a story that has shown up on their wall. For example, when someone ‘likes’ a post, it shows up in their recent activity, in the ticker and in the newsfeed, sharing your post with their friends. This sort of engagement is much more useful than viewing your photo, wouldn’t you agree? After all, if they just looked at the photo no one else knows about it besides you, Facebook and that fan. It’s much better if they ‘like’ the photo so all of their friends know they’ve been looking at it, too.
Here is a list of engagement actions that your fans can do when they see a post, which we’ve listed in order of impact from a simple view to an RSVP to a Facebook event. In the latter half of this list are all of the actions that make up this new virality category of stats for Facebook and can be seen in Insights under ‘Talking about this’ as an aggregate total. This area has confused many people since the shift in Insights, but it basically identifies the number of people ‘talking’ about your post on their own Facebook profiles. Think of it as super-charged engagement. Too easy, huh?
You can also see the virality of each post on the ‘Overview’ post, which is helpful when it comes to planning what you post ongoing. The posts that have the highest virality are those that you want to keep posting because it is an essential part of any campaign; it’s the Facebook equivalent of word of mouth, and every salon and spa knows the power of word of mouth on the bottom-line.