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Anatomy of a Facebook Business Page

Many marketers still measure the value of their social media pages by a count: either a count of fans or a count of engagements (likes, comments, etc.). Unfortunately, the insights provided by these measurements are nominal. If you want to know the true value of your fans or how your social media communities are contributing to real ROI and sales results, then these basic counts should be a start, not an end.
We have already learned that not all fans should be valued equally and that local fans can be worth as much as 40x that of corporate fans. There are additional ways to analyze a page – one of which is by viewing the composition of its fan graph as a network.
Below is an image representing Hearsay Social’s Facebook business page. The data used to create this visualization is all of the public posts, likes, and comments over a one-year period. Each point on the graph represents a fan and the edges (curved lines) between them represent shared interests as determined by common stories they interacted with.

It’s not just a pretty graph. After analyzing the image, here are a few important takeaways our data team has come up with:

  1. Your entire fan base is actually made up of many smaller groupings.
    At the time of this writing, our Facebook page has nearly 5,000 fans. You can see from the image above that those fans make up a number of smaller clusters – about 20 by my count. Each of these sub-groupings has a distinct personality, set of interests, and motivation for interacting with your page. Understanding more about your own Facebook page’s sub-groups will let you better segment and target your messaging to increase its effectiveness. This is a very common practice in email marketing but it has not yet seen widespread application in social media outside of some very basic geographical targeting.When thinking about your business, you can probably think of a few sub-groups of customers. Are each of those present on social media? Are some more prevalent than others?
  2. You have power fans and influencers — each with their own personality.
    Below is the same graph above, filtered by the most active fans of Hearsay Social. You can see that while there are a dozen or so power fans, they do not all share exactly the same interest. Much like the sub-groupings, each power fan has their own reason for interacting with your content. Many of these power fans are in fact strong representatives of a sub-group. Identifying these people can help you better understand how to effectively communicate with the sub-groups they share the most in common with.
    Have you identified your power fans? Do you know which sub-groups they represent? 
  3. Clusters of fans that have interacted with the same content can help us infer social graph connections and use Facebook’s EdgeRank to our advantage.
    Below is a magnified image of a single sub-group. Digging deeper, I traced down the common interest that these fans share: a blog post about Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz visiting the Hearsay Social office.  Most of them aren’t common ‘likers’ of content which makes us suspect that their having seen the content – and thus liking – was in part caused by Facebook’s EdgeRank. (Facebook doesn’t show every post a page makes to all of its fans but tends to show it more to people who’s friends have interacted with that content.)


    I’m not certain that anyone in this sub-group are Facebook friends with each other, but I suspect a few might be. In this case, we only have a few data points for this particular sub-group; the more data we have, the more accurate our predictions will be. (By the way, if anyone listed below happens to be reading this, leave a comment below to let us know if my hypothesis is correct!)

In conclusion, thinking about your social media connections as merely a number greatly limits your ability to understand them. The more complex your analysis model, the better your understanding will be. Social media is all about connections and networks, so one of the best ways to analyze and learn about your fans is by viewing them as an interconnected network graph.
Do you notice anything else interesting in the images? I’d love to hear your observations.

Anatomy of the New Facebook Pages Brand Timeline

Note: All Facebook Pages will automatically transition to the brand timeline format at the end of the month. The following is a chapter from our how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign, a free resource featuring everything you need to know about the new social marketing tools.

The number one thing to know with the new Facebook Pages is that this is the page users will see when they visit your brand on Facebook. No more fan-gating and no more auto-redirecting users to custom-created tabs. This is it. So it’s important to understand each individual component and the part each plays in the whole picture.

  1. The cover photo is easily the most visually striking element of Facebook’s new brand pages, and you can bet that it’s the first thing any user will notice when they visit your page. Images uploaded as covers must be a minimum of 720 pixels wide.
  2. Layered above the cover photo, the profile picture is the second most important visual element of the timeline. Many brands will find this to be the perfect place for their logo, especially since this is the image which users will see alongside your posts in the News Feed. Your page name will appear in plain text to the right of this photo.
  3. Directly underneath the profile photo is the about section, where you can share basic information about your business, like founding year, contact information, location, and any other general info.
  4. To the right of the about section are the app buttons, which replace tabs from the old Facebook Pages. Only four of these buttons are displayed automatically, and the first of these is reserved for Photos. The other three, and any others made visible by clicking a small arrow on the right, can be customized by the business page administrator.
  5. The Facepile displays all the people who have liked your brand’s page. If a visiting user has friends who have already liked the page, then those users will be displayed in the Facepile first.
  6. Timeline
    a. Post: The blank box on the top left side of the timeline is an ordinary input box for you or your fans to post a status update, a photo, or any other content to share on the timeline.
    b. Just like on the Facebook Wall of old, the actual timeline displays the newest posts at the top and older posts as you scroll down. One nifty innovation of the timeline is that it displays fewer posts the further back in time you go, so that it’s easy to learn about a business’s whole history in one quick overview. Add compelling content from your early years for those users savvy enough to explore your past!
    c. Pinning holds a status update, photo, or other piece of content of your choosing to the top of the timeline for exactly seven days.
    d. Highlighting extends the width of posts across the timeline, making them more clearly visible as users scroll down the page.

Now that you’ve read this chapter, read the full how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign. Learn about the new rules for cover photos, how you should transition from the wall to the timeline, and other digestible tips for creating the best possible business page on Facebook.